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The Angry Birds Movie review: a blatant moneymaking project that's utterly vapid

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Millions of people have been, and still are, addicted to Rovio's incredibly successful franchise game Angry Birds. Which is probably why Columbia Pictures and Rovio obviously thought that what the world was missing was a movie based on said game.

It makes sense (to a degree) considering how Rovio has been on a downswing for the past two years and has had to lay off one-third of its staff. "Hey, don't worry, Columbia must have said, "no matter how terrible it's going to be, people will still watch it."

And they're not wrong about that - the theatre was packed with kids and parents. Worse, there were lots of single adults who somehow managed to laugh through all them puke, poop, and pee jokes while I could barely stop myself from dashing out of the theatre.

Peace is not an option

Set on Bird Island, home to a community of flightless birds, The Angry Birds Movie is led by Red (Jason Sudeikis). Red is the most grumpy and dour bird around. After an incident at a birthday party, he's forced to join anger management classes. That's where he meets the speedy Chuck (Josh Gad in his first outing since Frozen), the literally explosive Bomb (Danny McBride), and the large Terence (Sean Penn).

But soon, the island gets turned upside down when a boatload of green pigs, led by Leonard (Bill Hader), arrive, Red is suspicious of these newcomers and for good reason - as anyone who's played the games will know. Soon and sure enough, the pigs steal all the eggs on the island after distracting the birds with a Steve Aoki dance party and everyone turns to Red to become the hero.

But Red himself actually comes across as xenophobic and cynical. We're just on his side because we know the pigs are the bad guys in the game.

It's a thin plot that eventually leads to a reimagined version of the Angry Birds games with tonnes of slings and misses. But then again, there isn't much source material to work with.

Only two jokes land well - one based on Quicksilver and the other on The Shining

That's why there's long stretches of The Angry Birds Movie that don't further the plot but instead feature Red, Chuck, and Bomb engaging in various shenanigans like their anger management class or climbing mountains so they can seek the advice of the only bird that can fly, Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage).

The humour is also all over the place, and the makers obviously hoped that shaking a pig's butt or drinking pee-filled water will get the easy laughs from the youngest viewers while the adults in the audience count the seconds until they can leave. Only two jokes really land well - one based on Quicksilver and the other on The Shining.

To make matter worse, the movie is full of puns like "Pluck my life", and "Get flocking angry". And a "Daft Pigs" concert.

To make matter worse, the movie is full of puns like 'Pluck my life', and 'Get flocking angry'

And because it's such a blatant moneymaking project capitalising on a pre-sold audience, it feels pointless to examine it for its cinematic merits. Sure, the colours are bright and the visuals impressive. But how does discussing that matter when you have such a forgettable film on your hands?

One thing we can be sure of is that all the actors went home happily with a quick paycheck.

The verdict

Unlike Zootopia and Inside Out, this movie refuses to accept that people are more intelligent than this drivel. Perhaps the best way to sum up how The Angry Birds Movie feels for most of the run time is to call it an unmitigated disaster. And a complete waste of time.

Thanks Rovio. I'm sure there's already a sequel no one needs planned. Now pluck off.

RATING: 1 out of 5

First published: 27 May 2016, 8:21 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.