Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is this turkey paradise?

Christmas for me, no matter how ridiculously childish this sounds, is still mainly about presents. Honestly. Along those lines, Halloween, despite being in my mid-thirties, is still mainly about candy (though there was a time where slutty costumes entered the fray). Thanksgiving, no matter how old I get, has always been about one thing, too: Football. Fine. It's also about family. I guess.

But I'll tell you what it's never been about: turkey. The bird, for me, is the least interesting part of the meal. Who knew that was foreshadowing?

What's strange, is it's also the worst turkey movie of all time, too.
My wife and I took our son to see Free Birds two Sundays ago, but this leisurely family outing felt a lot like work. Uninspired and bland, this latest kids' flick to cash in on a timely holiday crushed our fairly low expectations. We saw the preview, we knew what we were getting into. But somehow, it ended up being worse. But the real kick in the giblets? The only showing we could make it to was in 3D. Well, if you can call it that.

Anyway, the story, I suppose, at least had potential, for a (non-Pixar) kid's movie, anyway. After receiving the ceremonial presidential Thanksgiving pardon, a young turkey named Reggie appears to be living the good life. By this, I mean he's eating pizza all day and watching telenovelas. Harshing his vibe is Jake, a manly turkey destined to travel back in time and take turkey off the Thanksgiving menu. Apparently, the President resides directly on top of some top-secret time travel device, so these two turkeys make the typical unlikely duo. Had potentially hijinks ensued we might have had a decent 70-minute flick. In and out, easy-peasy, please recycle your 3D spectacles on your way out. But no, we veer off into turkey lore and turkey love and 91 minutes later I felt like I had just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner: I was tired and full of regret. And I didn't want to think about anything turkey related for at least another year. If not, ever again.

Like an awkward blow up at Thanksgiving dinner, lets simply stare at our plates and make the best of a bad situation. Could you pass the Yays? You know what, never mind, I've got to reheat everything. The damn Boos are already cold.

Like father, like son. Unfortunately for him.
  • Even in an incredibly dull kids movie, listening to Woody Harrelson's voice work is a good thing. This flick could have used a bit more Jake. Definitely.
  • There's a gag about a posterior restraint system that cracked up me and the little guy. Ah, butt jokes.
  • Baby turkeys. Even though the visuals are overwhelmingly drab and ugly, the little ones are all kinds of cute. Did you know that baby turkeys are called poults? Well, now you do. Ponder that as you chew on their dad's face next week, okay?
  • George Takei. Yep, Springfield's own Akira shows up and delivers a moderately exciting turn as the voice of S.T.E.V.E, the time travel device the birds use. While it really isn't anything special, I have to cheer anytime we're lucky enough to get an extra saucy Oh myyyy. I will mail you a dollar if you can read that and somehow not feel compelled to say it aloud yourself. C'mon, try it. Oh myyyyy.
  • Binocular Hands. That gag managed to make me smile repeatedly.
  • The story, as convoluted as it gets, still manages to come together in charming fashion.
  • And finally, my son Matty. Not only was this his first 3D movie, but he also claims to really like Free Birds! While I don't believe him at all (every movie we see is his favorite), at least those orange 3D glasses were legitimately awesome.
The bird on the left is explaining the plot of this movie.
  • I might have chuckled at her once, but the President's daughter was the awful embodiment of every spastic, annoying little bastard ever thrown into a second rate kids' movie. Grrr.
  • Owen Wilson. I love you man, but enough voice acting, okay? You're Lightening McQueen, bro. Forget Marmaduke. And forget this.
  • Really not sure about that lazy eye bit. Are we supposed to laugh at that? 
  • There's a rather strange all male dance number featured, that was extra baffling. Hmm.
  • Not being funny is crime enough, but things get oddly serious. I'm pretty sure we get a dead parent and a funeral. My wife and I exchanged what-the-shit-is-this? looks more than once. We didn't sign up for that post-movie conversation.
  • Spoiler Alert! After the events of this movie, Native Americans and Pilgrims no longer share turkey! Obvious Alert! They eat pizza instead. While this alone isn't a Boo, the fact that one, yes one of the pizzas was from Chuck E. Cheese makes me want to set fire to a shitty animatronic band. Seriously, guys? One pizza? In a stack of pizza boxes, how is only one from the restaurant? Did the CEO of Chuck E. Cheese pay the animators in tokens? And yes, this is something I thought about.
  • And finally, as much as I was kind of amused that my son was wearing orange 3D glasses (despite dropping thirty bucks for the right to wear them), I really wish the effect made a difference. Honestly, I haven't seen such uninspired 3D since, well...everything other than Gravity.
Timing is everything, and obviously Free Birds exists solely to be released into theaters before Thanksgiving, at the exact time everyone is thinking about...Christmas.  

So...what did you get me, again? 


  1. This looked AWFUL. When you're a parent are you obligated to watch all these kids movies? Or are you just a trooper? I don't think I could handle that. So they switch out turkey with pizza? what the shit.

    1. While i'm 900% with you on the awful looking trailer, the best bits were still from it (Woody talking to his reflection and the guards hahahahaha gags). Imagine that. You already saw the best parts.

      We occasionally miss some of the family movies, but we do tend to see just about everything. It's kind of sad, but it's such an easy outing...and, well, I get to post about it. Chuck E. Cheese pizza.

  2. I saw it for my friends birthday party it was supied