Refuge Reviews-The Angry Birds Movie
The Angry Birds Movie is filled with grouchy birds and colorful visuals, but it quickly turned me into the biggest grouch of them all.
This is the first movie that I have reviewed for Refuge Radio that I absolutely did not like and there is a good reason, as this film was made with "humor" for the lowest common denominator. What's the plot? Well, it follows a unhappy bird named Red, voiced out of character by Jason Sudeikis, who after a series of incidents is sentenced to anger management therapy where he meets fellow Angry Birds, Bomb and Chuck. Bomb blows himself up when he gets startled and Chuck is hyper-kinetic and has a weird fascination with the village's local hero Mighty Eagle (we'll come back to that). Its not long before the Pigs show up on their island to steal the bird's eggs and the less-angry birds need to turn to Red and Co. for help. One compliment I will give the movie is the writers took a simple mobile game about birds being flung from slingshots into pig's houses and crafted a story on paper that incorporates the game elements into a larger narrative well. Unfortunately what works on paper doesn't always translate to the big screen and The Angry Birds Movie is a great example of that as unbelievably crude and unpleasant humor make this film tough to sit through.
Think of all the inappropriate jokes from kids shows like Sponge bob or Adventure Time and mix into a blender with a bizarre number of references to LGBT themes and spirituality and you get what makes up the majority of this film's running time. Seriously I have never seen a family film before that features so many jokes about character's shaking their rear ends suggestively or thinking of other characters as muscle bound hunks as in this movie. Remember Chuck? He at numerous times in this movie thinks of Mighty Eagle as having six-pack abs and inviting him to stay with him in his cave. Weird, right? Not to be content with just sexual "humor" like that, this film throws in words that sound super close to swear words and even a reference to doing drugs! I acknowledge that many of these "jokes" will go over most kid's heads but it doesn't excuse a film from lacking a sense of responsibility as a family film and having at the very least a positive message which this film also lacks. By the end it is actually implied that being angry is a good thing rather then teaching kids that violence isn't the answer.
A couple of positives that stand out are the absolutely beautiful and vibrant visuals and the solid final act. The look of the movie is fantastic, with every frame being worthy of being hung on a your wall! The voice performances are all solid as well except for some miscasting like the aforementioned Sudeikis as Red, who doesn't match the anger of the character's animation. The film also ends on a much stronger note once the birds end up on Piggy Island and begin firing themselves out of slingshots at the pig's precariously stacked houses a la the game. Also most of the third act is largely devoid of the crude humor going for more of a Looney Tunes-like physical comedy vibe which works much better. I wish the whole movie had gone with that....
The Angry Birds Movie is not a good movie. plain and simple. The whole film lacks cohesiveness with the first hour being filled with crude and adult humor and random gags that bring to mind shows like Family Guy, while the final 30 minutes is an homage to the game with a humor and sense of purpose missing from the rest of the film. Yes, the visuals and acting are solid but they don't overshadow the fact that this movie is not appropriate for its target audience and that is a problem it cannot overcome. This is by far my least favorite film of the year so far!
Rated PG for rude humor and action. I have already gone into depth in the above review of how inappropriate this film is with its constant barrage of adult humor which includes drug use nods as well as numerous characters making LGBT references including but not limited to 2 girl birds holding hands and male characters thinking of other male characters in a intimate way. Also a good amount of scenes involving yoga and general spirituality. Later the film is filled with physical Tom and Jerry-like humor like characters getting beat up and teeth getting knocked out, etc. I would say if you are leery of the violence in today's cartoons then avoid this film as unlike say, Despicable Me or a Disney film there is no positive lesson for kids to be taught by this film. 10+ is age appropriate for the general levels of action and humor, but the type of humor might not be appreciated by all (or most)