Hello, Spongey here.
Well, 2016 animated continues. We have a mixed road ahead of us, and our last one was underwhelming and from the reaction to this one, I’m not sure if this will fix that. But hey, you never know.
We have the 2nd of our four Video Game films of the year. (Forgot about Assassin’s Creed last time, I really want that one to be good). Only this one is based on an App. Yeah.
Like all App Games, it’s just a fun way to pass the time, and has a simple premise: Pigs show up, birds get pissed and attack them. Not exactly a lot to it, but as a game it works fine. I never got why it became so huge but ah well.
Now there is some potential to expand that further, I actually have my own idea I might share if this doesn’t line up with it. I honestly wasn’t that shocked when they announced a film version. One thing I did find odd was who was making it.
Sony…but not. Instead of Sony Pictures Animation, it’s Sony Pictures Imagworks, along with Rovio Entertainment. I’m not sure why Sony pretty much took this to some weird sub section, but I guess even normal Sony was above doing a movie based off an app.
Can’t wait for Rise of Flappy Bird, by the way.
If you are wondering, SPI just goes effects work for Sony films and such. Rovio is mostly known for video games with this being their first film. This should be…interesting.
The creative team includes two director, both of which were mostly just animators with this being their first helming a film. They seem to do fine work so maybe giving this to newcomers isn’t too bad, as this as a safe film to start with.
The credited writer is…John Vitti? Huh? For those of you who don’t know, he is best known for his work on Simpsons and King of the Hill, doing some classics such as Lisa’s Substitute. Granted, he also has Hank;s Choice so…we know he’s not perfect.
He has other film credits like…Alvin and The Chipmunks 2. Okay, he’s REALLY not perfect, I get it.
I was pretty mixed on this idea. It has some promise, and the trailers had some okay moments, but there were some dumb moments too. The reaction has been mixed, but mostly negative.
Yet oddly less negative than Rachet and Clank. Weird.
I think this could be fun, so let’s see if this will make me as angry as those birds.
This, is The Angry Birds Movie
Flightless birds lead a mostly happy existence, except for Red, who just can’t get past the daily annoyances of life. His temperament leads him to anger management class, where he meets fellow misfits Chuck and Bomb. Red becomes even more agitated when his feathered brethren welcome green pigs to their island paradise.
As the swine begin to get under his skin, Red joins forces with Chuck and Bomb to investigate the real reason behind their mysterious arrival.
The most important thing about the writing is that this is mostly a Comedy. Meaning it mostly focuses on the gags and and stuff like that rather than trying to tell any complex story, because with the game’s set up, you can’t exactly do a lot.
Which is fine, and will make me forgive some elements vs other films. With that said, yeah, there’s not a lot to actual story here. From that summary, you know exactly what is going to happen.
In general, that;s fine. Does anyone expect a shocking or deep story from Angry Birds? But there’s still problems. But since it is a Comedy, we’ll talk about that first. Honestly, some of it worked.
Actually, quite a bit of it worked well. Most of the first quarter has funny moments and I laughed out a few times in this. See, this thing throws a lot of jokes at you from all angles, and there’s all kinds.
This comes with an issue, but I respect them for at least trying to have variety. With that said, there was a lull in the Comedy sometimes. You’d have a section that mostly has okay jokes, then a section with not much humor at all.
And it can be way too hit or miss, as there’s also a fair amount of bad jokes, or jokes going on way too long. Most of the bad jokes are…the not so kid friendly ones. That piss joke in the trailer? It goes on FOREVER.
At one point Red says “Pluck My Life”. YOU KNOW-FOR KIDS!
And then there’s some twerking, and a referencing to 50 Shades of Grey. Seriously. The humor is too hit or miss and sometimes just runs dry. As a Comedy, it’s just hit or miss, but has too many bad jokes to be seen as “Good”, sadly.
Back to the story, the predictably gives us a problem. We know that the pigs are evil, so we see the townsfolk as dumb for not believing Red even then in context, they really shouldn’t belelive him.
In the end, they are evil, meaning they should have listened to the angry guy who causes trouble. This plot tends to cause these kind of problems, but this one almost calls attention to it.
There’s an attempt at a moral, that it’s okay to angry sometimes, but you also need to know how to keep it in. That was part of my idea I mentioned, that this could be a chance to do that, since they needed to be angry to stop the pigs.
And they do that, but it feels a bit on the rushed side, so it’s doesn’t have the impact. Speaking of rushed, the pacing is weird. Some sections are rushed in general, and yet it often drags due to the jokes.
And the climax feels it takes up half the movie. It’s pretty cool carnage at first, but drags on so much it just becomes a bunch of noise. And of course the ending is rushed, and the credits are padded with extra gags.
It’s just a bit uneven when it comes to the pacing. It goes by pretty quickly, even with the padding, so I wasn’t quite bored I suppose. In general, they tried a lot harder than they needed to, but it just falls short.
Also, there’s a few lame cliches like The Mighty Eagle actually being a jerk-y loses. Didn’t we just see this kind of thing in the last animated feature? And his redemption is even weaker than that one, as he just changes to good for pretty much no reason.
