When families come together to celebrate Holidays, the one dish on the menu that makes for a sumptuous meal is a Turkey. Every time one hears the word Turkey, it often gets associated with Thanksgiving. Playing around this premise, and breaking the traditions is the film, Free Birds.
Early in 1600s-1700s, when Europeans landed in the New World, they were given food and shelter by the natives of the place. As a vote of thanks to their kindness, Thanksgiving was celebrated in the West. Turkey being the native bird was put forth as a meal, and subsequently, began a tradition of Turkey taking the center table on Thanksgiving.
Venturing into the minds of these Turkeys, Director Jimmy Hayward takes us on a time-travel spree. Two polar opposite Turkeys, Jake (Woody Harrelson) and Reggie (Owen Wilson), embark on a mission to scratch Turkeys from the Thanksgiving menu. Jake has a stance as a military personnel, while Reggie is a tad-boyish in his mannerism.
Reggie who has grown up on a Turkey farm is depicted as a rationalist amongst the other brainless Turkeys. Owing to which, he is often left out of the team. Reggie tries to make his fellow Turkeys understand that the farmer isn’t their friend and neither is there any “Turkey Paradise” existing. He tells them how brutally Turkeys are slaughtered and are served as a feast. Unreasonable, Turkeys throw him out of the league but Reggie is taken in by the President’s daughter as the “Pardoned Turkey” of the fest. Reggie is exploring the new world at the President’s mansion and one fine day, gets kidnapped by Jake, a self–declared warrior of the “Turkey Freedom Front”. In order to convince Reggie, Jake explains how they are warriors, the chosen ones (as per the prophecy of “The Great Turkey”) and it is their duty to go into the past and save Turkeys from becoming a meal for Thanksgiving.
What follows this is a loosely-scripted story, jumping-off trees action, brewing romance and escalated drama. Turkeys fight humans and humans chase Turkeys. Who outwits who, becomes the plot of the film. Initially, the events keep the ball rolling but you feel a lull enter the screen as soon as the two warrior Turkeys get transported to the past – to 1621 and three days before the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth colony. They meet the leader of the native Turkeys and illuminate him on the facts from future. The film gets dragged unnecessarily. It has comic punches with an inability to pull off a cheeky smile from the viewers, let alone laugh. The animation and 3D, although not at par with its counterparts, is good enough and will get attention from children.
This 91-minute of satire on a Western tradition has cute caricatures, a weak story and closely resembles “Chicken Run.”