I will admit, when I first saw the trailer for Free Birds, I chuckled at a few spots. The nameless government entities making a pun and laughing throughout the trailer was great. A movie about a dumb animal trying to save the world with other dumb animals might lead to a lot of just tongue in cheek situations or rampant fourth wall breaking or who knows what. The possibilities are limitless.
But they also are including time travel, a known killer of many movies, if they define a version that doesn’t make much sense. None of this “its a kids movie!” bullshit either. No, the story has to be somewhat coherent, or else shit is going down.
“Down like a Tom covered in poults.”
“Hey, that’s not a joke, witty, or remotely funny.”
“It would be if we were dealing with chickens, not turkeys!”
Reggie (Owen Wilson) is a freak. He is a smarter than your average turkey, which isn’t hard, because turkeys are dumb. But he is too smart, and refuses to eat and get fattened up for Thanksgiving, which causes the flock to throw him out. Luckily for him, he gets pardoned by the President, which apparently means he can sit around all day, not worry about getting eaten, and just watch TV and eat pizza.
Well, his new awesome reality comes crashing down when Jake (Woody Harrelson) takes him from his home! Oh no! Another Turkey, not some random dude named Jake.
He wants to infiltrate a secret base in Camp David where there is apparently a time machine. He wants to use that time machine to travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving, to take turkeys off the menu. Err okay. Well they do that. And the time machine named S.T.E.V.E. (George Takei), which was built for humans, can somehow understand the gobbles from turkeys.
Then they get there. The turkeys are just extremely obvious metaphors for American Indians, being hunted by the colonists, for this important feasts in a few days. Except these turkeys are all smart. That is right, they are saying turkeys became dumb due to domestication and Thanksgiving. So we have a bunch of smart turkeys and really only one dumb one, Jake. CAN THE TIME TRAVELING TURKEYS SAVE THEIR RACE FROM DESTRUCTION? Will he be able to score with Jenny (Amy Poehler), a smart enough turkey to not believe he is from the future? WILL HUMANS BE CAST AS THE BAD GUYS?
Or you know, will anything really cool happen? Eh.
Does this turkey look high to you?
Man, Owen Wilson I tend to hate at voice acting. Aka Cars and Cars 2. But he was able to show some emotion this time. Well done. Woody Harrelson sounded nothing like himself, so I want to assume that means he put effort into his lines. Having George Takei as navigator of sorts was a “I see what you did there” moment.
But enough about that, lets talk about the plot and other things I disliked. The beginning of the movie is very fast, so much that I’d be willing to bet that 85% or more of the movie takes place in the past, whereas the trailer had mostly set just getting to the time machine. A little misleading. Most of the best jokes were also in the trailer, including jokes that weren’t actually in the movie (due to splicing of the trailer into new jokes, not taking them out of the movie). Meh. I don’t think I would have liked it more if I didn’t see the trailer, however.
Making the turkeys in the past smart is lame. That leaves only one stupid character, and not the hordes of them that they implied in the trailer. That would allow it to have a lot more zany shenanigans! So, overall, the humor in this film isn’t really existent. The theater was practically silent for the most part.
The time travel itself is super sloppy. It was fine early on, but they went back to the present, and all sorts of stuff started to occur that don’t make sense based on how they defined time travel earlier in the film.
The ending is horrible. It just…it just isn’t good. The conflict doesn’t happen, despite a resolution. The resolution leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
So we got an unfunny movie, that breaks its own definitions of time travel, and has a shitty ending. Yawn. Let’s just wait for Frozen at the end of this month.
1 out of 4.