I didn’t think there was going to be a wide released animated movie this year that was as poor as “Turbo” or “Planes.” I was wrong.
“Free Birds” follows the character Reggie (Wilson), a turkey who tries to warn his fellow flock that they are being used for Thanksgiving meals. Life gets a little easier for Reggie, though, when he is chosen as the Presidential pardoned turkey and gets to live the rest of his life in comfort.
That is until he meets another turkey named Jake (Harrelson) who is on a mission to stop Thanksgiving from happening ever again. To do so, Jake takes Reggie to a time machine (which has an AI system voiced by George Takei) which brings them to the time of the very first Thanksgiving. There, they meet a tribe of tribal turkeys who end up helping them in their quest.
When you want to discuss a lack of effort, you can reference “Free Birds.” The story itself feels so predictable and unoriginal, but worse than that, it isn’t interesting or engaging. The time traveling aspect isn’t all that great, the villain’s plot is lame, and the protagonist’s arc is totally been there done that.
Wilson and Harrelson seem to just phone in their performances and the characters have basically no chemistry, even though they need to work together as the film’s protagonists. They never breath life into these characters at all, unlike, for example, John Goodman and Billy Crystal in “Monsters University.”
The supporting cast is not memorable at all. Amy Poehler plays a forgettable love interest and doesn’t bring along any of her usual comedic charm for the ride. There is also the villain, played by Colm Meaney (how ironic), who is probably one of the most generic, stock antagonists ever. He doesn’t have any personality outside of wanting to kill turkeys.
The animation isn’t the most stunning ever. There is never much to look at besides what is going on immediately in the foreground. Once again I bring up “Monsters University,” which had so many extra details and things going on in the background. I know that Pixar probably has a larger budget, but the film just feels like there is a lack of trying.
When thinking of some of the absolute fantastic animated films of the past couple years, “Monsters University,” “Toy Story 3” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” for example, a movie like this is pretty much an insult. There is no redeeming factors going on. The animation isn’t special, the acting is phoned in and the plot is uninteresting. 1 out of 5.