It’s based on the cheapo video game app that rose out Finland’s Rovio Entertainment in 2009 to lock kids of all ages to their smartphones in rapt revenge mode. The Angry Birds Movie is both a big-screen, 3D attempt to cash in on a huge mobile app phenom and a funny ha-ha excuse to party down at the multiplex. The movie is not interactive. There’s no touchscreen or digital slingshot that lets you hurl angry, wingless birds at the green pigs who’ve stolen their eggs. But vengeance is still part of the deal. First-time directors Clay Katis and Fergal Reilly give this animated joyride an eye-popping visual palette and an all-star cast of voice actors to bring this origin story to life.
Jason Sudeikis voices Red, the grumpiest bird on Bird Island, where the other avian creatures live in relative harmony. Red is ordered to attend anger management classes conducted by Matilda (Maya Rudolph), who calls herself a “free rage chicken.” If you like puns, the script by Jon Vitti (Alvin and the Chipmunks) has a million groaners. It also has other ragers, including canary Chuck (Josh Gad), blackbird Bomb (Danny McBride), and Terrence, a feathered assault weapon, hilariously growled by Sean Penn.
Even with a support team, Red still gets ignored when an army of green pigs, led by Leonard (Bill Hader), hit Bird Island pretending to be friends. For advice, Red turns to bird guru Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), but Red is on his own until the oinkers start stealing bird eggs. Then its war. There’s nothing brutal or bloody to scare off the Candy Crushers. There’s also nothing as iconic as the ingenious deviltry you’ll find in The Lego Movie. It’s hard to hide the fact that Angry Birds has been repackaged way past the time when the game was a peak obsession. Still, there’s no denying the movie’s high spirits or its irresistible invitation to shake your sillies out.