Angry Birds is a popular mobile game by Finnish developers, Rovio, made for smartphones in 2009. The aim of the game was to fling different birds with the goal of killing the green pigs who stole the bird’s eggs. Inspired by the flash game, Crush the Castle, Angry Birds was praised for it’s colourful visuals, fun gameplay and the low price.
Since then, the popularity has grown with many sequels, spinoffs and crossovers, including Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Go! and Bad Piggies, a Chaplinesque TV show called Angry Birds Toons, a show called Angry Birds Stella aimed at young girls and even a fully voiced feature animated movie in 2016. The original game itself made it’s way onto many consoles, totaling 2 billion downloads in 2014 and since it became free, skyrocketed to 3 billion a year later.
Animated by Sony, featuring an all-star cast such as Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride, The Angry Birds Movie grossed over $349 million at the box office, and unlike the birds, wasn’t a complete flop receiving mixed reviews though more favourable than not.
The Angry Birds 4D Experience
In 2014, Thorpe Park opened up Angry Birds Land, with many rides and games based on the franchise, with a Bombs Bird ride, a Angry Birds themed restaurant and mini-games to win prizes.
The Angry Birds 4D Experience is a 15 minute long short film revolving around the games in the series, much like the TV show and the movie. However this Experience is much more than you would anticipate.
The 4D Experience flings you into the role of the Angry Bird, where you play as the character in the games. You are launched from a catapult into buildings, shot around planets and racing your bird friends, incorporating you into the games, while you are blown at with bubbles, water splashed at and wind rushing at you as if you were actually there.
4D is much like 3D, you’re given 3D glasses to wear, and it plays like a normal 3D movie, however the seat reacts and interacts with the viewer to create a 4th dimension to view the movie from.
My prior 4D movie experience was the Marvel Super Heroes at Madame Tussauds, which only placed us in the role of the audience, however the Angry Birds experience places the audience into the main role which I felt was a refreshing.
If I had the chance, I’d watch this 100 times and bring all my friends and family of all ages, from the little ones to the grandparents much like I would do to my favourite kebab shop. Though the only requirement enforced is that children must be at least 4 years old due to the 3D effects on a child’s eyesight.
And every hour, there is a chance to meet and greet with the birds Big Red and Stella from the series when the show is over for pictures and an autograph.
My one criticism was that it was quite short, however that’s also a boon since the show times were also quite strict. Perhaps two theatres with two queues could be beneficial, though I understand that the costs may be too excessive. Nevertheless, my criticisms don’t detract from the enjoyment as while you wait you can watch an episode of Angry Birds Toons, which I spent an hour doing, and it was an hour well spent as I spent the time laughing.
Aesthetics of the Franchise
Throughout the years, the designs of the birds have remained fairly consistent, geometric shapes with feathers and a beak. This design being the one used in almost the entirety of the franchise, from the first game to the most recent game, it is highly recognisable to almost everyone.
That is, until the release of The Angry Birds Movie. With a complete redesign made to look more humanlike in design, the movie aimed to add to the dialogue with the use of hand gestures and holding props. This design would be used in the games to promote the movie for a brief period while retaining the original style within the gameplay. Shown above is the loading screen before 2016 and below is the loading screen that is currently in the game. Each image depicts the same scenes yet the bottom image uses the designs used in the movie.
Below is an episode of Angry Birds Toons, featuring the standard designs of the characters which is the art direction used in every single piece of Angry Birds media barring the movie and movie promotions. Notice how the character designs are quite simplistic and easily recognisable 2D shapes. This makes the games easy to program and the cartoons easy to animate.
To compare, here is the trailer to the movie, which can be watched in full on YouTube for £7.99. The designs are high resolution 3D models with intricate details on features such as feathers, which are individually animated. giving the movie a more realistic look than the original designs.