Director: Clay Kaytis and Feral Reilly
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Jason Sudeikis, Danny McBride and Bill Hader
Running Time: 97 minutes
Release Date: May 13th
The Angry Birds Movie is going to be a punchline for a while. The relationship between film and video games has long been touch and go. Plagued with missteps and blatant attempts at cashing in, it is a strange thing that a medium that has spent years gravitating towards increased cinematic standing and stronger plots cannot be properly translated to the big screen. Critical and audience favourites Doom, Tomb Raider, and Prince of Persia have all seemingly had their narrative depth shaken off in the move from console to cinema, losing the strength of the original franchises while being stuffed into the shape of vehicles for The Rock, Angelina Jolie, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
For whatever reason, perhaps following the recent strength of some comic book movies, a genre once similarly ill-fated in its adaptations, a full slate of video games are being remade for cinema this year and on into next, from Duncan Jones’ Warcraft to Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed. But the troubled past that exists between these media may have some people wary of spending money to watch diluted versions of things they love. Perhaps they will be cynical cash grabs, designed only to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for tie-ins, lunchboxes and game adaptations of the movie adaptation of the game.
And it probably didn’t offer much solace to gamers that this run of films started off with The Angry Birds Movies, a film based on an iPhone game that I won’t describe in further detail because let’s be honest you’ve played it. We’ve all played it. But strangely, and perhaps as a result of the lack of attachment people nurture towards the game, it is quite well put together. For starters, it is a faithful adaptation of the story, unlike many others, in that it is about pigs, birds and catapults. But more than that, it’s visually pleasing, far more than many animated movies, and a lot more than anyone expected it to be. It’s not Finding Nemo, but it is bright, understated and none too garish.
It also is funny. The jokes will obviously be more suited to kids, but there are jokes there for parents, and as they are being delivered by the likes of Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader and Danny McBride, they mostly land. It’s these factors combined, along with it being pretty self aware, that mean that, for at least the time being, The Angry Birds Movie is the best video game movie we have ever seen. So if you found yourself not hating the trailer, you won’t hate this ever. And it will be a punchline for a while, which is a shame because it’s a whole lot better than it had any right to be.