The Angry Birds Movie
Films adapted from video games have been a complete failure in the past. I can mention some names like Need for Speed, Super Mario Bros., Lara Croft, Mortal Combat, and Ratchet & Clank. I doubt many of you have even heard of those titles, and won’t notice that Ratchet & Clank actually came out just two weeks ago. Angry Birds is another film trying to break this video game trend, and it isn’t necessarily a failure, but it isn’t a success either.
Angry Birds is adapted from the popular smartphone app. The game consists of launching different birds and destroying structures inhabited by pigs. The game motivates your birds by claiming that the pigs stole your eggs. The movie is very ambitious in that it works hard to structure a cohesive story. The film is told from the point of view or Red (Jason Sudeikis) who is a grumpy bird that is shunned away by the other avians he lives with in an isolated island. After a particular outburst, Red is placed in anger management, here he meets other off-beat birds like Chuck (Josh Gad) a speedy fast-talking yellow bird, Bomb (Danny McBride) an exploding but shy black bird, and Terrence (Sean Penn) a silent and huge red bird. However, a ship lands on the birds’ island, and the bird colony meets Leonard (Bill Hader) an eccentric pig who seems to be hiding something. The whole bird community embraces Leonard as he showers them with gifts, only the cynic Red suspects that Leonard is not to be trusted.
The creative team should be applauded for the ability to adapt a sensible story out of the vague characters and plot of a videogame. However, because of such freedom I was expecting a more original take. The writers could really have gone whichever way they felt like with the story, but given the horrible track record of video game movies at the box office, I understand why the producers wanted to play it safe. So in the end we’re left with a fairly generic and predictable kid’s movie.
The story is fine, but the actual script and dialogue itself is a bit frustrating for most adults because character exchanged are stuffed with the worst bird and pig puns, and countless of unnecessary pop-culture references. I see that the writers are trying to appeal to the adult audience, but it ends up being simply frustrating and makes the audience roll their eyes.
The film is lightened up by the voice acting of Josh Gad and Bill Hader, who are great at transcending their energy through the screen, and it does liven up the intrigue of the more mature minds. The rest of the cast is quite an impressive group, but they seem to be there more for a paycheck than any creative interest.
In the end the film is better that most video game adaptations, but it’s still a disappointment for the lack of ambition of the screenwriters. We can still hope that the two other video game adaptations of this year (Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed), take a risk with their story telling.