Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Movie Review: Angry Birds slingshots to the big screen

It was the phenomenon that swept the world, the number one app of all time, Angry Birds took over smartphones with its flightless birds trying to slingshot their way to heroism.

Angry Birds is a video game franchise created by Rovio Entertainment. The first game in the series was initially released in December 2009 for Apple iOS. It has since created different themes from Rio to Star Wars.

In 2011 David Maisel, former chairman and founder of Marvel Studios, noticed his mother playing the addictive game.  

I got intrigued and after leaving Marvel, I thought it would be a great movie,” Maisel said. “So I approached the owners, and we have been working the past five years to bring this movie to everybody.”

“The Angry Birds Movie”  takes us to Bird Island and we meet Red (Jason Sudeikis), a short-tempered children’s entertainer, who ensues in an altercation, landing him in court. The judge rules the ultimate verdict, anger management classes with therapist Matilda (Maya Rudolph). Red meets his future sidekicks in therapy: speed demon Chuck (Josh Gad), possibly explosive Bomb (Tony McBride) and growling Terence (Sean Penn).  

The script is filled with sarcasm, witty jokes, and an array of creative puns. Writer Jon Vitti (“The Simpsons,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks”) nails the gags precisely, and illustrates each character’s personality humorously. Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, both make their directing debut for the film.

Tension hits when unsolicited visitors from Piggy Island, including their leader King Leonard (Bill Hader), assures the birds no harm is to be done. Red breaks everyone from reverence and questions the green pigs’ objective. As users know, these squealing trespassers have their eye on one prize, the beloved eggs of expectant birds.

Red unites with Chuck and Bomb along with the support of the island to slingshot their way to Pig Island and fight to get the eggs back.

From the cast, script, and people behind this worldwide project The Angry Birds Movie brings together all audiences for a fun-filled film. It teaches kids great lessons from responsibility to teamwork. Its success from the smartphone executes perfectly on the big screen.

The film hits theaters May 20.

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Here’s a Q&A with the cast and team at the Los Angeles premiere:

 

  1. What makes Angry Bird different from any other animation movie?

John Cohen (Producer): It’s a game, several games, downloaded over 3 billion times, people know these characters and have a familiarity with it. There was no mythology, nothing had been established, so it was our chance to create the origin on how this strange conflict came to exist.

Mikael Hed (Co-Creator of Angry Birds, Exec Producer): We designed the first game in a way that we wanted to allow it to be something more than a game. So when it took off, we started planning on what we wanted to do, I think we really found our own voice for the movie and that’ll be quite obvious when you see it.

Josh Gad (Chuck): The story was so much bigger than an adaption of a game. It had a reason to exist, the characters were wonderful.

Fergal Reilly (Director): What we have done with the movie we have created, what were icons but now turned them into these great comedic personalities. We pushed the characters to a whole new level.

Tony Hale (Ross, Cyrus): I’m crazy about the angle they do with the anger management issues. I love how they deal with that, they try to work on their anger, but the pigs come along, and you know that doesn’t help.

Bill Hader (Leonard):  It’s very irreverent, the comedy is that they allowed it to have its own comedic sensibility.

 

       2. Do you relate to any characters featured in the film?

Gad: Chuck is at the other end of the spectrum he’s a speed demon, been there, seen it, done that guy, he’s kinda over it all. I loved being able to play that attitude.

Cohen: I relate to Red, he is a character that would say and do the things we wish we could in frustrating situations.

Catherine Winder (Producer): I relate to Matilda. As a producer I bring all sorts of personalities together and roll them to work on something and do great things, it’s an interesting dynamic.

David Maisel (Exec. Producer):  A little bit all of them, depends on the mood. Chuck has fun with his life, Red because we all get angry over certain things, and Bomb just wants to make friends.

       

     3.  Are you guilty of being one of the 3 billion users of the app?

Cohen: I am proud to be one of those 3 billion people to be addicted, it’s an amazing t things. The hours of playing the game I can happily justify as research.

Gad: Very addicted to the Star Wars version, unhealthily addicted.

Reilly: I was addicted, in 2009, first came out on the iPhone. It was kinda amazing to get on the phone, I was interested in apps but this one stuck with me, to get the phone call to direct the movie with Clay this is synchronicity.

Hale: Very medicating game, whenever you’re frustrated you just threw a bird into a pig.

 

    4. Are there any games from your childhood you would want to make a movie of?

Hader: I didn’t play a lot of games, I had no patience for it. I would get really frustrated when I would play as a kid, but I would say Contra.

Hale: Candy Land, because I have a big sweet tooth.

Reilly: Pokémon.

Winder: Yahtzee.

Hed: I have so many, but I would say Ultima 5.

Maisel: Angry Birds *laughs* I still feel like I’m a child.

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