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|The Angry Birds Movie
dir Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
scr Jon Vitti
prd John Cohen, Catherine Winder
voices Jason Sudeikis, Maya Rudolph, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, Hannibal Buress, Tony Hale, Kate McKinnon
release UK 13.May.16, US 20.May.16
16/US Sony 1h37
Anger management: Chuck, Red and Bomb
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
There's a random tone to this lively animated adventure that's somewhat disarming, as it flutters in every conceivable direction for laughs. Mixing kid-friendly primary colours with grown-up humour, it'll keep most of the audience chuckling. Although those watching closely might be disturbed by the central theme.
On a remote island populated only by birds, Red (Suideikis) is an outcast because of his independent thinking. Ordered to take anger management classes taught by new age guru Matilda (Rudolph), he distracts his fellow students: hyperactive Chuck (Gad), explosive Bomb (McBride) and strong-silent Terence (Penn). Then the pig Leonard (Hader) arrives on the island, introducing new technology as he plans a huge party for the birds. But Red questions his motivations, and takes Chuck and Bomb in search of the mythical Mighty Eagle (Dinklage), the only bird on the island who ever flew.
For most of its running time, it's difficult to see this as a kids' movie. There are long stretches of absurd dialog that have little to do with the plot, and much of the humour centres on innuendo. Jokes about excretion and anatomy sometimes seem very racy, but they'll keep youngsters giggling. And the rapid-fire puns will appeal to adults. Still, the political message might be cause for concern: the entire plot hinges on the danger of ignoring warnings that arriving strangers shouldn't be trusted. Thankfully there are also comments about thinking for yourself and avoiding hero worship.
Of course, where this goes is deeply silly. The iconic phone-app game finally makes its way into the story in the climactic birds-versus-pigs battle sequence, which gets somewhat violent if you think about it, even with its exaggerated whizz-bang visuals. And it helps that the characters are so likeable, strongly voiced to bring out edgy personalities all around, especially when they're required to get angry. But they're also engaging in the more sentimental moments later on.
It's great to see an animated feature so gleefully avoid the standard conventions of the genre, finding witty visual and verbal gags in the most unexpected places. It also has relentlessly snappy pacing, which makes terrific use of the detailed animation. So try to ignore the "sometimes you need to get angry" and "be wary of immigrants" messages. This movie is deranged enough to keep both young kids and grown-ups entertained. Sometimes that means staring at the screen in disbelief at a particularly near-the-knuckle gag.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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