The Angry Birds Movie

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Posted June 12, 2016 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: animation
 
MPAA Rating: PG
 
Actors: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride
 
Length: 97 minutes
 
Release Date: 5-20-2016
 
Studio: Rovio Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), Village Roadshow Pictures, Rovio Animation, Village Roadshow Pictures
 
 
What We Thought

This is the worst animated film since 2012’s The Lorax. This movie is worse than The Lorax. This movie deserves to stand trial for its crimes and get the maximum penalty—in Texas.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
RedTo be honest, I am fond of animation.  It’s one of my favorite genres. Many of my favorite movies are made by studios such as Disney, Ghibli, Aardman, and of course, Pixar.  I love its beauty, its expressiveness, its ability to lift the imagination onto the big screen.  Consider that when I say this:  I hated The Angry Birds Movie with every fiber of my being.
     This is the worst animated film since 2012’s The Lorax.  This movie is worse than The Lorax.  This movie deserves to stand trial for its crimes and get the maximum penalty—in Texas.
     I’ll give it this:  the animation itself is fairly decent, actually.  It’s better than, say, The Nut Job or certainly Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return.  But I’ll take The Nut Job any day over this awful, bitter, obnoxious movie.  I’ll take it over The Angry Birds Movie because, like a person, there is so much more to it than how good it looks.
     As if you didn’t know, the film is based on the Angry Birds game.  Jason Sudeikis voices Red, a red bird with thick black eyebrows whom most anyone will recognize as the mascot of the game.  He is a pariah in his utopian community of flightless birds.  Working as a birthday party clown, Red has an altercation with an angry customer, who takes him to court.  The judge sentences Red to an Anger Management course, much to Red’s annoyance.
     Red, Chuck and BombThere, we meet the other characters from the game.  One is Chuck, a yellow bird who darts around like Quicksilver from the X-men movies.  He is voiced by Josh Gad, who inflicted Frozen’s Olaf on the world.  Another is Bomb, a big fat black bird who literally blows up.  He is voiced by Danny McBride.  Another is Terence, a gargantuan red bird who speaks only in growls and grunts.  He is voiced by Sean Penn, of all people.  The anger management course is lead by Matilda (Maya Rudolph), a new-age white-feathered bird who tries to teach her students to find calmness and emotional expression through yoga and poetry.  It goes as well as you’d expect.
     One day, a ship lands on the birds’ island.  A green pig, Leonard (Bill Hader), disembarks the ship and greets the birds, claiming that he and one other pig are the only ones on board.  However, while Leonard presents the birds with gifts and offers of friendship, Red and his friends sneak aboard the ship to discover dozens of other green pigs hiding below deck.  Following the discovery, the birds find themselves peacefully co-existing with the swine.
     At this point, we’re more than halfway through the movie, and you’ll notice something is missing:  conflict.  PigsThere is nothing at stake.  No one is in danger.  Everyone is content, except for Red.  The Angry Birds Movie insists on a happy, cheery tone, which is matched by its monotonously bright and colorful palette.
     This is the kind of movie that a parent could let their kid watch without fear of them crying or getting scared.  This is not a good thing.  Good stories show kids how heroes deal with danger, loss, and disappointment.  That’s life, kid, and great movies show kids how to move on, never quit, and how to face adversity.  The Angry Birds Movie, on the other hand, is a babysitting tool, something to plop them in front of while mommy makes a stiff martini.
     An hour in, the pigs make off with the entirety of the bird community’s eggs, intending to feast on them.  This happens 60 long, uneventful minutes in.  This should have happened 30 minutes earlier, giving direction to the story, a source of conflict for the birds, a problem to resolve.  This is not a minor fault in the story.  This is Screenwriting 101.  This screenplay is shit.  I walked out briefly because almost an hour passed by, and not a damn thing had happened.
     Despite its superficially cheerful tone, The Angry Birds Movie is a deeply cynical, self-hating flick.  Red has a low opinion of himself and everyone around him, but he looks up to Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), who can actually fly, not unlike a superhero.  He has a poster of him on his wall, like a child might of Superman.  Red and his friends go on a journey to find Mighty Eagle, who’s been missing for years, to ask for his guidance and help.  What Red learns is that his hero is a useless washout (and also, a pervert), who lets him down when the birds need him most.
     The movie nods to The Avengers, and an entire scene lampoons Quicksilver’s bullet-time sequence from X-Men:  Days of Future Past.  The Angry Birds Movie can be thought of as a superhero movie itself; it’s about superbirds who use superpowers to save the day.  It’s also a comment about those films, that we need to stop looking to mythical heroes, and start looking towards ourselves for solutions.
     Perhaps so.  If this were a movie for teens and adults, it might be the right message.  But this is a movie for kids (supposedly), an impressionable audience who need heroes and role models, people who tell the truth, do what’s right, and stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves as a matter of social responsibility.  Telling them that their heroes are frauds is not what kids need to hear.
     This is in no way a movie for kids.  It has a perverted sense of humor, with a running1226792 - ANGRY BIRDS theme of voyeurism, a male strip show performed by the pigs, and I should mention that Chuck is a randy bisexual (problem being that it’s nothing more than a cheap joke here), who proposes a communal night of sex when the eggs are stolen to replenish the stock.  I kid you not.  This is not a wholesome movie.  Its mind is ankles deep in the gutter, and the movie itself never rises above that.
     It comes as no surprise that the film is distributed by Sony, which has churned out most of the industry’s lowest rated movies on average for a few years now, compared to the other major studios.  Now, mangling a movie meant for teens or adults is one thing, but when a movie is targeted at kids, there is a greater need to tell a good story with good values, as it will become a part of them in their formative years.  Perhaps this is why many of cinema’s best films, such as Bambi or WALL-E or My Neighbor Totoro are films meant for a family audience; studios know that they’re creating a movie that their own kids will watch and grow up with, who will demand to watch it a hundred times, and memorize line-by-line.  But when movies are based on established commercial properties, which is the default these days, that’s when complacency sets in.  It’s going to be a hit, no matter what.  So why put forth effort?
     Because kids will be watching it.  That’s why.  .5 out of 5 stars.


About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

One Comment


  1.  
    Margaret

    The review was quite thorough and enlightening. The movie itself sounds like “Sponge Bob Square Pants” on steroids, with lots of inappropriately adult humor, as well as a weak story-line. It’s too bad that such a popular game had a lame movie portray it. I wonder when
    Angry Birds 2′ will come out. *snickers.*





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