Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2008)
Birdemic

Nomination Year: 2012
SYNOPSIS:  Environmentally conscious = good. Money grubbing capitalism = bad. Birds go batshit crazy and randomly try to kill everyone -- until they don't. Sorry I spoiled it for you there, but this is one of those movies which fall smack dab into experienced Smithee film watching territory, and I didn't want to draw in any neophytes accidentally.

Birdemic is not a good movie. It is an entertaining movie for the few definitions of entertaining which include "clunky writing," "poor acting," "abysmal CGI," "Heavy handed messages," and "Giant plot hole-ish-ness."

qqq Let's talk GCI first. The scene that first grabbed Kevin's attention was one where our heroes are in a hotel when the birds go crazy and start attacking everyone (OK, not ALL "the birds" but just the turkey vultures and eagles because apparently the film maker could only afford two bird models. Let's gloss over the fact that of all the wild birds in the Silicon Valley area, only the turkey vultures and eagles are pissed enough to go after humans and gas stations). Our hero and his lady must run from the room to the van of a randomly-met other couple while avoiding the birds! Which are attacking! SCREE! SCREE! [See "Worst Special Effect" clip for further details]

It's not just the one scene, either. And that was just the "special" effects. This whole movie felt like it was kludged together by some arcane gaming system rules which never really worked in the first place. 'You are creating a film. You have to have a central idea and a scene from each of the hidden events piles before you. Now flip over your tiles and go.' Birdemic got 'Movie Theater,' 'Tourist Trap,' and 'Beach,' and by golly, the film had a movie theater scene ("That was a good movie, An Inconvenient Truth"), a tourist trap scene (with a double-decker bus, no less) and a beach scene (where everyone stops for a picnic during bird-ageddon). The overarching message came through loud and clear (like a sledge hammer to the face) but the connecting bits felt pieced together and wedged in.

Icing the cake of badness is the dialogue and acting. I can't tell if the actors are bad or if they were a solidly C cast poorly directed and given badly written dialogue (the above Inconvenient Truth quote is pulled directly from the movie) because...wow. [My vote is for the solid C. --Kevin] Perhaps the arcane movie making gaming system has a trite line checklist built into it, that would account for some of the bad.

But if you want to puzzle this out yourself, you can now own it on Blu-Ray and see it all in pretty, pretty hi-def bad.

Smithee Award Winner! Deus Ex Machina

You kind of expect the Dog from Duck Hunt to jump up and giggle at some point.

"WHAT?!"

Nrrrrroowwww*KABOOM*!
So, the birds ... dive-bomb gas stations ... making airplane crash noises ... and exploding on contact. Because? Because They Just Do.

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Special Effect

The scene plays out like somebody firing up a bird-modded Alien Invaders superimposed over four actors running about having spasmodic fits and wildly brandishing coat hangers. Oh, and of course SCREE! SCREE! It's not just the one scene either, who knew that turkey vultures and eagles formed two neat attack formation rows and only had two wing positions (up, down, up, down) while attacking?

Crummiest Ending

Good-bye, Cru-el Birds!
The birds stop attacking. Just because. Rod and Nathalie and some random kids that they found lying around under a van all get out and wander down to the ocean, and watch the birds fly away.
and watch the birds fly away.
and watch the birds fly away.
and watch the....

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Acting

Alan Bagh is Rod.
Rod and Nathalie are having a date at a restaurant. Just normal conversation at the mercy of a script written by a non-native English speaker. But they're both at the mercy of the same script, and where Nathalie comes across as a woman who has trouble with English, Rod is clearly a wooden robot with a speaking problem.

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Picture

Silicon Valley area turkey vultures and eagles are not to be trifled with; they get a claw, claw, bite, acid spit attack with a special one time use Kamikaze incendiary attack. No wing buffet though, since they only fly up and down and I understand wing buffet needs a follow through.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Alan Bagh  
Whitney Moore  
Rick Camp  
Director Claim to Fame
James Nguyen Has a soft spot for "romantic thrillers" -- like Birdemic

Jeannette Quirk

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© 2011-2014 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.