Lee watched The Angry Birds Movie, so you don’t have to.
There are a lot of contextual angles that make “The Angry Birds Movie” troubling. A desperate marketing ploy from a dead-in-the-water mobile phone game franchise that, at one point, seemed like it owned all the money in the world and yet somehow wasn’t satisfied; for one. A bloated attempt to create a universe for a franchise that never had nor needed one, for another. A star-studded animation, the kind that usually means they needed the names more than the voice talent, unseen in such depths of shamelessness since Dreamwork’s “Shark Tale”; a third. All of these were your warning signs, those of you aware of its existence in 2016.
After the context fades, however, we are still left with a movie. A sea of bright red DVD covers line a supermarket bargain bin. You have a child, or are looking after a child regularly, or are a child; the bright colours lure you into considering whether this alien property might be worth the gamble of whatever change you have. The decision made at this point must always be a resolute “no”.
Unless you like your animated movies to be choppily-pasted together scenes of a reprehensible asshole snarkily snarking over everything that comes into view until such a point where the screenwriter(s?) decides that, “wait a second; this guy is supposed to be the hero right?” and tosses him into an entirely different movie where, after fifty minutes of following this prick, we inexplicably must see the good in him.
Well, maybe you’re thinking, “hey; I like snark. I like sarcasm, and I like pointing and laughing at all the stupid stuff stupid people think is good. Maybe this is actually for me.” That’s not what this movie is about; it’s not so clear cut. It doesn’t try to make coherent sense of what its being snarky about, it’s just snarky for snarkiness sake. Society can be a drag; we get it. Everyone gets it. Pointing at it and saying “hey, look how stupid society looks right now” isn’t funny unless it’s about something specific.
The movie hastily tries to justify how much of an asshole its main character is by showing him getting picked on in school, or very quickly and very quietly making it known that he is an outcast who has been forced to live outside the main village. And for what? Big eyebrows. The character has big eyebrows.
Yes, people draw more than reasonable attention to those who have physical differences. And yes, some people act out when stigmatised in this way. But if you were to say to a kid “that guy acts like a prick to everybody because he was picked on”, would the sentiment the child walks away with not be “well, if people pick on me, I should be an asshole,” right? And then, if that were true, who would be left? Everyone gets picked on for something, by someone, at some time or another; and it’s not exclusively kids. We should all be assholes, right?
The movie makes a step in that direction, by having the cynic play the “only sane man” and convincing everyone his way of seeing things is the only way to get things done for the third act. And they succeed at doing what the plot wants them to do by following his direction. These would be somewhat admirable things had the film just reeled in a few times more so we didn’t absolutely hate the “sane man” by the time he tries to make a difference.
Not that he actually changes in anyway. There’s no arc. Actually, that’s not specifically true: there’s a terrible message in the guise of an arc. After all is said and done, the cynic returns to his life as an outcast, and prepares to settle into the old routines, when suddenly the entire village publicly recognises him for his good deeds. Finally accepted, he warms to his friends for the first time and invites them into his house, and therein, his life.
So all a cynic needs is a pat on the back, a kind gesture and the acceptance of everyone they know and they’ll finally come around? To assume that people work this way and stop pulling against society’s rules is one outrageous idea, but for it to be the exact same thing the main character has been pulling against the entire movie just in a difference scene is insulting to anyone who thought, for the sake of fairness, they’d commit their brain to remembering some of the events that transpire in this rubbish.
That’s on me for trying though. Save yourself the effort and watch “The Lego Movie” again.
Minor (by which I mean “not good enough in the least to recommend this movie”) saving graces include the pool of wisdom scene, which was gross and horrible but did make me laugh, and the idea that Sean Penn sat in a booth and made grunting noises for half an hour for his part. Fine, and I kind of liked the pigs.
Condemning grace: worst use of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” of all time.