The Angry Birds Movie: Film Review
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Sean Penn, Danny McBride, Bill Hader
Director: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
So, who remembers Angry Birds?
That game we were all so addicted to way back when and then it suddenly died a death overtaken by consoles, Candy Crush and other such time-sucks.
Well, the film version of Angry Birds doesn't care that you've abandoned it, nor does it care that it's essentially got the feel of a one-shot and gone animation, aimed squarely at throwing all its eggs in giving you a cinematic take on the game's simple MO - destroy the towers.
Long story short, Jason Sudeikis is Red, the original Angry bird, who's ostracised cos of his grumpy ways (even though he's lonely from having been bullied in his younger years). Sentenced to Anger Management by a judge after erupting during a hatchday party, he meets Josh Gad's hyper-active Chuck, McBride's explosive Bomb and Sean Penn's non-verbal Terrence.
But his world - and along with all those other flightless ones on his homeland of Bird Island - is further threatened when a ship of Pigs turn up on their shores, headed by Bill Hader's Leonard. Everyone welcomes the Pigs except Red, who discovers a sinister plot by the porcine expedition....
The Angry Birds Movie is a hyper-kinetic, colourful mix of cartoonish one-shot sight gags that almost threatens to fall apart due to the lack of anything more than a thin or coherent thread running through.
The whole thing's essentially structured to lead to a cinematic version of a game as the residents of Bird Island take on the Pigs by hurling themselves through the air and assaulting the towers within.
It's a shame that the first half of the film is little more than a few strong gags threaded through with the thinnest story that those older members watching almost threaten to disengage.
Youngsters will adore the bright coloured animation and the vivid colours (and fans of the animated genre will appreciate the depth and detail that's gone into the creation of the critters, from feathers bristling to a furriness that's adorably executed), even if they never stop to question why these critters can't fly.
At times, during the Pig invasion, the whole thing seems to hint at an allegory for refugees, tolerance, child kidnapping and xenophobia - it never digs any deeper into this darkness, preferring to leave the allusions there for anyone who wants to draw on them.
Sudeikis is affable as Red, and much of the younger end of the audience will be drawn to the hyperactive looney tunes nature of Chuck, but simply The Angry Birds Movie's MO is to be nothing more than to shoe-horn in the game and its mechanics into the narrative.
It just about succeeds with a wilful stubbornness as it slingshots birds across the screen and shoe horns in the game mechanics - but even thanks to some truly impressive animation, it's just a little above a fleeting distraction at the movies.