Director: Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly (2016)
After a history of plundering plays, books, games and toys for inspiration, Hollywood has gone the whole hog and made a film based on a smartphone app.
And though The Lego Movie (2014) is a great example of how unpromising material can inspire awesome cinema, this animated effort featuring birds fighting pigs is a bird-brained bore.
It’s bright, colourful, busy and noisy but far less fun than the game ever was.
Scenes eke out their jokes with violent slapstick for the little ones and sneering sarcasm for the teens. Plus there’s snot, wee, a multitude of wriggling bums and a bizarre singing cowboy sequence.
Jason Sudeikis voices the charmless Red, a lonely bird who gets angry when his feathers are ruffled.
He lives in a colony of cute flightless birds on a tropical island.
After a disastrous attempt at delivering a birthday cake, Red is sent to anger management class.
Because kids always find therapy jokes funny.
One day a steampunk pirate ship arrives with a crew of green pigs offering the trotter of friendship.
Red is given the bird by his compatriots when he questions the pigs motives.
He is proved right when the pigs kidnap the islander’s precious unhatched eggs. The swines.
So Red must come up with a plan and save the eggs’ bacon, without making a pigs ear of it and before their goose is cooked.
The soft boiled script relies heavily on crashing action and a scrambled mix of rap, rock and disco to capture the pointless freneticism of playing the game, but the tone is aggressive point scoring rather than giddy silliness.
And it all feels underdeveloped, presumably a consequence of trying to rush the movie into cinemas before everyone moves onto the next must-have gaming app. Oh dear.
Josh Gad and Danny McBride voice Chuck and Bomb. The former has super speed and the latter explodes.
Maya Rudolph irritates as Matilda the hippy psychologist and Sean Penn growls as a menacing over sized bird involved in a weird romantic subplot.
These pigging awful birds can flock off.