Although it seems that Angry Birds, the game, has been flying on phones everywhere for ages, it only debuted in December 2009 on Apple iOS. As of December 2010, 12 million copies of the game had been sold and 30 million copies of the app had been downloaded. Angry Birds had taken the world by storm. Now, after countless other versions of the popular game have been released, these lovable and flightless birds are smashing into Hollywood in the new film The Angry Birds Movie.
Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) has never really fit in. He has anger issues and is sent to anger management. There he is introduced to Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride) and others in a class taught by Matilda (Maya Rudolph). As a loner, Red doesn’t want to become friends with any of these birds. Just being in the class is punishment enough.
When a strange ship visits their island home, the birds start to embrace their new visitors. The pigs that emerge from the ship are led by Leonard (Bill Hader) and have an alleged intention of creating a bond with the birds. Red quickly finds that there are more pigs coming and they have nefarious reasons behind their unexpected visit. Soon, the pigs’ true intention comes to light; they are after the birds’ eggs. Although no one listens to Red’s attempts to stop the pigs, they will soon follow his lead to fight back and save their eggs.
These Angry Birds will have to do what they do best — launch their flightless bodies in an all-out assault on Piggy Island. Are they too late to really make a difference? Not if Red can help it.
Bringing a game to the screen is a difficult task. The filmmakers succeed here, creating a seamless transition from game to film as we are given birds, slingshots, pigs and a story to meld it all together into something that mimics what game players know. Between the animation of the characters and the personalities that the voice talent brings to them, a special universe is created. It is fun, clever and a bit irreverent, and I always found myself cheering for the Angry Birds.
The colors and locales make for a fun film for kids of all ages. As someone who played the app and found plenty of diversion with the birds, I found myself amused by the onscreen activities. Look to the backgrounds for a variety of truly subtle jokes that most kids won’t get.
The voice talent really steals the show. Sudeikis, Gad and McBride all find a way to bring their comedic talents into this effort as the birds we love. Sudeikis’ Red is clever and always looking to stand on his own until he is forced to lead. Gad’s Chuck bursts into song, as we’ve come to expect in all of Gad’s roles. He is quickly becoming a go-to player for Hollywood comedies. McBride brings his total irreverence to the Bomb character, yet is the glue that holds the team together. Together, although their full comedic potential seems slightly muted by the script, the team delivers an all around fun performance.
Visually the film is like a look at a new world in the game. A world where the characters don’t just make noises as flightless birds, but they talk and tell us the story we could only imagine before. Color, animation, sound and birds make The Angry Birds Movie a delightful destination for all to visit.
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The Angry Birds Movie is available beginning Aug. 16 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.