‘Free Birds’ is nuts even for a movie about time-traveling turkeys

A turkey voiced by Owen Wilson tries to explain time travel in "Free Birds." Credit: Relativity Media
A turkey voiced by Owen Wilson tries to explain time travel in “Free Birds.”
Credit: Relativity Media

‘Free Birds’
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Voices of: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson
Rating: PG
2 (out of 5) Globes

The latest computer-animated, 3D-enhanced movie about a talking animal who wants to do more than what it’s supposed to in life is “Free Birds,” a seasonally appropriate yet visibly wobbly tale of turkey rebellion.

It centers on Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson), an outcast who appears to be the only Galliforme who realizes that turkeys – gobbling idiots, each and every one – are usually considered to be the main course around the holiday season. Luckily for Reggie, he gets pardoned by a Bill Clinton-sounding U.S. president when his ADD-addled daughter chooses Reggie for a pet.

For a while, Reggie lives the high life, gorging on pizzas and watching telenovelas. That is until a tenacious, dunderheaded, freedom-fighting turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson) pulls him out of his comfy surroundings and tells our boy he serves a vital role in the liberation of turkeys. Jake then takes the now-skeptical Reggie to a secret government lab, where they jack a time machine (which is shaped like an egg and is voiced by, of all people, George Takei) and quantum-leap back to the first Thanksgiving, where they have to find a way to get turkeys off the main menu.

They eventually get there to find that turkeys are a strong, proud and, shall we say, tribal bunch, trying to survive without being wiped out by a rather sociopathic Myles Standish (Colm Meaney), who is apparently hell-bent on obliterating the entire turkey population. While he’s there, Reggie does get sweet on a lazy-eyed turkey warrior princess (Amy Poehler).

“Birds” is virtually a rollercoaster ride of good and bad intentions. Although the kiddies may not pick up on it, the movie seems to be a thinly veiled take on the tragedy of the American Indians, only with turkeys playing their role. But adults may be too baffled by the movie’s overwhelming unevenness to be fully appalled by its motives. The script tries to be both playfully frivolous and emotionally earnest. Not to mention the premise of turkeys traveling back in time to save turkeys goes ridiculously off the rails — even for an animated film featuring talking animals — in the third act.

Too well-intentioned to be a travesty yet too embarrassingly executed to be considered a nice try, “Free Birds” hits the screen with a thundering thud. You may end up feeling like Les Nessman, when he witnessed all those turkeys come crashing to the ground in the classic “Turkeys Away” episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Oh, the humanity!


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.