Video game movies are famous for not being great or at the very least, underwhelming people. 2016 is very interesting in that regard, with many gaming movies coming into theaters. It started this year with Ratchet & Clank releasing alongside the reboot game on PS4 and continues with two live-action films in the Warcraft and Assassins Creed series. But another one came out between Ratchet & Warcraft; Angry Birds.
It is easy to forget that this movie is based off of a video game, as many consider it just a simple game to play on iPhones and Tablets. But the IP is a major one, with it getting promotional material all over the place; many trailers, a new mobile game and advertisement everywhere.
Will this avoid the stigma that video game movies are always bad? Or will it rise to the top and become a solid film?
The plot is very simple, with a island of simple birds minding their own business and live their lives being happy, but one is the exception. Red is a ‘Angry Bird’, having temper issues and being a bit of a loner. He does not get along with the other birds on the island and after a series of events, is forced to visit an anger management class. After Red meeting hyper active yellow bird Chuck, big explosive character Bomb, calm but with a darker side Matilda, and giant bird Terence, we get introduced to the Pigs.
They appear to be friendly but in reality, they are after the birds eggs and after they leave Bird Island with the eggs, Red and the Angry Birds set out to take the Eggs back. The story was penned by former Simpsons Writers and it leads to a good story.
Story-wise, the set up is simple and to the point, but the film has a strong first and third act, with the middle of the movie being a series of gags and jokes about the Pigs visiting Bird Island and Red & friends trying to tell the birds about the pigs real plans. I didn’t mind this much, as the jokes are surprisingly solid, and this is mainly thanks to the great voice delivery.
Jason Sudeikis does a great job voicing the dead-pan Red and Josh Gad’s Chuck is really funny to me, considering Chuck is a very hyper active bird version of Sonic. Some great voice actors include Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage, with them nailing many of the lines they say. The jokes themselves are surprisingly mature for a kids film however. References to laying eggs, replacing curses with other words and other such elements are in the movie. While they aren’t distracting to me, I could see parents having issue with that.
Overall, the first act does a great job setting up the world of the film and the final act does a great job highlighting the gameplay portion of the series. Each bird does something different and its a treat seeing that in action.
The movies presentation has to be noted, as visually, it looks really great. The animation was done by Sony Animated Pictures and it shows; every feather on the birds is animated greatly and there are a lot of fun visual gags with the birds trying to fly and just move around in the world around them. The world also has a lot of visual jokes and the slap-stick used in the movie is done well.
Musically, the film sounds good with the orchestrated remix of the main theme of the series being a nice way to open the film and I felt that music choices were okay enough. It has a mix of music from other artists and while it can be distracting, it doesn’t detract from the movie as a whole to me.
Overall, the movie isn’t something up there with Pixar or Disney Animation honestly, as the plot while simple is a bit unfocused during the middle portion of the film. However, I honestly feel its one of the stronger video game films on the market. The writing is good, presentation is very strong and the overall story is enjoyable as Red’s character arc feels natural and earned by the end of the film.
When rating Movies and TV shows, I would rather have a different rating system. So, this rating score would be ‘Watch’, ‘Wait for Rental’ and ‘Skip It’. Overall, this movie is a watch if you enjoyed the series, as its one of the stronger video game movies out there and I encourage you give it a shot.