I have seen a lot of bad movies. I have seen movies based on songs, movies based on videogames and even movies based on board games. I can safely say though (until now) that I have never seen a movie based on a cell phone app. That all ended when I saw this film and let me tell you when I say I had lowered expectations for this thing that I couldn’t be any more serious. When the film came to a close about 90 minutes later, I must say that despite this not being a magnificent piece of cinema or anything I was was delightfully entertained by most of what occurred on-screen. Colour me surprised.
First of all, the story involves an island of birds that can not fly including Red (Jason Sudeikis), a bird that is constantly angry, Chuck (Josh Gad), a happy-go-lucky speedy bird and Bomb (Danny McBride), a loveable but not a very intelligent bird and he has a bit of an explosive temper. Their island is soon infested by an assortment of pigs (led by Bill Hader), who seem to mean well but Red quickly notices that their intentions may not be pure as they seem to be eyeing the eggs scattered all over the island. The time is ticking as Red must rally the birds against the pigs to get their eggs back. So yeah… it’s not an overly complicated plot but it’s enough to make for an entertaining diversion from everyday life.
The vocal talents are pretty good here. Jason Sudeikis always does good as the straight man character and he does the same here with pretty successful results. He sounds like an everyman and is easily relateable since we’ve all had those moments where we got so angry at every little thing that we just wanted to hit something. Josh Gad is meant to do animated films and he is a lot of fun as the hyperactive Chuck. I had a really fun time watching him as the Olaf the snowman in Frozen and it’s a similar experience here with Gad really lighting up every scene in which he appears. Danny McBride used his voice in a way that was completely un-recognizable to me but I enjoyed his character, Bomb, and he was a delightfully inept addition to our triumvirate of heroes. We also get fun additions like Maya Rudolph as an anger management counselor, Bill Hader hamming it up (HAHAHAHA! I KILL ME!) as the lead pig villain, Sean Penn as a rather large bird who mostly just grunts and sits in intimidating silence and Peter Dinklage as the “mighty” eagle who has clearly fallen on some hard times. It is a very fun cast overall.
Now before we start overdoing it with the praise, let me back it up a bit. This is not a perfect film and in fact is FAR from a perfect film. The movie is full of corny jokes, contrived situations and toilet humour (although some of the latter is well-done) but it is all done in a fairly effective way. It won’t be taking home any awards or anything but it will entertain the adults enough while definitely keeping the kids glued to the screen. …what? Oh? You want to know that? OK. In relation to the app, yes, there is a moment in which the birds are flung through the air at the pigs and they all do what they’re supposed to do in relation to their characters/colour scheme. It is a scene that perhaps goes on a bit too long but it is never boring mostly because of the breezy pace that the film takes on.
Not a whole lot else to say about this one. It’s funny, it moves along briskly and is much better than you would expect to see in a film based on an app.
Oh… and there is a scene referencing Quicksilver. It’s great.
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)