“The Angry Birds Movie” lays an egg

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Courtesy of Sony Pictures

When I heard that Sony was going to produce a film based on an app, I knew that the film industry was going downhill.

Making a movie about “Angry Birds” would be like making a movie about Tetris. Coincidentally, there really is a “Tetris” movie coming out, and it’s rumored to be a trilogy.

Movies sometimes feel like a cash grab, and blatant ones at that. Studios decide to make a movie based around some modern fad, but the movie is made long after the fad has died out. When “The Lego Movie” came out a few years back, I was sure that the result was going to be a money grubbing attempt at selling more Legos long after the toys had gone out of popularity. When it turned out that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s film about plastic building blocks was actually a really beautiful animated film with lovable characters and a great message I (and many others) were shocked. “The Angry Birds Movie” is not the same level of triumph that “The Lego Movie” is. It does somewhat surpass expectation. The level of animation in “The Angry Birds Movie” is top of the line, almost Pixar-level quality. The story and characters, though, are amateurish. The film caves in on itself as it begins to overstuff the plot with every single factor of the games in this no-longer beloved franchise.

Bird Island is inhabited by a society of cheery, flightless birds. Birds who do not follow the society’s ideals are exiled outside of the community and sentenced to anger management class. Red (Jason Sudeikis), a grumpy and cynical bird, is asked to attend the class where he meets the hyperactive Chuck (Josh Gad) and demure, but easily excited, Bomb (Danny McBride). The three form a strange friendship as the two friends attempt to break Red out of his shell.

When a group of pigs led by Leonard (Bill Hader) arrives at the island, they dazzle the birds with their music and mechanical knowledge. Red is immediately wary of the pigs, but the rest of the island loves them. Red, Chuck and Bomb are then devoted to exposing the pigs.

The animation at play in “The Angry Birds Movie” is fantastic, some of the best in the industry. Each little feather, blade of grass and stone feels like it has weight and is real. The level of detail the animators put in the visuals is fantastic. The way the characters move in scenes really shows off the talent at play here.

A film can’t succeed on only visual beauty though, and that is where it fails. Most of the jokes fell flat for me. The humor often relied on a heavy amount of sexual innuendo for being a children’s film. Innuendo in a kid’s movie can often be fun for the adult audience that is present, but when the majority of the jokes are sexual in nature, you wonder where the label “kids’ movie” came from. The innuendo isn’t even hidden in clever wordplay. At one point Chuck just says that the female birds need to “get busy and make more eggs.” It is blatantly misplaced and isn’t even funny, which categorizes most of the film’s humor in general.

The characters aren’t interesting or funny either. The only enjoyable character is Red, but his cynicism and anger often lasts way too long and just feels shoehorned in. Bomb and Chuck just feel like hundreds of other comedic characters we have seen before. The story also tries too hard to fit in every single part of the subject material’s lore. Random appearances that don’t make any sense at all are added in haphazardly and in a completely non-creative manner.

The end result of this mismatched collection of weak story and unfocused writing adds up for a movie that might tickle the funny bones of some kids, but will leave few gleaming with admiration.

Rating: 3/5