Hollywood hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to turning video games into movies, but that hasn’t slowed down the urge to try. Along with Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft, both planned for later this year, any number of iconic gaming series remain in development to one degree or another, from revivals of Mortal Kombat to rumblings that Nintendo might finally be ready to give Mario and company another shot at big-screen glory. But thus far, most game-to-film adaptations have stayed comfortably within the realm of PC and console titles, despite the world of mobile gaming becoming increasingly more culturally ubiquitous than both.
That all changes on May 20, when The Angry Birds Movie becomes the first full-length animated feature film based on a mobile game to hit theaters. A new trailer for the film has now debuted, offering audiences a glimpse at the origin of the titular avian heroes’ grumpy disposition.
The number one question following Angry Birds since the film was first announced was how, exactly, a feature film was going to get a full length story out of a game series that has typically featured a single endlessly-varied scenario and very little in the way of a storyline — especially since even previous films based on plot-heavy games like Resident Evil and Final Fantasy have come up lacking. Thanks to the new trailer, we now have some idea of where the filmmakers have taken the narrative of Red (Jason Sudekis) and his friends battling enemy pigs (Bill Hader) beyond the original game setup of attempting to retrieve stolen eggs.
From the trailer, we learn that Red has developed his simmering rage-control issues and jaded cynicism from a lifetime of having been bullied by the other flightless birds on an isolated tropical island, which has only served to further isolate him among similarly rejected outcasts from their otherwise upbeat community. When an invading army of pigs arrive, Red appears to be the only one who suspects their “guests” might have sinister designs on the birds’ eggs and sets out on a quest to find the legendary hero Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) to help thwart them. Josh Gad, Kate McKinnon, Keegan-Michael Key, Danny McBride, and Maya Rudolph also star.
Vague allusions to colonial exploitation are certainly a novel place to take the story of mobile gamers’ most beloved bird-flinging distraction, though it remains to be seen whether making Angry Birds’ story longer and (slightly) more complex will keep audiences as fixated on the film as millions of players have become on the game. On the other hand, whereas many previous video game adaptations have had to make do with low budgets and filmmakers of dubious reputation, The Angry Birds Movie received a reported $80 million budget from Sony and will be directed by Disney Animation veteran and animation podcaster Clay Kaytis (Tangled, Bolt) and Fergal Reilly, a story-artist on such films as The Iron Giant, Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The pair will be working from a script by former Simpsons writer Jon Vitti.
If successful, the film could bode well for the success of other planned adaptations of games from outside traditional sources. A live-action film based on Five Nights At Freddy’s, the popular series of downloadable horror games, is also currently in production.
The Angry Birds Movie hit theaters on May 20, 2016.
Source: Sony Pictures