Netflixing: The Angry Birds Movie

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When this film came out in theaters, I was surprised at how many people had positive things to say about it, considering how awful the previews looked.

I resisted the temptation to go see it in the theater, though I must admit I entertained doubts about my decision, even questioned the wisdom of my actions, because I knew that previews can sometimes be misleading.

How glad I am that I didn’t give in to those doubts.

This is The Angry Birds Movie.

The Conceit

For the two and a half people in this world who don’t know, I will begin by saying that this film is based off a video game. Specifically, it is based off a highly popular mobile game that has minimal story elements to begin with.

Now, I am a person who looks forward to the day when movies based on video games finally hit their stride. Let us not forget that there once was a time when comic book movies were in a similar situation, generating a lot of duds before they finally exploded.

Someday, you’ll get the Marvel Studios treatment. Someday.

But there is no denying that the video game movies of the present time and date have disappointed viewers again and again. And The Angry Birds Movie is no different.

The Story

In the middle of the ocean, there is an island that is home to a race of intelligent birds where all is pristine and wonderful, for most people.

However, a small group of malcontents are kept in line by being sent to an anger management class, which only makes them angrier.

One day, Bird Island gets a diplomatic visit from an envoy of Piggy Island, who comes under the banner of friendship but is secretly evil.

And you all know how this story goes. The only one who suspects anything is amiss is the one character everyone else hates, so no one believes him, until the nice guys turn out to be evil and everyone is taken by surprise. There’s a wise old mentor figure who does absolutely nothing to advance the plot and could have been subtracted from the film without damaging it.

And it’s all just so…bland.

The Jokes

It was obvious from the outset that the filmmakers’ priorities were not set on telling a solid, moving, and coherent story but on filling the run time with as many jokes as possible.

And those jokes, for their part, are actually pretty funny. I had my share of laughs and was impressed with the dedication to absurdity.

But it wasn’t enough to save the movie. Humor certainly is a nice thing to have, but it cannot substitute good storytelling. And when we have examples of animated films that have both great jokes and great stories (remember what we learned from The Lego Movie), The Angry Birds Movie just can’t get away with being so mediocre.

And it relied just a little too heavily on potty humor.

My Judgment

Sorry for making this review so short, but there’s really not much to review.

The Angry Birds Movie is an extremely shallow piece of art. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As a collection of jokes, it impresses. The computer animation is highly detailed with bright colors and will probably hold the attention of children (though you may want to keep children away from this film, remembering what I said about potty humor). It does a fantastic job of lampooning anger management classes, if nothing else.

If nothing else on Netflix tickles your fancy, then you may find it good for killing time.