The story of The Angry Birds Movie really wants you to think it’s sweet and sentimental. It’s dressed up in the trappings of the kind of story that’s supposed to be emotional and teach everyone a little something about accepting people for who they are since you never know where help will come from. Despite that intention, it just can’t help from being a superficial comedy that’s focused largely around fart jokes and other low-hanging fruit. It’s funny at times, but it’s also not nearly as profound as it seems to want to make you think it is.
To recap, the residents of Bird Island live a pretty tranquil life, with the exception of Red (Jason Sudeikis), who has anger issues that have gotten in his way throughout his life and caused rifts with much of the rest of the community. When a strange group of Pigs arrived on the island’s shorts presenting themselves as friends, Red is the only one who’s skeptical of their intentions. He’s proven right when the pigs steal all the birds’ eggs and so it’s up to Red to rally the birds to go across the sea and get them all back.
The campaign a few months ago sold this largely to the under-13 audience, with plenty of jokes involving bodily functions and characters getting hit in the face and other parts of the body. And that’s pretty much the movie that was delivered. There are a half-dozen, it seems, jokes that are repeated over and over again throughout the movie just to make sure the punchline is underlined as thickly and obviously as possible. And I don’t think more than five minutes go buy without someone getting hit by something heavy. That’s not a bad thing – it’s the basis of much of the Looney Tunes catalog, after all – but all good things come in moderation and that’s the one thing that’s in short supply here.
One element of the movie that went unmentioned in the campaign is Red’s backstory. There are at least a couple flashbacks to his younger days where it’s explained why he’s so angry at everything and everyone. Those play to some extent like the origin story laid out in Ron Howard’s live-action The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and to similar effect. It doesn’t so much explain his motivations and personality as give the character an easy out for his anti-social actions and that may not be the best message to send to the kids who were attracted by the poop jokes in the trailers or just by their love of the source game.
There wasn’t much about the campaign that was inaccurate in light of the finished movie. Some plot points like what I mentioned above are missing and obviously some scenes and dialogue are presented out of context and out of order because they made for a snappier trailer edit. In terms of overall tone and message, though, this one was pretty square in the strike zone,