Free Birds Movie Review
Two turkeys go back in time (on a time machine called S.T.E.V.E) to the very first Thanksgiving in history to take turkeys off the menu. Reggie has always been different from the other turkeys. He’s an outcast – he’s skinnier and smarter. When the President’s daughter selects Reggie to be the Pardoned Turkey, Reggie thinks he has it all – TV, bunny slippers, and most importantly, delicious pizza. In a fowl,bizarre turn of events, Reggie meets Jake, a macho turkey, who drags him into an adventure into a past where turkeys are just as smart as humans. The pilgrims are starving and eying the turkeys, and the movie culminates in an epic battle between humans and turkeys.
Of course, this is probably not the movie for teachers to show in history class about the First Thanksgiving – only nitpicky pertinacious grouchy hermits would wag their fingers at the complete inaccuracy and disregard for history. After all, who can resist the joy of changing history? Even better, what about birds changing history? The concept is pure childish fun.
However, the plot was a bit far-fetched, but that doesn’t matter if you’re a kid. Suspend your disbelief and brief annoyance about the plot holes, and you’ll still be able to wring out at least a little enjoyment. I was hoping that the movie would be a laugh-out-loud riot from the start to the finish, but that is not the case. There was a lot of potential for hilarious scenes, but it seems as if they were skipped over and rushed.
Even so, voice-overs are fantastically fresh, especially with Woody Harrelson’s portrayal of Jake. In fact, Jake’s character development is highly unusual for a children’s animated film – typically, secondary characters or sidekicks are mostly just that: secondary sidekicks, flat and only existing for comical relief. In Free Birds, I was pleasantly surprised to see Jake’s backstory, even if it was slightly cheesy. I also loved S.T.E.V.E. played by George Takei. As an interactive time machine, S.T.E.V.E. steals a lot of laughs in the movie. Can I please have S.T.E.V.E. on my iPhone instead of Siri?
All in all, if you’re a kid, Free Birds is a fun light-hearted movie, raucous and riotous, and historically inaccurate in the best way possible. Reggie and Jake reinforce positive themes repeatedly such as never giving up and believing in yourself. It may not be worth it to see in theaters, but for DVD, it’s a mediocre PickIt for parents to keep their kids riveted for an hour and a half at home. At least it’s refreshing to see a movie about turkeys, and not chickens. Ages 5+
So why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken’s day off.