Starring (the voices of): Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Sean Penn, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph
Directed by: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Cert: PG Running Time: 97 minutes
Turning out an animated feature film in under three years is something of an industry challenge and one met head on by directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly (seasoned animators here making their directorial debuts), for they have smartly rendered a film version of the global mobile game/epidemic almost as quick as it takes their feathered stars to shoot themselves across the sky. It may have helped that they made the film under the Rovio mantle, an animation studio set up by the games’ founders to directly develop the film on site themselves at their Vancouver base.
Part of Rovio’s success with Angry Birds was its simple and fun execution and Kaytis and Reilly haven’t steered from that formula in bringing it to the big screen. This is both a help and a hindrance of sorts. In a world where even animated plots can be intricate and twisty (as with Disney’s recent Zootropolis stuffed with plot and character development), The Angry Birds Movie keeps its premise as simple as the game itself. The flightless birds must catapult themselves through the air in order to defeat those pigs and win back their stolen eggs. Could the premise have been stretched further? Certainly – but why veer from the path of previous success? Instead the film makers have invested in making the characters cleanly and cleverly defined in a fun setting that you’re happy to spend time in.
Red (Jason Sudeikis) is a bird with very little patience, prone to episodes of extreme rage and anger over the simplest of things. When a ship laden with jiggly pigglys led by Leonard (Bill Hader) shores up on their island, the rest of the community are polite and welcoming but Red’s not buying the nice act even with their cowboy hats and leather chaps so when the piggys make off with all the eggs, it’s down to Red and his anger management class buddies Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) to bring the rage and save the day. Written by Jon Vitti (The Simpsons), the film is sprinkled with funny lines and sight gags from Daft Punk to The Shining and though one or two weaker gags loom in the air, most hit their target. Toilet humour is high on the agenda with the Lake of Wisdom, home to the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) hands down the funniest joke in the film.
Reilly, an Irish animator who’s spent almost two decades in the US working on the likes of The Iron Giant, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Spiderman 2, along with Kaytis (Frozen, Tangled) have brought a vibrant rainbow of eye-popping colour to the screen that kids will adore. If you’ve played the game or seen the trailer, then you know firmly what’s in store. There are no major surprises here but then its as diverting and downright entertaining as the game.
I sat down recently with Fergal Reilly to talk about the film. Check out the interview here: http://www.themoviebit.com/2016/05/we-talk-angry-birds-with-director.html