The Angry Birds Movie review

When a video game becomes as popular as Angry Birds did, back around 2012, its inevitable that some "clever" Hollywood type will come along and say: "Hey, guys! This would make a GREAT movie!" Of course, as we all know, there has never been a great movie based on a video game, and Angry Birds manages to keep that run going – although to be fair it is much, much better than most.

You've all played the Angry Birds game on your phone or tablet, so you all know the quite simple plot – the nasty green pigs have taken the birds' eggs, and the birds hatch a plan to get them back, hurling themselves at the pigs' houses using a slingshot. That's really not enough of a plot for a feature-length plot – it's more of a Looney Toons-style short, to be honest – and so the filmmakders have padded it somewhat to give the whole setup a backstory. The multicoloured birds, who for some reason are flightless, all live on an isolated island called Bird Island (nobody said the birds were clever). The main character is a reclusive red bird named Red (Jason Sudeikis), who has big eyebrows and an attitude problem. After yet another incident where he upsets someone with his bliunt honesty, Red is sentenced to anger management classes, where he meets classmates Chuck (Josh Gad) and Boom (Danny McBride). One day a bunch of pigs arrive in a ship, saying they are from Piggy Island (seriously, who comes up with these names?) and they want to be the birds' friends. Red, of course, is suspicious and his suspicions ultimately prove well founded when the pigs, led by Leonard (Bill Hader), steal all the birds' eggs.

When you consider the source material, The Angry Birds Movie is surprisingly decent. Writer Jon Vitti managed to take the simple premise of the much-loved physics game (yes, the game does get its own scene in the film) and spin a decent yarn about community and fighting together for what you believe in. The script is full of jokes and puns that are sure to make adults groan, but the kids in the audience will love it. The characters are well rounded, and the animation is gorgeous. There's a terrific voice cast, although once again it's a puzzle as to why producers of an animated film think big names will bring kids flocking to see it – most of these people would be unknown to the intended viewers. But the voice performances are all first-rate, especially Sudeikis in the lead role of Red and Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle.

The Angry Birds Movie is bright, cheerful and fun, and has probably one of the longest peeing scenes in animation history – it's worth watching for that alone. As films based on games go, it's much better than you would expect it to be.

EXTRAS: There are four new Hatchlings shorts (Early Hatchling Gets the Worm, An Easter Message, A Mother's Day message and Season's Greetings) along with a featurette called Meet The Hatchlings (9:38); an advertisement for the new game Angry Birds Action (1:08); six Deleted Scenes (6:33); the featurette Dance Along With the Birds and Pigs (3:35); the featurette Crafty Birds (4:45), which shows you how to create your own catapult and mini Pig City; the behind-the-scenes featurette Creating The Real World of Angry Birds (8:29); the short Bubbles and Hal (1:35); the featurette Meet The Birds (10:26); the featurette Meet The Pigs (5:05); the Blake Shelton Music Video "Friends" (3:04); the featurette Making Music With Composer Heitor Pereira (10:31); a Photo Gallery; three "In-Theater Policy" Trailers (2:58); and Trailews for other Blu-ray releases.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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