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The Angry Birds Movie: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Review

The Angry Birds Movie (2016) movie poster The Angry Birds Movie

Theatrical Release: May 20, 2016 / Running Time: 108 Minutes / Rating: PG

Directors: Fergal Reilly, Clay Kaytis / Writer: Jon Vitti

Voice Cast: Jason Sudeikis (Red), Josh Gad (Chuck), Danny McBride (Bomb), Maya Rudolph (Matilda), Bill Hader (Leonard), Peter Dinklage (Mighty Eagle), Sean Penn (Terence), Keegan-Michael Key (Judge Peckinpah), Kate McKinnon (Stella, Eva the Birthday Mom), Tony Hale (Ross, Cyrus, Mime), Hannibal Buress (Edward the Birthday Dad), Ike Barinholtz (Tiny), Tituss Burgess (Photog), Ian Hecox (Bubbles), Anthony Padilla (Hal), Jillian Bell (Helene the Lunch Mom, Yoga Instructor), Billy Eichner (Chief Pig, Phillip), Danielle Brooks (Olive Blue, Monica the Crossing Guard), Blake Shelton (Earl Pig), Charli XCX (Willow)

Buy The Angry Birds Movie from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital DVD Instant Video

Earlier this decade, Angry Birds became one of the most popular games of the smart phone era, eventually drawing more than 3 billion free downloads. That's 3 billion! The world population currently stands at 7.4 billion. The app became a Finnish cartoon series in 2013. And this year, seemingly better late than never, Sony and original game creator Rovio Animation gave us The Angry Birds Movie, a three-dimensional computer animated feature film on the order of other marquee family attractions though with a budget significantly beneath Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks levels.

A birthday party delivery gone awry gets the thickly-eyebrowed Red sentenced to anger management sessions in "The Angry Birds Movie."

The film opens with our thickly-eyebrowed protagonist bird Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) rushing to show up at a child's birthday party. He's late and the cake he carries is less than presentable,
but the guff the family gives him prompts Red to unleash the rage for which he's known. Naturally, the incident gets Red sentenced to anger management therapy, a gathering that places him alongside the restless yellow goofball Chuck (Josh Gad), the explosive black Bomb (Danny McBride) and silent giant Terence (Sean Penn).

One day, Red sees his house destroyed by a group of green pigs from Piggy Island. Turns out these porcine voyagers are out to steal the hatchling-holding eggs of Bird Island. They won't succeed if Red and company have their way. Of course, the game's design of hurling balled-up birds at green pigs and other obstacles comes to fruition in the film's climax.

Angry Birds feels a tad behind the animation curve. This is the kind of movie that we got in abundance in 2006, the year when CGI family comedies went from a somewhat novel guaranteed box office success to prevalent staple that could hit or miss commercially. The medium's boom that year gave us such films as Over the Hedge, Barnyard, and Open Season as well as even more quickly forgotten works like Arthur and the Invisibles, The Ant Bully, and Everyone's Hero. Diverting without surprising and showing not even the slightest interest in advancing the craft, Angry Birds would have fit in either of those classes back then.

Green pigs of Piggy Island have a secret agenda while visiting Bird Island.

Grossing a little over $100 million domestically and nearly $350 M worldwide, Angry Birds qualifies as an above-average North American performer and genuine international hit on a production budget of $73 M. Critics weren't crazy about the film. Nor were moviegoers, who have given a most mediocre user rating slightly above 6.0 on IMDb.

Big on pig puns and sight gags, Angry Birds has some witty moments, but it's in an altogether different league than the likes of Zootopia
and Finding Dory, the current Best Animated Feature Oscar frontrunners that both thus far deserve to warrant some Best Picture consideration but won't. Like the more successful works of Sony Pictures Animation (the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania movies), which was not involved here, Angry Birds just wants to make viewers of most age groups smile. It has modest success at realizing that goal without ever stretching creative muscles or aiming for any real sophistication or artistry. It's The Angry Birds Movie; there's only so much you can do while upholding the premise of the basic drag and toss game.

This week, Sony released Angry Birds to stores in a DVD, a 4K Ultra HD with Blu-ray 3D, and, this review's subject, a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital combo pack.

The Angry Birds Movie: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.85:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English); 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Portuguese); Dolby Digital 5. 1 (Descriptive Video Service, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Korean, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French);
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, C, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese
Not Closed Captioned; Most Extras Subtitled
Release Date: August 16, 2016 / Suggested Retail Price: $38.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50 & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($30.99 SRP), 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital ($45.99 SRP)
and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Angry Birds Movie is every bit as colorful as you expect it to be. The Blu-ray's 1.85:1 transfer is agreeably vibrant, sharp and detailed. The 7.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack also represents mid-2010s technology at its most sophisticated. You'll really have to have a huge screen and close viewing distance to feel compelled to go with the 4K Ultra HD edition.

