THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (USA/PG/97mins)
Directed by Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly. Starring the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride.
THE PLOT: That Red (Sudeikis) is having trouble with his anger isn’t all that surprising, given the chirpy-chirpy, beep-beep world that he lives in. Sometimes, that raging temper is only there because you’re surrounding by major assholes, something that lands Red on an anger management course. Whatever progress Red may have reluctantly been making at the course is soon squashed though when two pigs park their boat on top of his beachfront home. And those two pigs are soon four. And then, 104. As the town falls under the all-singing, all-dancing pigs’ charms, Red is convinced the little oinks are up to something. And he’s right…
THE VERDICT: This year’s ‘Lego Movie’, it’s a very pleasant surprise indeed to discover that the ‘Angry Birds Movie’ is a hoot from beginning to end. Jason Sudeikis makes for a perfect Chris Pratt, as the hot-tempered Chicken Little whose BS meter is set to 11. Just like so many great comic creations, from W.C. Fields to Larry David.
The jokes come thick and fast, thanks to a tight and bouncy script from ‘Simpsons’ veteran Jon Vitti, whilst directors Clay Katis (a Disney refugee) and Fergal Reilly (an Irishman, begorrah!) clearly know their pacing.
There’s so much to love about this movie, not least the solid cast, with everyone from Gad and Dinklage to Hader and, eh, Penn clearly having the time of their lives.
It could have been so easily ‘Minions’ so-so or ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ disappointing, but ‘Angry Birds’ soars high, firing on all cylinders and all fronts. Which, now that I look back over those sentences, is all very generic poster-quote stuff, so, I’d best just sign off by saying, hey, I feckin’ loved it.
RATING: 4/5
Review by Paul Byrne

The Angry Birds Movie
Review by Paul Byrne
4.0Soars High
  • filmbuff2011

    The announcement that there would be an Angry Birds movie was greeted with some scepticism. After all, could the fiendishly difficult and ridiculously popular mobile app be successfully turned into a film? After seeing the results of The Angry Birds Movie, it’s obvious that moving into the land of film was a natural move in their attempts at world domination.

    On Bird Island, most birds live peacefully and fit in. That is, except Red (Jason Sudeikis). He has anger management issues and lives by the beach apart from everyone else. Working as a clown, he turns up late at a children’s party and insults his clients when they refuse to pay him. A birthday cake in the face for the client results in Red being sent to court. There, he’s assigned to anger management classes, where he meets a group of other misfits: motormouth Chuck (Josh Gad), explosive Bomb (Danny McBride) and the enormous Terence (Sean Penn), who ominously grumbles his approval or disapproval in deep tones. They quickly bond, but then have to contend with the arrival of a shipful of pigs, led by porker Leonard (Bill Hader). The pigs seem friendly at first, entertaining all the birds. But what they’re really after is the eggs on the island. Red sees their nefarious intentions early on, but nobody else will listen. But when the pigs make off with their eggs, it’s time for Red, Chuck, Bomb and Terence to unite the island and make these birds angry for revenge…

    Co-directed by Clay Kaytis and Irishman Fergal Reilly, The Angry Birds Movie is pretty much what you would expect from an adaptation from a mobile app to a feature-length film. It features the main characters from the game, along with the subsidiary ones. It also features the main scenarios, such as the birds being gleefully flung at the pigs’ defences. There’s a warm sense of familiarity here, which is comforting even if the film doesn’t take too many risks storywise. Writer Jon Vitti plays it safe instead, delivering what we know and love. Springing from a small mobile screen to the big screen is certainly visually dazzling and makes a nice change. The colours really jump off the screen and it’s fun to see the characters get more personality. The film is loaded with sight-gags too, fitting in lots of blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em pig-related jokes like ‘Kevin Bacon in Hamlet’, Ham Radio and even a bizarre, random Kubrick joke for the adults.

    For all the fun though, the story drags quite a bit. It takes its time to get going – an earlier introduction to the pigs would have been welcome via some tighter editing. We only really get to the anarchic bit towards the end, which is very funny. A diversion for Red and co to meet Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) doesn’t really work, as the character seems to have no other function other than provide some overlong toilet humour (literally). This being an animated movie, there is a message for the children – that of fitting in and being accepted, even if you’re different. It’s not as daring as one would hope for. More anarchy and snarky humour instead of cuddly bird gags would gain the film an extra star. The Angry Birds Movie is flawed and lacks edge, but it’s strong enough to gain flight without crashing. Bird-brained fun. ***