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‘The Angry Birds Movie’ Wastes More Of Your Time Than The Game (Movie Review)

angry birds thumbIt was about as frustrating to watch The Angry Birds Movie as it is to play the game and merely get one out of three stars on a given level. As harmless as a movie like this is, I am not all about giving something colorful and goofy a pass, simply because the young kids it targets will be swayed over, regardless of quality. There was an attempt to actually make this plotless mobile game about something, but try as filmmakers may have, with the help of screenwriters and a talented voice cast, nothing really helps when the final product misses so many targets.

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Jason Sudeikis stars as Red, an (you guessed it) angry bird who is sentenced to anger management classes, following an incident involving a birthday party and some unhappy customers. A better film could provide me some sort of reason why Red would even be working as a clown, but this film skips past that, but does provide an opening title sequence to show us Red’s past in non-chronological order. Regardless, Red meets Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) in anger management and starts on the path to being a better bird, as they live their lives on a secluded island.

When the movie decides to take an hour before finally getting to the characters playing the game, that’s when you have to acknowledge some sort of problem. The middle section of the movie revolves around the arrival of green pigs who present a friendly façade, while Red seems to be the only one aware these pigs are up to no good. Eventually, the stakes are raised and it will be up to Red and others to bring the fight to the pigs.

There is some potent commentary going on here in the form of a few rational-minded individuals speaking up against what society is seemingly accepting. Given the past work by screenwriter Jon Vitti (of Simpsons fame, among many other credits), I am not beyond believing he certainly had some interesting ideas on his mind and buried them into this story. It’s just too bad the jokes rarely land.

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For all the talent this film has in the form of the three performers mentioned, along with Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Peter Dinklage and comedy superstar Sean Penn, most of the jokes are either slapstick-based or those comedic characters referencing the visual pun on display, minus an actual joke. Sudeikis makes for a fine lead, as his sardonic sense of humor basically works, but nothing ever goes far enough for me to want more adventures with Red. Gad fares well enough too, even if the film seems to be using him as a reference to Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past more than anything.

Now does this all matter if the kids are having fun anyway? I think it does. Yes, The Angry Birds Movie can get its pass for entertaining the primary target, when it comes to the audience, but the film doesn’t have all these actors and attempts at jokes for no reason. There is a legitimate attempt to bring humor that would ideally please the adults who are also seeing this movie and those attempts end up quite poor. For every mildly entertaining or clever moment, there are four more that fall completely flat and usually based around pop culture. I mean, are jokes about Gluten really still a thing? Given how other animated family films have proven to work in all sorts of humor for everyone to enjoy, it is hard to look past this one’s key faults.

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The greatest thing this movie accomplishes, however, is putting the actual game on display in a cinematic way. Rovio Entertainment collaborated with Sony Pictures Imageworks to put this film together and the animation is basically good-to-great throughout, though it shines best when seeing Angry Birds in action. Watching birds launch themselves into buildings and other things proves to be entertaining, even without my own interaction to make it happen. It is an impressive feat that helps the film maintain the spirit of its mobile gaming inspiration, which is more than can be said about many video game movies. I just wish the film was more entertaining.

With an hour of backstory and setup that proved to be lacking in clever humor or much else beyond the occasional chuckle, The Angry Birds Movie is a film that ends up feeing way too bloated for the sake seeing the actual game as a movie. It is too bad, as there is a talented cast here and enough in the way of a budget to make a good-looking animated feature. Worst of all, it basically kills my hope that we could get a fun cinematic take on Cut the Rope or Words with Friends. That leaves me about as angry as Red.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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