Review: Angry Birds by Jamie

Ever since the release of Super Mario Bros in 1993, Hollywood has been trying to figure out how to leech off of the popularity of video games. This was particularly troublesome back in the day because most video games didn’t have much going in the way of plot beyond run right, jump and stomp on bad guys. Studios inevitably found themselves having to try and flesh out these threadbare plots to try and put something on the screen for at least an hour and a half so that they could somehow justify calling it a film.

It’s just like the game you remember and love!

Even as the years have gone by and the games themselves have developed more complex and intricate storylines with more fleshed out and developed characters, for some reason the movies that are adapted from them don’t seem to have been able to bring that to the screen. Max Payne was a game widely regarded for it’s storytelling and strong central character but the movie version is a lukewarm piece of shit starring Mark Wahlberg that no one really remembers any more and rightfully so.

Still, video games are massive money makers and with the right property it should be possible to pull of the seemingly herculean task of actually making a video game movie worth seeing. I won’t lie, some of them do seem like they could be promising. There’s the Duncan Jones helmed Warcraft movie which has some potential and an Assassin’s Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender which could be pretty good. And then there’s Angry Birds. Yes, someone out there saw the travesty that was the Super Mario Bros movie and said to themselves “Can we find a game that has even less of a plot than that and make that into a movie? After all, the only thing that matters is brand recognition. As long as the name gets people to put their money on the counter, who gives a fuck if it has literally any story?”

It’s that easy!.

And so here we are, nearly a quarter of a century later and we find ourselves faced with a movie based on a video game that most people spend five minutes playing at a time while sitting on the toilet. What is the plot of the game? Some pigs steal some birds eggs. The birds want them back. FIne, that’s a perfectly fine and simple setup for a quick little physics puzzle game. I’ll even go so far as to say that it could make a fairly decent basic of a plot for a movie maybe. But the problem is that by adapting that story from a video game, you suddenly find yourself restricted by the rules of that video game. This means that you have to reference things that the video game has in it. For example, one of the characters in The Angry Birds Movie is called Bomb. When he’s upset, he explodes. It’s as simple as that (or it would be if he actually exploded the many, many times he should surely be upset during this film, but I digress). Why does this happen? I dunno. This is perfectly fine as a mechanic for a video game that you’re not meant to put too much though in to. At the end of the day, if the object of the game is to knock down structures and kill pigs, does it matter if it’s an exploding bird or an actual bomb? No. No it does not. But when it’s a talking, emotive character in a movie then there should be some kind of reason? Why do some of these birds have super powers? Why do some of them not? Why did someone decide to make Angry Birds into a movie? These are all questions which probably should be answered.

There are other problems too. Early in the movie, Red, the main character, is sent to an anger management therapy where he meets the previously mentioned Bomb and the small yellow bird named Chuck. Neither of these two actually seem particularly angry. Chuck is literally just fast and Bomb’s only problem is his exploding which generally seems to happen when he is startled rather than infuriated. Why are these two in anger management? Fuck knows. Because Red has to meet them somehow I guess?

Ok, so maybe I’m thinking a little too much about what is ostensibly a children’s movie. Sure, I can understand that and perhaps you’re right. Perhaps the most importnat thing when you really get down to it is whether or not the movie is entertaining. The answer, unsurprisingly, is no. There aren’t really jokes in this movie. Just things happening and then people reacting to them often with a phrase that’s popular at the moment. You know, the kind of timeless humour that will really, really play well in a few years time. And there’s a few jokes sprinkled in for the adults throughout although they are mostly pretty weak such as a book on the pigs ship being called “Fifty Shades of Green.” That kind of thing. In fact, there were maybe two jokes that made me laugh throughout the whole film. One was the line “Something isn’t kosher with these pigs.” and the other was when Red insinuated that another bird looked like he may be a kid abducting paedophile. Hehehehe. Children’s movies. Ok, I’ll admit, Peter Dinklage might have gotten a smile out of me as the Might Eagle but I couldn’t tell you if that was because of the movie or because I thought of Tyrion.

Finally, there’s the message of the movie. Red doesn’t trust these foreigners who have shown up on his land and his ingrained mistrust of strangers is proven to be correct. It turns out that these weird people from a strange land don’t want to be friends! They just want to eat the natives children! Vote Red, 2016. Make Bird Island great again.

Again, I know I’m probably coming down too hard on a piece of shit fluff movie that’s just meant to keep kids entertained for an hour and a half. But there are movies that prove that can be done well and with thought and passion and craft. Movies like How To Train Your Dragon or Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs or, you know, most of Pixar’s catalogue. People deserve better than someone assuming that you’ll cynically pay to see a move just because they recognise the name of it. Your children deserve better than that too.

½ pint out of five for that paedophile joke. Hehehehe.

The Angry Birds Movie

Review: Zookeeper by Jamie

I’ve never been a fan of Kevin James. I don’t find him particularly funny and I dislike the fact that he promotes the idea that average, overweight guys can get ridiculously attractive wives. Admittedly, this is something that has been going on since at least The Flintstones but Kevin James is not part of the solution and therefore he remains part of the problem. Also, he’s in some terrible, terrible films. Like proper shit. So it was with some trepidation that I decided to sit down and watch his latest effort, Zookeeper. That trepidation was well placed.

It’s basically the typical story of a guy who breaks up with his girlfriend, remains obsessed with her and enlists the help of his friends in order to try and get them back including a woman who agrees to help him but eventually falls in love with him herself. What’s so special about this particular iteration of this story? Well, apart from the girl, all of the friends who try to help him out are animals at the zoo where he works! Hilarity.

The animals are portrayed by a host of celebrity voices such as Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler and others and stuff. It really doesn’t matter because all they are really there for is to basically try and get Kevin James to act like their particular species in order to attract his mate. Yes, the man joke running throughout this film is that “Hey! Animals behave differently than to what people do! Could we possibly make a film out of that and stretch it for an hour and forty minutes by slapping it around some tired romantic comedy subplot? We can! Brilliant! Might as well print our own money!” Yeah, that’s how I think the pitch for this movie basically went.

Seriously Hollywood. I’m fed up of this shit. This is basically the ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ of talking animal/romantic comedy movies. Take two tired, old film premises, stick them in a blender and shoot. How many times have we seen a film where animals can talk to people? How many times have we seen a film where a man wants one woman only to realise the close friend was the woman for him all along? I want some goddamn fucking originality. Even if you have to rehash something, you can still make it awesome. Just look at ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’. An awesome film based on a concept which had been all but ruined by Tim Burton.

I guess I could say one thing was kinda funny. The opening scene where Kevin James goes to all the trouble of trying to make his proposal as romantic as possible only to have her reject him. That did make me chuckle. Slightly.

I really can’t be bothered to talk about this pile of wank anymore. Don’t watch it. Not even if your curious. If you see the DVD in the store, throw it on the ground, stamp on it and then punch the store employee who tries to throw you out in the face whilst screaming “I’m just doing my part for the good of mankind!” To sum up, it’s bad. Half a pint out of five for that opening scene and nothing else.

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