Free Birds – review

An odd but enjoyable animation about a Thanksgiving turkey, voiced by Owen Wilson, who is 'pardoned' by the US president

Here is a very odd but watchable animation. Where did they get the idea? Perhaps from the throwaway gag in Cars when some confused person in the crowd shouts "Free bird!" The theme is Thanksgiving: Owen Wilson voices Reggie, a turkey, who – like all the other turkeys – is heading for the chop, only to be miraculously saved by the president himself, represented as a husky-voiced Clintonesque man. The prez has chosen him as the traditional "pardoned turkey" and so living with the First Family, Reggie finds out about top-secret military plans to develop a time machine. He sneaks into this hi-tech craft, on a personal mission to head back to Plymouth Colony 1621, and change the turkey-eating tradition so he and his kind can be spared. Now, given what we know about what continues to be the Thanksgiving food of choice in America, how can the film arrive at a happy ending? I'm not sure: it's weirdly confusing and structurally unsound, though no more so than any film about time travel, including Looper and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It is, however, enjoyable, with some funny lines.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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