People often scratch their heads whenever a Hollywood studio announces that it is developing a movie based on a popular IP with little to no built-in story – be it an amusement park ride (Pirates of the Caribbean) or board game (Battleship) – but the attraction makes sense. Why? Because it both lets studios cash-in on the brand name appeal and allows for more flexibility in terms of the narrative content (compared to, say, comic book or video game adaptations) – without having to worry about the potential for blowback among fans of the original property, that is.
That’s a round-about way of saying: of course, Hollywood is making an Angry Birds movie, even though the original game series (initially released for the Apple iOS, but now available for multiple consoles) has little to no inherent plot. As such, the main point of interest right now is who’s involved behind the (digital) camera on the animated feature, since that should offer a decent hint at the quality of the final movie product (passing over what’s the actual story and/or characters).
Rovio Entertainment has announced that Angry Birds – a 3D CGI-animated feature (lest you think the film will be live-action) – is going to be directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly. The former of the two animation veterans has worked for Disney for nearly two decades now, having moved up from animator on 2D titles like Mulan and Tarzan to animation supervisor on more recent Mouse House flicks like Bolt, Tangled and this year’s animated fairy tale-inspired release, Frozen (in addition, he designed the end credits for Wreck-It Ralph).
Similarly, Reilly has been a storyboard artist since the mid-1990s, having worked in areas ranging from traditional 2D animation (The Iron Giant) to the superhero/comic book genre (Spider-Man 2) and recent computer-animated fare like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania (note: he also worked on The Smurfs but, hey, nobody’s perfect). It’s also worth mentioning that both Kaytis and Reilly will be making their feature-length directorial debuts on Angry Birds.
In other words, Angry Birds will probably look and feel like your average computer-animated feature released nowadays. Though, it’s always possible that Kaytis and Reilly will infuse the proceedings with the sort of frenzied energy that has allowed films like Hotel Transylvania to stand out from the rest of the crowd (in ways good and not-so-good, perhaps).
The larger question looming over the Angry Birds movies’s head concerns what to expect from screenwriter Jon Vitti, whose body of work ranges from more adult-oriented humor and satirical comedy (The Simpsons Movie, the King of the Hill TV show) to entertainment aimed more squarely at the juice box crowd – albeit, with adult irony thrown in for good measure (the first two live-action/CGI Alvin & the Chipmunks movies).
Animation filmmakers like Phil Lord and Chris Miller have previously managed to offer a healthy balance between those two extremes; specifically, on the giddy and wry Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, in addition to the upcoming The Lego Movie (judging by the trailer, anyway). Might there be some hope yet that Angry Birds will prove to be a worthwhile addition to the growing pile of movies based on IPs that don’t seem like obvious fits to make the jump to cinematic form?
Be sure and let us know your own thoughts and feelings about how the Angry Birds movie is shaping up.
Angry Birds opens in theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Source: Rovio Entertainment
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