Starring Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, this animated film involves turkeys that travel back in time in attempt to stop turkeys from being eaten on Thanksgiving. As an APUSH student, I can tell you that this might not be historically accurate, but we’ll look past that flaw for the sake of this review.
The biggest problem with this film is that it tries to do too much. Free Birds attempts to be a buddy-comedy, a sci-fi adventure, a romance story, a coming-of-age tale, and a war movie all in one. It ends up doing none of them well. This lack of focus took me out of the movie and left me more confused than entertained.
Even in terms of kids’ films, this movie isn’t that funny. It never fully lost me, every once in a while there’d be a joke that caught me off-guard, but for the most part it was kind of painful to sit through. I know that it’s a kids’ movie and the target audience is eight-year-olds who don’t know any better, but that still doesn’t make this movie good.
The most baffling part of this movie though is the weird, contradictory political message. On one hand it touches on animal cruelty and how there are other options, then on the other hand the other option the film presents is fast food. Not to mention the moral ambiguity and animal cruelty behind that, unironically preaching how great fast food is to kids isn’t a great way to end a film.
There are also just some straight-up strange choices in Free Birds. When going back in time to 1620, all of the turkeys are Native American. Face paint and all. It’s a small detail, and I’d hesitate to call it truly racist., but it’s something that bothered me for a large chunk of the film.
On that note the movie isn’t all bad. There’s a strong female character, which is nice. I also want to congratulate Free Birds for making the first homoerotic turkey movie. It’s not the worst thing of all time, but it’s nothing you should be wasting your time with. And it’s probably nothing you want to show your kids either. 3/10.