The Angry Birds hatchlings wish you a happy Easter in this short. Mighty Eagle is a rock star and Chuck is a starstruck fan in this deleted scene.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's all-HD extras begin with four highly-touted Hatchling shorts (9:38) that play automatically after the film concludes. These center on the adorable young birds glimpsed at in the film.

In "The Early Hatchling Catches the Worm" (2:05), one young'un does everything he can to hold on to his worm breakfast. "An Easter Message from the Hatchings of The Angry Birds Movie" (1:19)
lives up to its title with a talk of Easter. "A Mother's Day Message from the Hatchlings of The Angry Birds Movie" (0:59) is much in the same vein. "Season Greetings from the Hatchlings of The Angry Birds Movie" (1:02) finds the birds singing Christmas carols in the snow.

The Hatchlings! section rounds out with the short featurette "Meet the Hatchlings" (4:11), which discusses the significance of eggs and the young ones they hold in the film.

"Angry Birds Action!: How to Sync" (1:08) promotes a game you can play alongside the movie playback. I couldn't tell you how good it is.

A deleted scenes section holds six cut sequences (6:33) whose loss is not explained. They're fully animated, making their deletion kind of surprising. They include a pigs' whoopee cushion gag and the Mighty Eagle as a rock star.

A blonde cowgirl in a green pig snout dances along with animated characters to Blake Shelton's end credits theme. Bubbles and Hal question whether they are really angry birds in this Flash-animated short.

"Dance Along with the Birds and Pigs" (3:35) finds a cowgirl with a green pig snout shaking her boots to Blake Shelton's end credits song "Friends" amidst characters and clips.

"Crafty Birds" (4:45) shows you how to make Angry Birds with some fairly standard materials. With editing and film clips, it injects some welcome humor to this crafts tutorial.

"Creating the Real World of Angry Birds" (8:29) is the set's general making-of featurette. In between bookmarking vocal introduction and sign-off by Jason Sudeikis and Josh Gad, the film's crew members discuss the look of the film and creation of elements.

"Bubbles and Hal" (1:35) is a little Flash-animated short in which two castaway birds question their "angry birds" label.

Jason Sudeikis' recording studio delivery is compared to Red's performance in the movie in "Meet the Birds." Blake Shelton is entertained by the sight of a hatchling fogging up the camera in his "Friends" music video.

"Meet the Birds" (10:26) lets animators and voice actors discuss the film's characters from personality to design and how they have evolved from the game.

"Meet the Pigs" (5:05) applies similar treatment to the film's villain class.

The music video for Blake Shelton's "Friends" (3:04) finds the salt and pepper bearded country crooner recording the song in a cabin sound studio with his band while birds from the film look on and float by.

Composer Heitor Pereira has more thoughts on his score than you might care to hear. Birds be angry and crazy on the Angry Birds Movie DVD and Blu-ray main menus.

"Making Music with Composer Heitor Pereira" (10:31) lets the lushly-haired composer discuss in detail six of his musical themes
from the movie. His remarks are complemented by footage of the orchestra and the scenes from the movie with dialogue and effects removed.

Three substantial Photo Galleries are offered: Characters (51 stills), Piggy Island (23 stills), and Bird Island (25 stills). Each showcases colorful concept art.

Sony rarely includes the featured presentation's trailer for movies outside the Sony Pictures Classics division, but Angry Birds Movie does get three in-theater policy trailers (2:58) featuring the characters that were used to promote the movie and moviegoing.

"Symphony Mode" lets you watch the movie without dialogue or effects, just music. What an unlikely title to get the long-uncommon isolated score treatment!

Finally, a Previews section holds ads for "Angry Birds Toons: Season 03, Volume 01", Surf's Up 2: Wave Mania, Open Season: Scared Silly, and Hotel Transylvania 2. Oddly none of these play at disc insertion.

The DVD includes one of the six deleted scenes, the Angry Birds Action! promo, Blake Shelton's music video, "Making Music with Composer Heitor Pereira", photo galleries, in-theater policy trailers, previews, and the Symphony Mode.

The animated menu features character gags against a white screen. The Blu-ray both supports bookmarking and lets you resume playback.

The full-color Blu-ray and predominantly silver DVD share a side-snapped keepcase that is topped by an extensively embossed slipcover. A booklet provides coupons, ads, and directions to download the Angry Birds Action! game that you can sync with the film. There's also a code for your Digital HD with UltraViolet and Sony Rewards points and another to get you another Sony movie for $4.99 shipped.

You knew it would come to this eventually: birds are slung shot at the pigs who have stolen their eggs in the climax of "The Angry Birds Movie."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Angry Birds Movie is very likely to end up in the middle of my inevitable 2016 movie rankings. This phone game-inspired comedy lacks the ambition and imagination of the best animated films, but still has enough wit to keep you moderately entertained throughout. Even with the substantial bonus material assembled here, it warrants a rental, not a purchase.

Buy The Angry Birds Movie from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital / DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed August 18, 2016.



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