Review: 'Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe; Behind the Scenes of a Phenomenon', by Danny Graydon
I have no interest in video games. But I could not help hearing about Angry Birds, created in 2009 by Rovio Entertainment in Espoo, Finland. They seemed to be everywhere in the last couple of years; on billboards, in Coca-Cola and Cheetos advertising, in political cartoons, in news articles that UK Prime Minister David Cameron and famous author Salman Rushdie are fans, and that Angry Birds theme parks have opened or are under construction in places as far afield as Finland and Malaysia. Finally, animated Angry Birds episodes have appeared on TV and YouTube (I watched those), and theatrical features in both stop-motion and CGI animation are in development.
Insight Editions is one of the publishers specializing in lavish full-color coffee-table books about CGI features. It has published books (which I have reviewed for Animation World Network) on the art of Rango, Madagascar 3, Puss in Boots, and Rise of the Guardians, among others. It has done a similar de luxe presentation here; not only on the video games and the merchandising and so on, but on the individual characters – the Angry Birds (Red, Chuck, Terence, Matilda, Bomb, Bubbles, Jim, Jake, and Jay, Stella, etc.); their adversaries, the Bad Piggies (King Pig, Chief Pig, and their many minions); and the other supporting birds (Mighty Eagle, Freddie Bird, Hal the toucan, and others.
Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe is an oversized 11.3” X 10.3”, 3.4-lb. book. Each illustration – the concept images, the trademark artwork, the poster art, the model sheets, the location sketches, the background and animation art – is credited to its artist. There are profiles of each of the creators; Jaakko Iisalo who created the original concept, lead character designer Miguel Moreno, creative director Lauri Konttori, art director Jean-Michel Boesch, senior graphic designer Ossi Pirkonen, and others. In addition to the large pages of art, there are many extras such as foldouts, a tipped-in postcard packet, a sketchbook, sheets of mini-poster stickers, a large poster, and more. The book begins with presentations of the characters in general, and then chapters on individual video games or animated TV episodes like “Ham’o’Ween”, “Angry Birds Rio” (a pastiche of Blue Sky’s CGI feature “Rio”), “Ham ‘Em High”, and “Angry Birds Space” (on which Rovio collaborated with NASA).
If you want to know anything about Angry Birds, it is probably here. Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe is not just a book about a popular video game; it is all about an anthropomorphic bird series and its characters. Furry fans will consider it $50.00 well spent.