Red is not a happy camper. He’s easily irritable, grouchy and prone to bouts of violence. His aggressive behaviour amongst a population of jovial flightless birds on Bird Island leads to him being sentenced to anger management classes. Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) reluctantly joins the group conducted by Matilda (Maya Rudolph) and including Chuck (Josh Gad), blackbird Bomb (Danny McBride), and Terrence who only growls (and that growls belongs to Sean Penn).
The sudden arrival of a ship manned by pigs shakes up the serenity of Bird Island. Not only is Red’s house on the beach destroyed by the ship, but he is also instantly suspicious of the pigs’ motives.
The pigs distract the birds with parties and gifts as they keep their eyes firmly on the bounty – eggs! Red’s suspicions turn out to be correct and his anger help the birds fight back against the pigs to rescue their un-hatched children. Red seeks help from Chuck, Bomb and Terrence as well as his idol, the mythical (and now portly) Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage).
The birds embark on an avian invasion to exact vengeance on the egg thieves. If you have played the video game then you will recognise the way elements from the game design have been built into this 3D film – crates of TNT, ships, birds being shot out of slings smashing into and toppling over structures and evil pigs.
The Angry Birds Movie is childish and occasional cute and capitalises on the game’s once addictive popularity. Directed by Clay Katis and Fergal Reilly, the script is not witty enough, depending on obvious bird and pig puns such as Free Rage Chicken, Hamnesty International and a pig named Jon Hamm. There are also obvious meta-references to The Shining and Ice Age (the opening scene of Red trying to protect an egg is clearly borrowed from Scrat chasing an acorn).
Though it is past its prime, the game might see a resurgence thanks to this origins movie, which establishes the enmity between the birds and the pigs that is the foundation of this bestselling app.