“The fifth best video game movie…” Angry Birds review


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By Rob Stoakes

So I’ve talked about video games a lot on Movie Metropolis. A lot. And why? Well, the first wave of video game movies came in the late 80’s and early 90’s, made by people who did not make video games.

They were seen mostly as children’s toys, not their own art form, so they weren’t treat with respect. But now it’s thirty years since the release of the first Legend of Zelda. We now have a generation of film makers who grew up knowing names like Mario and Lara Croft. And now video games are taking their biggest step in earning mainstream respect with one of the biggest video games in the world getting its own movie, the blockbuster of the year…

… no, wait, sorry, I’m reviewing Angry Birds instead.

Angry Birds? Of all of the video games you could’ve chosen, you chose Angry Birds? I guess it made more sense than a House of the Dead movie, but Angry Birds is sort of the Avatar of the video game world. A commercial success, sure, but not an especially beloved one. You can’t hum the tune from memory like Mario. It hasn’t got legions of fans still talking about it like Metroid. It’s not inspired countless imitators and parodies like Half Life. Saying Angry Birds is your favourite video game is like saying your favourite band is Oasis; it’s competent but blandly inoffensive and uninteresting.

You might notice that I’m halfway through this review and I am yet to touch the movie itself. However, this was in fact planned, because I genuinely could talk about anything else and it would be more interesting than this boring damp wet fart of a film. It is never a good sign when a 90 minute film feels like it’s longer than two hours.

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Picture by Colombia Pictures.

It’s not that the various comedians they’ve hired aren’t good. Josh Gadd and Peter Dinklage are semi-forgiven for whatever madness they were up to in Pixels and the animation is good enough to at least capture amusing expressions and reactions. The problem is the script itself; there’s only two instances in the whole film where I actually laughed, and even then it was more just a simple shrug and a “heh”.

For the rest of the running time, my face was stonier than a brick shaped like Tommy Lee Jones, especially through the out-of-place and dull “dramatic” moments where the film makers try to add pathos to this story about birds attacking pigs and include, of all things, a dreadful cover of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes”.

Speaking of music, because I was bored with the script, my mind started to drift and I noticed that the sound mixing in this film is really bad. Yeah, when’s the last time you’ve watched a film with bad sound mixing? It’s something that you have to try and fail at, and boy do they manage. Dialogue will vary wildly in volume, the backing track will be barely audible to the point that you wonder why they didn’t leave it out, and there are some sounds that are just straight up missing. It’s one of those things that you don’t consciously notice without looking for it but your brain picks up and sees that something’s just wrong, like a family dinner where your uncle’s turned into a walrus and you’re the only one who’s noticed.

Sadly, despite all of that, Angry Birds would still probably now qualify to be on my top five video game movies of all-time list. It is slightly better than Tekken, a film I described as a bad Running Man rip off and has managed a measly 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe we’re cursed to have only two good video game movies forever. After all, with all of the video games with all of the stories, we’ve had a Dead or Alive movie before a Halo movie. Maybe we’ll never get a good video game movie…

… or, you know, until the guys who made Macbeth make Assassin’s Creed. I’ll admit it, that trailer got me a little excited.

Category Scoring out of 5 ⭐       
Story/Plot 1/2
Acting/Vocal Performance ⭐⭐⭐
Special Effects/Cinematography ⭐⭐
Soundtrack ⭐
Costume/Film Design ⭐⭐⭐
Script/Dialogue ⭐ 1/2
OVERALL RATING ⭐

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