THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Fergal Reilly, Clay Kaytis, 2016)
"The Angry Birds Movie" is a film that obviously took careful planning and execution. Sure, it just primarily aims to elicit laughs and provide pure escapism, but at its core is a well-constructed world inhabited by lovable characters, each with their own unique characteristics.
Fans of the mobile game will delight in how much the film's second half captures the joy and nostalgia of destroying buildings and blowing up pigs. When the birds begin flying into the pigs' buildings to recover the stolen eggs, everything is endless joy.
The film bears resemblance with the Aesop fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," with Red (Jason Sudeikis) as the boy, or rather, the bird. Red is a troublemaker; he gets angry real quick, and; most of the other characters hate his follies. But Red is a sympathetic character. Despite being hugely known as a never-do-well, he is also an outcast and a loner. His house is planted outside the community. But what Red lacks in charm or responsibility, he makes up for boldness.
Which is why when the invading pigs arrived dressed as friendly immigrants, no one was skeptical, except Red. Red's cynicism and skepticism became his strength when the community needed help. He quickly became the ringleader, from being a mere laughingstock.
Despite "The Angry Birds Movie" being an animated comedy, it also hints at subtexts of colonialism and xenocentrism, maybe even racial segregation. I could be overthinking the film, but I strongly believe that beneath the humor and the spectacle, it carries a rather strong message to respect people's differences and cultures. It subconsciously tells children to stand up for what they believe in, and to learn the value of cooperation in achieving endeavors. And yes, control your anger.
A strong lineup of voice actors helps make the film a showcase of remarkable talent, as comics Josh Gad, Danny McBride and even SNL's Kate McKinnon serve one wonder after another.
I am seriously in the belief that "The Angry Birds Movie" was created for adults to enjoy, more than children. Kids will still love the animation and the hijinks, and it's still a family film, but all the other pop culture references (hello, Stanley Kubrick!) as well as the biting sarcasm is unmistakably for grown-ups.