There is a bromance and a romance at the heart of Free Birds that give the film a little edge over the average animated movie out there. Toss in the fact that its wildly original holiday theme hits a home run with adults and kids alike, and the Relativity Media movie may just become a huge hit.
The aforementioned bromance is between Owen Wilson’s Reggie and Woody Harrelson’s Jake. It’s easy to see that these two are friends off screen because there is not only a banter between them that is electric, but also a shorthand that elicits exactly the performance we need from each for this story. When it comes to the romance, well… let’s get into our story first.
As seen in the Free Birds trailer, Reggie is a little bit smarter than your average turkey. He lives on a turkey farm and finds it inconceivable that his fellow avian fellows have no idea that when they’re “chosen” it means they're sent to slaughter. The “idiots” -- his words, not mine -- around him think it’s a reason for celebration. So, when Reggie is chosen, let’s just say he immediately starts to panic. He’s seen firsthand what’s on the Thanksgiving Day table and he was hoping to never be it.
But, guess what Reggie? Today’s your lucky day. You’ve been chosen by the President of the United States to be the “pardoned” turkey. The rest of his life is cable TV, pizza delivery and shelter from the elements. That is until Jake nabs him, thinking he’s part of his fateful plan to save their kind from centuries of certain death, all in the name of marking a holiday that began with two peoples coming together in thanks.
The U.S., deep underground, has a time machine and Jake (reluctantly) gets Reggie to go with him and commandeer it to take them to the first Thanksgiving to get turkey off the menu… forever.
When they get to colonial Massachusetts, that’s when they meet a flock of turkeys living wild in the woods and Amy Poehler’s Jenny. Reggie immediately hits it off with her and there you have our romance, which is played sweetly by director Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!).
But then again, our Free Birds review finds that Hayward has a firm grasp on this entire film and effortlessly takes it through humor, adventure, thrills and even a few lessons about the importance of family, standing up for what’s right, plus a few other things that parents can get behind, while children will soak it in… all under the guise of entertainment.