The first trailer for The Angry Birds Movie–which is coming out in the year 2016 and not the year 2010–debuted online last night, and the prognosis is grim. It should probably be neither surprising nor disappointing, but there’s a reason it kinda is: The Lego Movie.
We all laughed years ago when Warner Brothers announced plans for a Lego movie. Not since Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree debacle had a piece of intellectual property seemed less destined for film adaptation greatness. But then when the finished product premiered in 2014, we all laughed again, and not because of performative schadenfreude. Through a combination of technical wizardry, sharp voice casting, and boundless creative energy, the film turned out to be a funny, fast-paced surprise smash. It was definitely more than a toy commercial, to say the least. The Angry Birds Movie, which was first announced in late 2012, suddenly had a formidable act to follow in justifying its existence.
Judging from the first trailer, however, it looks about as good as one might have reasonably expected had The Lego Movie never happened.
Like its predecessor, The Angry Birds Movie has a ton of powerhouse comedic talent in its voice cast. Danny McBride, Hannibal Buress, Kate McKinnon, and Maya Rudolph are just a few of them. But pared down to just their vocal abilities, these undeniably funny people are only permitted to be as funny as the script allows. The writer of The Angry Birds Movie is Jon Vitti, who is best known for two projects: The Simpsons and Alvin and The Chipmunks. Guess which one this movie more closely resembles.
The first half of the trailer is devoted to establishing that Jason Sudeikis’s bushy eyebrowed bird Red is, in fact, angry. Every time this idea is iterated, it’s like an enormous sign post pointing toward the video game on your phone six years ago. Slingshotting and green pigs are each introduced as though the viewer will be gratified to finally get a backstory on these elements of the mythology. Rather than establish a world for these familiar elements to thrive in, as The Lego Movie masterfully did, this movie seems content to provide an origin story nobody asked for.
The comedic high point of the trailer is when a couple of the birds realize they’ve just accidentally ingested a bunch of eagle-pee.
I know just how they feel.