Adapting video games into other media is something of a struggle at the best of times. Occasionally you’ll have mild success – see the Halo franchise – and spectacular failure – Silent Hill, anyone? But one of the things that both of these had that make them ripe for adaptation, failures or no, is an actual narrative to adapt.
Angry Birds has no such troublesome things as ‘story’ or ‘pacing’ – it’s pretty much a one-note joke that, were it not for fiendishly addictive gameplay, would get old rather fast. Attempting to translate this into a format that fundamentally needs to be supported by a narrative is an… odd decision, at best, and flat out insane at its worst. But hey, sometimes crazy works, so we’ve got to give it a chance, right?
Unfortunately, they end up splitting the book down into three vignettes, and this serves to give the already ADD-afflicted franchise a distinct lack of focus. It could’ve been infinitely more interesting if they’d actually attempted to get some form of continuous story-telling going – Adventure Time, as told by globular, tiny-winged projectile avians could’ve been an unexpected treat. Instead, we’re ‘treated’ to just three jokes – one per sub-story – drawn ridiculously thin across 26 pages. Bomb Bird explodes when he hiccups! Pigs are dumb! Propaganda can be hilarious, especially when puns are involved! (Eh…what?)
Even if we assume that I’m somewhat outside the target audience, the problem would be that it’s not exactly clear who the target audience is. The writing varies between overly verbose, and far too simplistic when delivering the punchlines. Were I twelve or less, I don’t imagine I’d be able to concentrate for long enough through the wordy set-ups to appreciate the punchlines aimed squarely at me, and were I a teenager, I’d just be rolling my eyes at them as they fall flat. As an adult, I think I may have resorted into a state of mild existential dread…
If there is a saving grace, the art does manage to expertly capture the vibe of games – dubious achievement of the week, I guess.
Maybe I’m just a humourless old curmudgeon, but comics do have the ability to make me laugh out loud – shocker, I know – and this simply didn’t manage it once. If your wee’uns are Angry Birds obsessed, this might hold their attention for a few minutes. But honestly, you’re better off handing them whichever device you have the game on.
The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24