The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key
Directed by: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
Written by: Jon Vitti
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min
So yeah, Angry Birds sucked. What did you expect? It’s a movie inspired by a popular video game.
This is modern Hollywood movie production 101. Buy the rights to a popular brand and whip it up into a frenetic crowd-pleaser. Blend in some topical content, hire some game voice talent, and voila! Guaranteed box office gold! Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before we get an animated movie about Emojis. Like Pixar’s Inside Out, but designed for people who think the Transformers movies are modern classics.
There’s no story here really, just a collection of moments designed to incorporate elements from the game, thrown together with some nonsense topical crap about political correctness. Red (Jason Sudeikis) is ‘angry’ because he’s surrounded by touchy-feely liberals who blindly accept the visiting pigs despite their clearly suspicious behavior. If there ever was a more obvious allegory for current refugee issues around the world, I haven’t seen it. This is blatant, and actually weird to find in a piece of entertainment aimed purely at kids. Proving once again (to me at least) that Hollywood isn’t a bastion of liberal propaganda—just a money obsessed machine navigating the world’s cultural trends.
Which is fine by the way. The big movie studio’s have to make money after all, and why wouldn’t they do their best to read the pop-culture winds and release products people want to see? It’s up to the general public to tell the content creators what they want, and vote with their dollars.
Angry Birds is exactly what summer movie going audiences want. A bright fast distraction based on something familiar, that’ll keep the kids quiet for 90 minutes. It’s a spectacle designed to dazzle and distract, operating on the intellectual level of a baby rattle, and only ‘elitist’ film snobs like me are going to point at its weird political content and say, “what the F-“.
This movie clumsily throws in a couple of gags for adults, but make no mistake, this is a kids film. A bright and forgettable whirl of color and action, that weirdly includes an opinion about political correctness and immigration policy.
When the film finally gets to the point of the game, as in, hurling irritated birds of varying abilities at pig built structures, it actually gets quite entertaining. If the makers of the film had simply focused on that, and set this up as a simple battle between the forces of good and evil (and left out the political rubbish), Angry Birds might have been something special.