The writing isn’t really awful, but it is problematic. The story itself is predictable, the pacing is odd, and the humor is hit or miss. But it at least knows what it is, and it has some funny moments. So I’d say the writing is a mixed bag.
But it mostly just falls short in the end. It’s better than I thought it would, but weak pacing and jokes make it fall flat or the most. But at least they tried to an extent.
Being a somewhat major release, it’s not too surprising that the animation is pretty good. The Island is well designed, with it having some clever sight gags. The locations look pretty solid, even if we only see three.
The characters look appealing with a lot of creativity in their designs. Their movements are also solid, and they get some funny slapstick out of them. In the trailers, they just didn’t quite look perfect, like there wasn’t enough detail.
But in the movie, they look fine. They don’t do anything too fancy, but everything does look very appealing and the characters are nicely detailed. They also cleverly work in the designs from the game, and even a small bit of 2D animation.
While it looks a bit different from the game but it captures the spirit fairly well. They strike a nice balance here, and it’s clear the animators put plenty of effort into this. I don’t have too many complaints, except maybe more variety in the backgrounds later on would have been nice.
But for the most part, the animation is good. Nothing crazy, but the environments look good, the designs are creative enough, and the character animation is nicely cartoon without going too overrboard, for the most part.
Most of the film is hit or miss, and I can mostly say the animation is a hit.
With uneven pacing and humor, comes equally uneven characters. Like so many films, like a few are important, and the rest are just there.
There’s our main character, Red, voiced by Jason Sudekis. He’s a cynical little man who lets the little things in life bother him, and honestly he’s my favorite character. He’s instantly likable and incredibly releatable.
When you’re supposed to sorry for him, you mostly do. He does explode too easily, but don’t we all? His snark provides the best jokes, and I was willingly to be with him. With that side, his snark gets old in the 2nd half and the transition to him controlling his anger is barely there.
But hey, he’s easily the funniest and most likable thing in this, so I can’t be too mad. Then there’s Chuck and Bomb, voiced by Josh Gad and Danny McBride. They are mostly just defined by their one joke.
Chuck is hyper, and Bomb is awkward can litterly explodes sometimes. They don’t get much deeper than that, and they don’t learn much. They provide some decent comedy, but mostly they are just his pals. And I think I’m getting a bit sick of his Olaf shitck.
There’s also the head pig, Lenonard, voiced by Bill Hader. It’s worth nothing at one point he says he wants to be called Chuckles. So he’s…Chuckles the Silly piggy. Shut up, I had to make that joke.
He’s not the worst villain ,but he’s not all that threatening or funny. Honestly, the pigs give us a lot of bad jokes, and a random Blake Shelton cameo. At least those jokes made me root for the birds when they basically trash their land.
Also ,the villains plan to eat the birdies’ eggs. Which have babies in them. The villain wants to eat Babies.
PERFECT FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT.
Then we have Mighty Eagle, voiced by Peter Dinklage, who is wasted. He’s your typical hero who is actually a joke. He’s only sometimes funny and like I said, his turn at the end is really rushed. Despite…that joke, I was looking forward to him, but he was disappointing.
And the rest are just there. Terrance, while pretty funny, just grunts, and somehow they got Sean Penn just so do that stuff. People like a judge, and the Anger Management teacher play a part, but not too big and they get a couple okay gags, I guess.
And Smosh has a role for some reason. Just so I can say it’s better than their own movie?
Some fill their roles fin enough, but really only Red goes through any changes, and he’s also the only one I really liked. However, no one is really hateable. At worst they are dumb or useless.
Olaf sometimes got a chuckle out of me, and same with Bomb and the main pig. These characters are far from the worst, but they are mostly just…there. They are one note and not developed too much.
Red is a solid lead, and others have their moments, but it’s mostly a cast of “Meh” characters. But hey, as I said, no one is horrible.
There really isn’t too much to say. Not the worst cast ever, but most are them are just kind of useless or weak.
Overall, The Angry Birds Movie isn’t really bad, with good animation, a likable lead, and some good gags but it mostly a lackluster effort due to uneven pacing, some terrible jokes, and mostly weak characters.
Like Rachet and Clank, it’s far from awful and has it’s moments, and captures the game fine, but falls short in the end. This was better than I thought would be, as I got some hearty laughs from it, but in the end it was just a bit too much.
Like Rachet, it’s a step in the right direction for Video Game Movies, but it’s still no cigar. For my recommendation, kids will possibly like it so if you drop them off and go do something important, go ahead.
But in general, I’d wait to rent it. It’s worth a look for curiosity, but it’s not worth spending a lot of money for. It has plenty of moments, but nothing too special. Despite certain jokes, I’m glad it’s not too awful compared to what I expected.
I will say they clearly tried to make something out of this, with the nice animation and all the gags put in. They just half assed certain parts, or their efforts just weren’t enough. So when it comes to animation, I think we’ll have to wait for Finding Dory to get something half decent.
In short, this was better than expected, but still a bit weak.
Honestly, that’s a higher grade than I expected. Hopefully I will see you next work for the apocalypse.