Sunday, August 14, 2016
Video review: "The Angry Birds Movie"
“The Angry Birds Movie” is an exemplar of the generational divide: I loathe it, but my kids love it.
Since the Blu-ray showed up in the mail, my 5-year-old has watched it twice and asked about a third, at which point a parent’s protective instincts kick in. The quality of entertainment for children has gone through the roof since my day, so lazy and inept stuff like this is even more egregious.
People like to disparage movies based on video games as dredging the bottom of the cultural barrel. But Angry Birds isn’t even a real video game, in the same way that tic-tac-toe bears little resemblance to Monopoly. It’s a smartphone app in which birds hurl themselves via a giant slingshot at the buildings and other structures of evil green pigs.
(Oddly, no one has ever thought to question why none of these birds have functioning wings. I mean, you figure any multicultural bird community is going to have a few penguins, ostriches and the odd emu here and there. But 100% flightless? Darwin says, “Uh uh.”)
Directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly and screenwriter Jon Vitti give us a paint-by-numbers cast and story. Red (voice of Jason Sudeikis) is a bird with anger management problems and the ostensible hero. His buddies include Chuck, a motor-mouth yellow guy voiced by Josh Gad, and Bomb (Danny McBride), who does as his name implies when he gets excited.
There’s also Terence, a massive red fellow who just growls at everyone, never speaking. He’s voiced (if you can call it that) by Sean Penn.
When the pigs land on bird island, they befriend the locals before making off with all their eggs. Bill Hader does the voice of Leonard, their smarmy leader. It’s only a matter of time before Red and company follow them back home and start slinging themselves at piggy places.
Perhaps the film’s only genuine laugh is provided by Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle, the mascot/mythical protector of the birds, who lives the high life up in his eyrie.
The rest is a generic jumble of fart jokes and zippy pratfalls. It’s just lazy moviemaking.
But enough parents got dragged to the theater by their kids to make this a huge hit, so get ready for the sequel. In the meantime, “The Angry Birds Movie” is the sort of thing you set your little guys up with in the living with some popcorn, and go get 97 minutes to yourself.
Bonus features are middling. With the DVD there is a single deleted scene; the Blake Shelton music video, “Friends”; character sketch gallery; music vignettes with composer Heitor Pareira; and a “symphony mode” where you can watch the movie with only music.
Upgrade to the Blu-ray version and you add five making-of featurettes; more deleted scenes; several mini-movies featuring the Hatchlings characters; and the short film, “The Early Hatchling Gets the Worm.”