The Angry Birds Movie
(PG) Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage, Danny McBride
In 2009, the world of Angry Birds was introduced to the world as a simple downloadable video game. No one could have predicted the phenomenon that it would become or that it would lead to the production of a film based on a war between multi-coloured birds and green pigs. In the cinematic version, the island of flightless birds is one of happiness and bliss. A naive world of birds that live out an utopia-like existence that celebrates joy and despises any outbursts. Anyone who shows any signs of anger is relegated to an anger management class. The current flock of furious fowl is populated by the reclusive and temper-driven Red (Jason Sudeikis), impatient and speedy Chuck (Josh Gad), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride). They are ostracised until annoying green pigs arrive at the island. The trifecta of irritable feathered creatures are the only birds who see the pigs as a threat to the peaceful bird life. Their plan is to gain the help of the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) before the conniving swine take over the island.
Even though the plot line seems quite dire, this is still 2016’s latest animated comedy. The challenge is finding the humour amid the destruction of animal communities and the theft of eggs. The voice talent is some of the best comedic talent around but, regardless of all the humorous capabilities at their disposal, directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly waste it on an improbable and feeble storyline. They do attempt to lift the plot out of the mud of the pig sty with decent animation, but they cannot rely on computer animators to save a poorly conceived script.
There may not be high expectations for a film inspired by a video game based on a battle between birds and pigs, but it was difficult to find much to celebrate in The Angry Birds Movie. A story marketed to a young audience, but one that attempts to blur the lines between humour for adults and children. This attempt even fails to deliver, because there were no adults laughing during the screening (Maybe a few snores, but not chuckles or guffaws). Also, the underlying themes of revenge and violence may be excused away by existing in a cartoon world but, ultimately, the lessons being taught on-screen are not worth teaching children.
While there were some redemptive qualities in the community attempting to work together to save its families, the method in achieving these ideals resorted to the lowest means possible — vengeful violence.
I attended a screening with my ten-year-old daughter and it helped me gain perspective on the target market for The Angry Birds Movie. Caroline felt that all the funnier parts were in the trailers and people would need to be fans of the game to really get it. But then, even being a fan of the game did not make her like the film. Overall, she thought it was pretty boring and had hoped it would be funnier. She still thinks the best film this year for kids is Zootopia.
Angry Birds fails to entertain, fails to deliver a positive message and fails to get off the ground at all.
What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?
If there is a redeeming component of Angry Birds, it is the seemingly unintentional pro-family message. As a parent, this does provide one avenue of discussion to have with your children that could prove positive after experiencing Angry Birds.
- What does the Bible say about anger? (Proverbs 29:11, Ephesians 4: 26-31)
- Does God say about defending yourself and others? (Psalm 144:1, Matthew 5:39-39)