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SYNOPSIS: Why the birds are so angry ... When an island paradise populated by these happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to three unlikely outcasts - quick-tempered Red (voice of Jason Sudeikis), speedy Chuck (Josh Gad) and volatile Bomb (Danny McBride) - to figure out what the pigs are up to. When they do, they try to recruit the iconic but reluctant Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) - the only bird who can fly - to help them.

Review by Louise Keller
Flying direct from the world of video games, The Angry Birds make their big screen debut in a bold, bright and colourful film for youngsters and fans. In case you have not come across these flightless birds before, they gained a following after the Finnish video game was created in 2009, after which time the franchise soared in popularity with the addition of comics, TV series and books. While it lacks in subtlety, the film plays reasonably well for its target audience, although I must admit I did not especially warm to it. It is cute and colourful, but a bit too crass - not withstanding its excellent animation and production elements. The plot involves green pigs with a secret agenda who invade the island paradise of the flightless birds. It is all good fun and the voice cast is excellent, although it should be said the film lacks the finesse of recent films such as Zootopia and Jungle Book.

The film begins by establishing the reality of the angry birds. Propelled by a rich music score, the opening sequence introduces us to Red (Jason Sudeikis), the big red bird with Groucho Marx eyebrows and an equally grouchy disposition. Anger management is prescribed after an incident involving a journey, a gluten free cake and a newly hatched egg. The anger management class run by the long lashed Matilda (Maya Rudolph) offers a few chuckles; it is there that we meet the other two main characters - yellow bird Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), who explodes when angry.

Then the pigs arrive, headed by Leonard (Bill Hader) and as their dastardly plot becomes apparent, it is up to the birds to find their way from their island to the pigs' home to rescue the eggs that have been stolen. No egg is to be left behind. There are some offbeat ideas, like pigs in cowboy hats, Sean Penn's gigantic crimson bird Terence in a sling shot and all the little signposts that give the respective realities personality: bird control, birds & bees fertility, Calvin swine underwear, Hamnesty International and more. The fact that the diminutive Peter Dinklage voices the gigantic Mighty Eagle is a lovely touch.

Of course the underlying theme of the importance of family is beyond reproach, but I am not sure that the destructive anger inherent to the central characters is a positive one for youngsters - although I could be taking too serious a view.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I got a chuckle out of the corny throw-away visual pun inside the piggies' fortress of a poster heralding Kevin Bacon in Hamlet, and a few other chortles, but much of the film seems too loud, too fast and too hard to follow for its target market of kiddies. Hell, it was tough for me, too. The excellence of the animation can't hide the fact that it's a clunky story that is hard to engage with. Green pigs (ugly, toothy, bug eyed) invade the island paradise of the birds, pretending to be friendly but sneakily kidnap all the eggs prior to hatching and ship them back to their place.

There is some sort of disconnect in our minds about pigs stealing eggs that obstructs the story; and the notion of flightless birds living on an island whose 'supreme leader' is a hermit-like eagle doesn't make it easier to digest.

There are some contemporary adult concepts, such as anger management, a course to which the ever-angry Red (voice of Jason Sudeikis) is sent by the judge after a violation. It offers a chance to crack some anger jokes - which the target audience may well miss.

Maybe I'm too adult about it; it's a fast moving story for children who don't question why pigs would steal eggs or anything else in the film. As children, we tend to accept what happens around us as the world as it is. Good, bad or irrational.

The climactic scenes of birds being catapulted to piggie land in their rescue efforts are the best bits of the film, although I suspect smaller children may find this a bit unsettling or scary.

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(US, 2016)

VOICES: Peter Dinklage, Titus Burgess, Jason Sudeikis, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnin, Sean Penn, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Ike Barinholtz, Danny McBride, Josh Gad

PRODUCER: John Cohen, Catherine Winder

DIRECTOR: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly

SCRIPT: Jon Vitti


EDITOR: Kent Beyda, Ally Garrett

MUSIC: Heitor Pereira

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peter Oswald (art direction)

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes



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