After the success of The Lego Movie and the failure of Battleship, it would appear that the key to turning a game into a movie is to target it towards kids rather than adults.
The Angry Birds Movie follows in the footsteps of The Lego Movie in this regard (though, to be honest, I’d love to see a gritty “Angry Birds” movie) by adapting the popular iPhone game into a feature length kid’s movie. While the plot to the phone game was simple, the film adds a few layers – but not too many – to give it a little bit of depth. The story follows Red (Jason Sudeikis) as he deals with his anger management issues on an isolated island filled with happy, carefree birds. However, when green pigs visit the island, Red is the only one to see that the pigs might be scheming something disastrous.
The Angry Birds Movie had every right to be bad and still make a ton of money, but it’s clear that there was some significant effort put into the film. Not only does it completely cater to those who want to see an “Angry Birds” movie (okay, so mostly kids), but it also makes sure to toss adults a bone… or rather, an egg.
Don’t just take my word for it though. I have an eight-year-old sister (she wants me to add that she’s almost nine), and I went to see this movie with her. Partially because the movie is a kid’s movie and partially because she kept asking me, here’s an interview I did with her just after we saw the film:
Andrew: So Elizabeth, what did you think of the movie?
Elizabeth: Well, I really liked how it was silly, and it just made people laugh, and they had a lot of really good songs, and it’s based off of a kid app, and I’ve been hearing a lot of previews for adult movies so I liked that the target was for kids. If you asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 on how many stars I’d give it, I’d give it 100!
Elizabeth: Because I think it’s just so good.
Andrew: Do you think this movie was better than Inside Out.
Elizabeth: Umm… yeah, it’s the best movie I’ve seen yet.
Andrew: The best movie you’ve seen yet?
Elizabeth: Yeah, it’s really good.
Andrew: Are you a big fan of the “Angry Bird” games?
Andrew: How much do you like the games?
Elizabeth: Umm… I really like how there’s a big option of them, but I just think it’s really good.
Andrew: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Elizabeth: Umm… Do you know what? It was so good I can’t really choose just one part. I guess all the really silly parts?
Andrew: Anything else you want to add?
Elizabeth: I just like that – not a lot of movies are based on apps, I just really like it’s based on an app that’s been around for a really long time.
Andrew: If they were to make another movie based off of an app, what would you like to see?
Elizabeth: Umm… maybe I’d like to see a movie about one of the “Cut the Rope” games? Because I really like those games too.
But while The Angry Birds Movie is successful in entertaining children, it’s also fun for adults as well. A big reason for this is that the film has an incredibly frantic pace. There are about a million jokes a minute, and this allows the movie to make jokes that appeal to kids and adults alike, without spending too much time on any particular joke. However, to be fair, there are a lot of puns in this movie. Both bird and pig related. While puns are a fast way to my heart, I can also see people getting turned off very quickly by these jokes in the film.
There’s also basically every comedian out there in this movie. Along with Sudeikis in the lead, the movie also sports Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Hannibal Buress, Tony Hale and Kate McKinnon. That’s a lot of names. Every voice is recognizable in some way, and every voice sounds like it is having a lot of fun. The energy that the voice actors put into the movie makes it so much fun to watch.
The script and structure are also very well constructed. There are some nice layers about industrialization and suppressing emotions, and some great characterization. The ending does turn into a cinematic iPhone game, but it’s the film’s climatic battle, so it seems absolutely fitting. There are lots of stupid and silly jokes, but it’s also clear that there was quite a bit of effort that went into the movie. It’s not quite as layered or interesting as The Lego Movie, but the story is clear and simple, and it’s a fun experience along the way.