How Sony Turned Me Into An Angry Bird For One Afternoon

As a man with a relatively calm demeanour and a depressingly small wingspan, the opportunity to turn into an Angry Bird for an afternoon ahead of Sony’s release of The Angry Birds Movie this Friday was one that I immediately jumped at. Rather than simply tarring and feathering me like the victim of a sorority prank and then making me bounce on a trampoline until I became accustomed to the sky, Sony instead made the slightly more sensibly decision to send me up in a helicopter for a quick spin around New York City.

And, as you probably already guessed, the results were so genuinely spectacular that I will now forever be envious of any bird that calls the Big Apple their home. Except for that poor bastard Big Bird, who has to walk around like the rest of us chumps.

Rather than pushing the promotional exploits of Jason Sudeikis, who plays Red in The Angry Birds Movie, to the limit or forcing someone to wear a giant Angry Birds costume against their will, trained pilot Christi Brown was given the duty of taking us into the midst of the Manhattan skyline in a pimped out ride that had been proudly emblazoned with both a picture of Red and The Angry Birds Movie logo.

With everything (and I do mean everything) firmly strapped into a safety harness, and after asking a disconcerting amount of questions regarding the vomiting protocol, we were off into the sky. Obviously, as soon as we'd left terra firma, I immediately began to hum the Ride Of The Valkyries to myself, but resisted the urge to ask my fellow passengers if they liked the smell of napalm in the morning. Our first port of call was Downtown Manhattan, where I got to see One World Trade Center and all of its skyscraper minions in their full glory.

After Christi refused my request to whizz across the Atlantic so I could try and impress everyone I ever went to school with back home in England, she then took us right above the Statue Of Liberty, which was looking oh so pretty. I also managed to get a shot of Downtown Manhattan, the Statue Of Liberty, and Ellis Island all standing alongside each other. Unfortunately New Jersey snuck in there, too, which immediately ruined the shot. Classic Jersey.

With Downtown done, we headed up the East River to Midtown. By this point, my humming exploits had moved onto R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly from Space Jam, which I’d just about finished when I looked up to see myself eye-to-eye with the Empire State Building. Immediately in awe, and with my feet hanging out of the side of the helicopter, I suddenly felt like Agents Johnson and Johnson from Die Hard. Just with a camera instead of a rifle, and minus the intent to sacrifice hostages.

We were then taken up even higher for a scintillating, jaw-dropping view of Central Park that left me as close to Zen as I ever expect to be.

Not content with almost reducing a borderline grown man to tears at over 3,000 feet, the helicopter then spun around to give us a final, full view of a resplendent Midtown and Downtown Manhattan as it shimmered in the mid-afternoon glow. It’s a sight that only Escape From New York’s Snake Plissken on his glider has topped. But he just had the one eye, so I had a better perspective.

After selfishly rejecting my request to just drop me off on my Brooklyn rooftop, we then set off back to home base to put the Angry Bird to bed. Unfortunately, because of all my eye-gasms, I forgot to ask anyone about the potential for a Flappy Bird and Angry Birds crossover. I suppose I’ll just have to wait until next time.

The Angry Birds Movie will be in cinemas across the USA starting on Friday. And a huge thanks to everyone at FlyNYON for the experience. Even though they've forever ruined walking in Manhattan for me, it was totally worth it.

Gregory Wakeman