You’d think that a movie starring Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler would be a must-see, but unfortunately their latest endeavor, Free Birds falls short — for adults, anyway.
The movie follows Reggie (Owen Wilson), a smarter-than-average turkey whose intelligence leads him to become an outcast and the White House’s official Pardon Turkey. While enjoying his life as a VIP, Reggie is kidnapped by rogue turkey, Jake (Woody Harrelson), to go back in time to the very first Thanksgiving and take turkeys off the menu. The pair travel back to 1421 to join a flock of turkeys who are at war against a spiteful settler named Myles Standish.
Time travel movies are always touch and go and this one can just go. Full of clichés and random moments, Free Birds will try your patience despite an all-star cast which also includes George Takei and Colm Meany.
It’s unnecessary to say that Wilson and Harrelson are pretty funny as Reggie and Jake, respectively; however, their wide comedic range are wasted in this movie. Poehler, who is probably the funniest actor in this movie, gets stuck with the very unfunny role of a calm and composed lady whose only quirk is a droopy eye from a childhood accident. So, if you’re hoping that the awesome cast will save the movie, you’d be wrong.
Disturbingly, the turkeys in 1421 are shown to be as an inaccurate parallel to the Native Americans. The turkeys practice a peaceful way of living, are ruled by a chief and even don war paint. What’s more, real Native Americans are alluded to throughout the film, but only show up in the last few minutes. When they finally do appear, their portrayal is embarrassingly stereotypical.
While it may be trying for adults to watch, it’s absolutely perfect for children…
It could just be my adult brain being critical, but I think it’s pretty important that kids are properly educated even while being entertained. Also, the whole movie is written as a turkeys vs. pilgrims battle, but I’m pretty sure Native Americans also ate turkeys and there is no mention of this.
This is a kids movie and meant purely to entertain them (which it apparently does because the entire theatre of kids cheered and applauded the end of the screening); however, unlike other (albeit better) movies meant for children (e.g. Coraline and ParaNorman), this movie fails to engage their adults counterparts.
While it may be trying for adults to watch, it’s absolutely perfect for children, especially those under seven years of age. Corny jokes and sight gags will have kids laughing and the time travel plot line is pretty exciting if you’ve not yet been exposed to some of the best science fiction movies in the world. The jokes you and I will find lame will tickle children pink, making them think this is one of the funniest movies ever. There’s also just enough sentimentality and sadness to give the film some depth (however shallow it is).
Basically, Free Birds is literally just mindless entertainment for children and nothing more. It doesn’t really try to do anything new, nor does it try to appeal to the adults who’ve been dragged there. If you need to score points with a younger cousin or sibling, take them to this movie and you’ll be a star. Otherwise, you’re not missing much at all.