Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Angry Birds Movie Review

That's right. We live in a day in age where we are so desperate for movie ideas that we've starting taking apps from your phone and adapting them into movies. You ready for the Candy Crush, Temple Run, Tetris and Fruit Ninja movies? And you thinking I'm joking. Candy Crush is the only one of those four that hasn't been announced. Tetris and Fruit Ninja were announced this past week. Temple Run was announced a while ago. It's only a matter of time before we get Candy Crush, right? Didn't we learn our lesson with Battleship a few years back that games with zero plot shouldn't be adapted into movies? Apparently not. While I'm at it, I also remember Monopoly and Settlers of Catan being announced as being in the works. Out of all the movie trends starting these days, this is the one that worries me the most. That said, I wasn't vehemently opposed to the idea of an Angry Birds movie when I heard about it. I thought it could be a decent kids movie. And the first trailer showed promise. But then they released more trailers. Suddenly I became as sour as everyone else. Now that I've seen it, am I going to announce that it surprised me? No. It's exactly what you expect. Not the worst thing to grace our theaters, but certainly not something worth your time and money.

The plot of the movie? Yeah that's the problem here. Think about the plot of the app for a second. There really isn't one. The pigs have stolen the eggs and the birds are trying to get them back by slinging themselves into the pigs' lair. It's a really fun game! I am unashamedly part of the millions of people that probably spent way too many hours of their lives launching birds into the pigs' lairs. When you're bored or you're waiting in line for something and all you have is your phone, these types of dumb games are perfect because they don't require much brain power and they help pass the time. That's what they're for. Adapting them into movies? No! Movies require plot. In fact, movies usually require at least 90 minutes of plot. It should be no surprise that that's exactly where this movie struggled. Plot. Just like in the game, the pigs come to the land of the flightless birds and steal their eggs. The birds band together and go attack the land of the pigs in order to get their eggs back. That's enough for part of a movie. But before that we have characters to introduce, conflict to set up, drama to create. And we have to try to make it believable and cohesive. Yeah. This movie is 97 minutes long and I swear they spend at least 60 minutes of that run time stumbling through some sort of messy plot that had me bored to tears.

It is true that sometimes these plotless adaptations work out. The LEGO Movie is the most common example I've been hearing. While I do think LEGOs and the Angry Birds game are two completely different ball games, I get the idea. A better example in my opinion are the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies. They weren't games, but they were based on a picture book with little plot, so it's the same principle. Both of those movies were fantastic. But despite examples like that, I still don't think this is a good trend to continue. If we need to adapt things, there are so many books, video games, and other stories out there that deserve to be told. Let's tell them. Adapting something like Angry Birds that has little plot requires a whole heck of a lot of creativity to make it work. Thus I think for every one time you score a home run with a movie like The LEGO Movie or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, you're going to have 10 movies like Battleship or The Angry Birds Movie. Creative juices just weren't flowing this time around. It's like someone walked into the board room, announced that they wanted to make an Angry Birds movie, and the writers were like, "Uhhhh... a what?"

Granted this movie is probably a little better than it should be. If you walk in thinking that this is going to be the next Norm of the North or Strange Magic, you might be surprised. First off, the animation in the movie is phenomenal. This is something that is easy to take for granted because we see so many animated movies these days and technology to create animation is improving drastically. But if you are a fan of animation, I think you're going to love this. They're animating birds. Birds have feathers. These specific birds have a thousands of small little feathers. I'm no animation expert, but I imagine that it took them a long freaking time to animate all the feathers and make them act like feathers on an actual bird would act like. They do a pretty darn good job of that and that's something that I appreciate. And the voice acting is perfect. I'm not going to start naming all the voice actors because there's a ton of them, but they all do a great job. So of course I've got to give credit where credit is due. But the plot! You have to have a good plot! This whole movie felt like the writers were in over their heads and had absolutely no idea how to stretch this simple Angry Birds game into a feature-length movie. There's some entertaining moments for sure. When they actually started playing Angry Birds that was fun. But they were just moments. As a whole, the movie is choppy and incohesive. I wasn't a fan.

"But Adam, this is a movie written for kids. As long as they enjoy it, that's all that matters, right?" Yes. Which is why I roll my eyes and give movies like The Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks a pass. I don't enjoy them. But there's a lot of these movies that my nieces and nephews absolute adore and so I can accept a movie that is playing towards it's audience even if I'm personally not a fan. But I'm not accepting that this time around. I'm going Inside Out on this out and putting the foot down. The foot is down! THIS MOVIE IS SO FREAKING DIRTY!!!!! I get that many animated movies try to throw in humor for adults and kids to play to both audiences, but if you're going to do that, be subtle about it! There are so many moments in this movie that are the exact opposite of subtle. Like the eagle peeing in the pool. That scene goes on. And on. And on. And on. I didn't count, but that scene must've been 30 seconds of the eagle peeing. One of the pigs put plungers on his chest. When the pigs are dancing, it zooms in on their pig butts a lot and they even start a strip tease on stage like we're watching Magic Mike. Josh Gad's character at one point when they're trying to get the eggs back tells all the couples to go home and get it on to create new eggs. Toilet humor like this is spread throughout the whole freaking movie. I'm not a parent yet, but I have a lot of nieces and nephews that I adore and as a concerned uncle this is not the type of animated movie that I want them exposed to.

Had all this toilet humor not been in the movie, I would've totally endorsed this as a fun movie to take your kids to. But I just can't give this one an endorsement. If you want to try to risk it and you think I'm overreacting to this toilet humor, then by all means give it a shot. I'm not one to tell you how to raise your kids or tell you what's appropriate for them to watch. But I'm still not giving it my personal endorsement. If I'm tending my nieces and nephews or when I have my own kids one day, this movie stays far away from their eyes. No joke. If you want to proceed, do so at your own risk. If you and your kids end up loving it and you aren't bothered one bit by the toilet humor, then I'm truly happy that you were able to enjoy yourself at the theaters. That's what I hope every time I walk into the theater and I am disappointed when it doesn't happen. But if you end up agreeing with my stance, don't say I didn't warn you. No this movie isn't the worst thing to grace the theaters. The animation is phenomenal and the voice acting is great. But in my opinion the plot is too dumb for adults and the humor is too dirty for kids. I really hope they fix things when the sequel comes around, because with how much money this made this weekend, you know a sequel is happening. But as for this movie, I'm giving The Angry Birds Movie a 5/10.  

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