Magazine article Screen International

The Angry Birds Movie': Review

Magazine article Screen International

The Angry Birds Movie': Review

Article excerpt

Dirs: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly. US/Finland. 2016. 98mins

As silly and disposable as the video game that inspired it - but nowhere near as addictive - The Angry Birds Movie is fitfully funny but tends towards a madcap mixture of comedy and action which never develops much forward momentum. The joke-a-minute approach misses more than it hits, although the bright animation and adorably-rendered characters are decent compensation. Still, the film, which is clearly geared to children, mistakes whirlygig energy for genuine inspiration. Tots will be sufficiently distracted by all the movement, but at a time when Pixar and other companies are making first-rate films, why flock to Birds?

Hitting several territories starting May 11, The Angry Birds Movie boasts a voice cast that includes comics Jason Sudeikis, Danny McBride and Frozen's Josh Gad. The interesting question will be whether the ubiquitous Angry Birds game remains as much of a selling point now, several years after it was a red-hot commercial commodity. Nonetheless, with only Alice Through The Looking Glass competing for the family market - and assuming that most in the target audience have already seen The Jungle Book - The Angry Birds Movie should be a robust box-office performer as we head into summer movie season.

The film is set on a remote island populated by flightless birds living in harmony. Our unlikely hero is Red (voiced by Sudeikis), an easily-irritated bird who after an altercation is ordered to attend anger-management classes. There, he meets the vain Chuck (voiced by Gad) and the temperamental Bomb (voiced by McBride). Red is a loner and doesn't want to befriend these two lovable oddballs, but soon they must work together to defeat a passel of pigs (led by the fiendish Leonard, voiced by Bill Hader) who have invaded the island to steal the birds' eggs for nefarious reasons.

The original Angry Birds, which launched in 2009 and introduced the principal characters we see in the film, is more of a puzzle-solving game than a narrative, and so screenwriter Jon Vitti (a writer on The Simpsons and two of the Alvin And The Chipmunks films) has to invent a backstory to explain the feud between the birds and pigs, as well as flesh out Red's reasons for being so angry. This adds a little emotional depth to The Angry Birds Movie, but considering that the film's comic antics and teachable moments are aimed at young children with short attention spans, this isn't enough of an anchor for a simplistic story.

As Red, Sudeikis brings some of the same smart-ass demeanour he's exhibited in Horrible Bosses and We're The Millers. …

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