Angry Birds is based on a simple premise: Pigs steal the eggs of some birds; the birds get ticked, and fling themselves with a slingshot into the poorly built domiciles of the pigs to get revenge. It's a puzzle game that uses physics and some geometry that makes for a pretty enjoyable way to kill time on a cell phone. But when someone like me over thinks something so simple, it starts to take on patterns that reflect shades of real life. I've come up with two different ways to think about Angry Birds. I doubt either vision will be reflected in the upcoming movie this summer, but I thought these musings were enough to at least warrant a quick MP post. One way to look at Angry Birds is as a picture of anti-capitalism, and another way is to see it as a picture of Islamic extremism.
I'll pause a moment to let you shout out loud at no one in particular about what a lunatic I must be. If you'd like to skip ahead to the comments section and blast me for complicating a cell phone game without reading what I actually have to say, please do so now. If you're still with me, let's look at the first model.
What do the eggs really represent? Children? Livelihood? Legacy? How about savings? If the eggs represent "nest eggs" in the financial sense, then the pigs are a representation of the greedy one percent. They're green, like money, and pigs are a symbol of filthy excess. The birds are poor, or at least they live without the trappings of modernity. They live on cliffs in the wilderness, but as the birds venture into pig territory, they come across the trappings of consumerism: skyscrapers, carnivals, private jets (or dirigibles), technology, etc. The pigs live in the lap of luxury compared to the birds, but having everything isn't enough; they must also steal the livelihood of the have-nots. We are the birds if we look at it from this perspective. Or more importantly, the birds are us. The one percent have taken all of our opportunities for success, for lasting achievement. They've robbed us of the American dream, and we're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore. So we launch ourselves at them to bring down their gilded Wall Street towers.
Now let's talk about another way to look at Angry Birds, from the lens of Islamic extremists.
In the first model, I suggested that the birds represent us. In this model, I'll suggest that the pigs represent us. So who are the birds? The birds are being a little extreme, aren't they? They crouch on the hillside and spy the towers of the pigs. The pigs are going about their daily lives, napping, hanging out, laughing at jokes, arguing with each other; their children are playing. All the while, the birds are lurking from outside, plotting their deaths. The birds suicide-smash into the towers and send them tumbling down, killing all within them. As if to emphasize that point, the level doesn't end until each pig is finally dead. You must exterminate them with extreme prejudice. What's more, the pigs they attack in the regular levels are not the pigs that stole their eggs. They're just pigs living in New Pork City, doing their own thing. They just happen to live in the country whose corrupt leader, king pig, has invaded the distant country of the birds to ruin their lives for his own profit and left them with nothing but seething, smoldering hatred of the West. The birds literally have nothing left to lose. In Angry Birds 2, one of Red's phrases is "Pain is temporary. Anger is forever." Sounds like an extremist mantra to me. If the eggs are oil, and New Pork City is New York City, then the pigs are you and me. Not a flattering picture, calling Americans pigs. The birds are the terrorists, sacrificing themselves to inflict fear and death on the nation whose leaders have made their lives hell.
Now, I'm not trying to ruin Angry Birds for anyone. Nor do I mean to suggest that Rovio is an anti-American company in any way. These are just some observations I made while playing Angry Birds 2 one day. I think about weird stuff sometimes. I expect the movie coming out this summer won't have any sort of undertones as these, and will be good, wholesome, family fun. The video game itself is harmless too. Like I said, just some crazy ideas, so don't freak out, okay?