Free Birds FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Reel FX Creative Studios and Relativity Media present a 91 minute, PG, animation, comedy, directed by Jimmy Hayward, written by Hayward and Scott Mosier with a theater release date of November 1, 2013.
Ok let me get this off my chest first, yes this film will absolutely become a Thanksgiving must watch for years to come. Why? Mainly because it’s the only Thanksgiving themed feature animated film out there for kids and adults. Ok that said let’s move on to the dumb turkeys and the life of Reggie (voice of Owen Wilson). The story says their dumb by the way, not me!
Life starts out on the Turkey farm, the farmer is working hard to fatten up the Turkeys since Turkey Paradise is right around the corner. Turkey Paradise unknown to the turkeys is really a lie but rather a visit in the oven later to be served with cranberries and stuffing. Ok maybe they’re a little short on brain cells that is except for Reggie who happens to be an outcast to the flock for trying to enlighten them on the truth. Soon though, Reggie has his day in the limelight when the President (voice of Jimmy Hayward) of the United States visits the turkey farm to pardon a turkey. His daughter (voice of Kaitlyn Maher) picks skinny Reggie as the bird to save and take on a trip to Camp David. Oh the life of luxury, a bed, TV, servants, pizza, fuzzy slippers, a Presidential robe and did I say pizza.
All that comes to an end when Reggie meets up with Jake (voice of Woody Harrelson) a member of the TFF and they enter S.T.E.V.E. (voice of George Takei) to travel back in time three days before the first Thanksgiving to remove turkey from the Pilgrims menu. Upon their arrival they are soon greeted in a very unfriendly manner by Myles Standish (voice of Colm Meaney) and his team of hunters that are out searching for food particularly the whereabouts of the turkey flock. Thanks to Jenny (voice of Amy Poehler) who happens to be a Pisces, great astrological sign by the way, and her brother Ranger (voice of Jimmy Hayward)Reggie and Jake are saved and taken back to the flock where they meet the rest of the birds along with Chief Broadbeak (voice of Keith David). I personally spent a week in Hawaii with Keith; he’s really a fun guy.
In a plot to save two captured turkey’s and destroy the Pilgrims weapons Jake’s past comes back to haunt him as the hunters follow a trail right to the flock ending in catastrophe for all the birds. Thanks to Reggie and help from S.T.E.V.E. some wrongs become right, enemies become friends, the settlers give thanks and pizza for all. Remember to stay past the credits for some Turducken.
I thought the animation was very well done but the story seemed a bit dramatic whereas I was hoping for a bit more comedy. Grant it the story has its moments but not enough for me to say I laughed out loud excessively throughout the film. It surely had its opportunity to be more humorous but the writers take us a bit down the save the turkeys story line as if the script was written by P.E.T.A. and not “People Eating Tasty Animals”. I like the save the turkey idea but it does come off a bit over the top a few times adding even more dramatics to a film that should be more fun than preachy. It’s not over preachy but can get a little tiring at times; you will get the idea as the adventure continues. Either way it is a clever holiday film idea for Thanksgiving and will probably do ok at the box office but unlike Disney or Pixar I wouldn’t make a quick turkey run to the theater on this one. Although in the end, Haley my seven year old movie critic that came to the film screening with me said she loved it and kids know best when it comes to animation. Written and appreciated with 2 paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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