This weekend, the #1 movie in America was The Angry Birds Movie.
Based on the once-popular mobile game and brought to life by movie makers’ rapidly drying well of ideas, the film tells the simple story of birds who are angry at pigs for stealing their eggs, and slingshotting themselves across the land to stop the pigs.
That’s the story behind the game, anyway. The movie tells a much deeper, darker tale.
The movie opens on Bird Island, and we are introduced to Red. Red is the angriest of the birds, and he is quickly shown responding to a kid kicking a ball against his house by kicking that child into what appears to be low orbit. Much to his chagrin, he’s sentenced to anger management classes.
Later, pigs arrive to Bird Island on their fleet of ships, and the birds welcome them. There is some culture shock, but the pigs and birds become friends. Red is immediately suspicious and tries to get everyone to hate the pigs, but he fails.
What would you call a short-tempered, paranoid xenophobe of bizarre coloring who thinks he’s the only one smart enough to see the truth?
Whatever you would call him, the movie calls him hero.
It turns out the pigs are stealing the birds’ eggs, and they quickly take off with them, going back to Pig Island. Not only that, but they use their explosives to blow up the town where all the birds live. The birds all survive, because this is a kids story.
We’ll get back to all of the ramifications of that paragraph in just a bit. Let’s finish up the synopsis first though.
Red is finally able to convince the rest of the birds to tap into their anger and go fight the pigs, and from there it’s basically the game. The birds use a giant slingshot to get themselves into the pigs’ stronghold to get the eggs back.
As a last measure, the reserve explosives causes Pig Island to explode.
The message here is clear: if immigrants come, they will steal whatever is most precious to you and blow you up. Their home is also a powder keg just waiting to explode. The only answer is to be suspicious of everyone and give in to your anger in order to fight them off..
This is, of course, hugely relevant now. Middle Eastern refugees are fleeing ISIS in droves, and countries have been torn on how to handle the situation. Some say to take them in, while others say they will corrupt their culture and potentially allow terrorists to infiltrate those countries.
The immigrants in this film also are quick to use a lot of explosives, which is the de facto opinion of Muslim immigrants held by those who don’t want them entering their countries. Lest you get offended by my terminology there, for many people, Muslim is interchangeable with Middle Eastern, which is interchangeable with brown-skinned people.
It should also be pointed out that while the birds are all different colors, the pigs are all one color. They’re a uniform terroristic entity, just how the most vehemently anti-immigrationists feel about Middle Easterners.
This movie was a joint project between Sony Pictures and Roxio, which is based in Finland. I don’t know much about Finland–do they have fjords?–but based on this movie I’m going to assume they hate immigrants.
But there’s one more lesson for us. Before the pigs reveal themselves to be the worst kind of immigrant since, I mean, since white people went to the Americas and Africa, Red realizes he needs help.
Bird Island has a protector. And while the rest of the birds have lost the ability to fly (as birds do when they’re in a land with no predators), this one can still fly. He is called Mighty Eagle, a symbol of the United States.
Mighty Eagle refuses to help, revealing that he hasn’t flown in years and has become lazy and useless over time. In short: you can’t count on him to save the town from the immigrant threat. Just like you can’t count on Obama.
Later, Mighty Eagle does help, flying the eggs to safety from Pig Island, and saying he just had to teach the birds to find faith in themselves. This version of Mighty Eagle is all about less involvement from government, his people taking up arms for themselves, and strengthening the island as a result. In other words…
And this is a movie for kids!