Cast (voices): Jason Sudeikis, Sean Penn, Danny McBride, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage
Directors: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
Who would have thought a popular smartphone game, created by a Finnish company could be transformed into an exaltation of good parenting, self-control, self-sacrifice and saving people? Anger management provides the handle for the narrative about a short-fused, feathered flightless bird aptly named Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who saves an entire community of avian islanders even as he learns salutary lessons about staying cool.
A hot tempered singleton, sans family or friends, Red lives up to his name by losing his cool and venting spleen on scarecrows, and smashing birthday cake into the face of a client, before being hauled up before a judge (Keegan-Michael Key), who he promptly ridicules and is sent off for anger management therapy.
And what a wonderful remedial class it is, packed with art, poetry and meditation taught by the charming Stella (Kate McKinnon). Anyway, under Stella’s tutelage, Red connects with similarly afflicted classmates Bomb (Danny McBride), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Terence (Sean Penn).
But anger keeps snapping at Red’s heels, when his seaside home is damaged by a ship ferrying strange visitors: green pigs, who are instantly relatable as real life dodgy firms which steal and economic migrants who lie. The ship’s captain Leonard (Bill Hader) dangles fun and prosperity with gadgets like a giant slingshot whose dastard potential, are unable to fathom by the villagers.
Exploring the innards of the ship, after the pigs show scant respect for his home, Red discovers far too many pigs are being shipped onto the island than their leaders claimed, in other words, a nautical Trojan Horse has berthed on the island. However, the community disregards his warnings about the pigs’ nefarious agenda and welcomes the newcomers. Lest we forget, these are the same birdbrains who shunned Red because of his single status. Red and classmates proceed to the island’s mountain abode of the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) who pompously tells them to learn from his wisdom and save themselves. Do they? No prizes for guessing, these are warrior birds waging a just war after all.
The Angry Birds movie is like the smartphone app, comical and a riot of colour. The animation is slick and the baby birds adorable. It may run on puns, but not profundity like some other toons I can think of, but its concerns are absolutely relatable in a time when corporate greed never mind unfettered access may compromise freedoms and endanger homeland security.