The Angry Birds Movie

 

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The day-to-day business of an avian haven is disrupted by the arrival of some rather mean pigs in this animated version of the video game.

 

Angry Birds Movie

 
First there were Angry Birds, then angry film critics, and, finally, angry parents. For the uninitiated, The Angry Birds is a wildly popular video game from Finland which largely consists of firing animated flightless birds at green pigs. It’s that simple. So simple, in fact, that, apparently, David Cameron became an addict. And as sure as eggs is eggs, anything wildly popular is snatched up by Hollywood to be turned into some kind of cinematic attraction. For Heaven’s sake, even the film copyright to The Guinness Book of Records was bought up by Warner Brothers, although a film version has yet to appear.

 

Another factor in the transition of humble video game into Hollywood blockbuster is the enormous popularity of the animated film. Thanks to such titles as Frozen, Toy Story 3 and, more recently, Zootropolis, animation has become the most profitable form of cinema in the modern age. So every studio wants in on the act.

 

The Angry Birds Movie, from the same outfit (Sony Pictures Animation) that brought us Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs series, is unlikely to fly as far. Aimed squarely at a very young demographic, it’s very colourful, very noisy and very busy. And that’s the best one can say for it. The story is uncomplicated. A red bird called Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is very angry and is sent to anger management classes. Meanwhile, the island on which he lives, alongside a variety of other flightless birds, is visited by a shipload of green pigs, who offer friendship and karaoke. Red, though, smells a rat and sets about finding the true purpose of the porcine visitors…

 

The film is more smart-ass than smart and chucks everything at the screen in the hope that something will stick. It’s a raucous affair, buoyed by a relentless soundtrack of obvious musical cues and comic sound effects. Here, anything goes, with little logic, not an iota of charmere, a and an endless array of puns. It’s the same mentality that informed the mess that is Minions, so maybe some will lap this all up. There’s certainly no lack of in-jokes (the main pig’s sidekick is called John Hamm and they’ve got a poster of Kevin Bacon in Hamlet), but these alone can hardly salvage something so cacophonous, slapdash and pig-eared.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Alex Borstein.

 

Dir Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis, Pro John Cohen and Catherine Winder, Screenplay Jon Vitti, Art Dir Pete Oswald, Ed Kent Beyda and Ally Garrett, Music Heitor Pereira.

 

Rovio Entertainment/Sony Pictures Imageworks-Sony Pictures.

97 mins. USA/Finland. 2016. Rel: 13 May 2016. Cert. U.