Angry Birds is, of course, one of the most successful video games of all time, so the news that there was to be a movie based on it came as no shock. What is a surprise – when you consider some of the awful video game movie adaptations that have come before (we mean you, Super Mario Bros) – is that this one isn’t that bad.
That’s high praise indeed when you think that the 97 minute film is based on a game where you simply catapult birds of different types at a group of alien-looking green pigs. Writer Jon Vitti has managed to create a story around this, introducing us to a colony of happy (yes, not angry) talking birds and the one grumpy one amongst them – loner Red (Sudeikis). He’s the only one who is suspicious when a boat full of green pigs led by the smarmy Leonard (Hader) arrives at their island offering peace and friendship, and it is down to him, speedy yellow bird Chuck (Gad) and the literally explosive Bomb (McBride) to find out what is really going on.
The first half of the film plods along rather laboriously while this is all set up, but once the birds launch an attack on the pigs (who, of course, have a sinister agenda) and the film begins to ape the game, it becomes much more fun. Younger kids will giggle at the silliness of it all, and enjoy the bright animation and visual gags, while parents may grumble that it all makes no sense – why not catapult rocks instead of birds, dare we ask? Despite the quibbles, it’s still enjoyable kids’ entertainment, with an occasional joke for the weary grown-ups brought along for the ride (look out for a nod to The Shining, of all things).
Is The Angry Birds Movie suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...