Imagine, if you will, a 90-minute movie consisting of nothing but fat cartoon birds suicidally dive-bombing increasingly nervous pigs. No plot. Only implied character development. It has so little dialogue it may as well be film made pre-Jazz Singer. Perhaps we could get Werner Herzog to direct Angry Birds as his first animated feature. Heck, maybe we could even get him narrate it, man!
“Observe as ze enraged robin rains down upon ze home of his natural enemies. His body is his only weapon. His will is ironclad. Ze pigs cower against a fury older than man—emblematic of ze eternal empty chaos of nature . . .”
While we can all agree that the above is just another of my absinthe-fueled fantasies, it does appear that we will see an Angry Birds movie in the near future. After acquiring the Finnish animation studio, Kombo, earlier in the month, Angry Birds creators, Rovio, brought aboard some seasoned production muscle to move the film project forward. David Maisel, a veteran producer currently employed by Marvel Studios, has joined Rovio as an advisor on and possible future producer of an Angry Birds feature film.
Maisel was one of the first producers attached to the tremendously successful Marvel Studios venture. He has helped drum up capital and momentum for movies such as Iron Man, Thor, and (somewhat less successfully) The Incredible Hulk. In the coming months, Maisel is set to advise Rovio on the direction it should take with an adaptation of its world-famous handheld franchise. The producer stated, “The business model, intellectual properties and the franchise potential of Angry Birds give Rovio the most exciting prospects I have seen in the entertainment business since Marvel in 2003.”
All of this begs the question: What will an Angry Birds movie even look like? That opening paragraph may have been written with tongue squirming in cheek, but its point stands: Angry Birds is not particularly known for its heavy, content-thick narrative. Some pigs steal what belongs to some birds; the birds become incensed; the birds use slingshots to destroy said pigs’ homes and reclaim their property. There’s less plot here to work with than even the Super Mario Bros. movie, and many of us can attest to how that one turned out.
However, let me play a brief bit of Devil’s Advocate. Despite the lack of narrative thrust, the Angry Birds franchise has a lot of charm and personality. The character designs and gameplay are all but iconic across the world at this point. With clever design work and a ton of cultural cache, it’s possible that Rovio and Maisel might be able to expand the Angry Birds universe into a fully functioning animated feature. According to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed, work is already underway on a script that fleshes out the backstory of the war between greedy, thoughtless pigs and birds who have been pushed too far. There’s a certain Merry Melodies elegance to that concept that I could get behind – so long as it’s not completely overwritten.
At this point, we can only wait and see what direction David Maisel guides Rovio in their production. Will we see the minimalist absurdity of my dreams or a big, complicated epic of interspecies catapult warfare? In the meantime, we can only pull out our handhelds and try for another star on that one level (you know which one) while we imagine the dialogue in our heads.
Does the possibility of enraged, weaponized birds on the big screen make you giddy? Are you sure that Angry Birds will only work as a video game? Do you have an Angry Birds fan script hidden in a bottom drawer? Tell us all about it in the comments!