Is the angry birds movie a cute extension of a popular game designed to sell more products? Is it another example of Hollywood’s lack of imagination? Or is it in fact a scathing critique of the global financial crisis? Pitting the innocent birds against the exploitative capitalist masters, the pigs (capitalist pigs). The birds live in harmony until the pigs introduce them to consumerism and their society is soon ruined.
But the birds prove an example to us all, they fight back, literally tearing down the towers of the greed obsessed pigs (the pig city serving as a metaphor for the bankers and big businesses that stood the world on the verge of bankruptcy) We have seen throughout Europe and in the rise of Bernie Sanders that people have had enough and are finding ways of saying no. The birds reflect the struggle we all face on a daily basis. It makes you reconsider your in or out vote in a different light.
The irony that this savage take down of the western world’s economic model is lurking at the heart of a major studio production is not lost on the writers, as they filter everything through Red (a colour surely meant to represent the left) the outsider who sees through the cowboy festooned propaganda of the pigs but ultimately has to make some compromises as we’ve all got to find a way to live in this world.
Peter Dinklage plays mighty eagle, a gone to seed, fat has been. It is a powerful image seeing the symbol of America represented this way, the embodiment of a corrupt USA. Dinklage is brilliant giving a performance full of sad nuance.
Angry Birds is a stunning satire that also has a few decent fart gags and Sean Penn sending himself up delightfully with a performance that contains no spoken lines, just menacing grunting. It is beautifully animated and the script is smart, not lego movie smart, but heading in that direction.
So next time you watch a seemingly shallow remake or game tie-in look a little deeper, you may be surprised by what you find.