Thanksgiving Moments: Free Birds
Today we are wrapping up our series on Thanksgiving Moments with a slightly different film. This one does not so much contain a Thanksgiving scene as it does look at Thanksgiving from a different perspective. Free Birds is an animated feature from Reel FX Creative Studios and Relativity Media that follows two turkeys traveling back in time to prevent the first Thanksgiving. It was directed by Jimmy Hayward and written by Hayward and Scott Mosier. Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler lended their voices to the main characters while George Takei, Colm Meaney, Keith David, and Dan Fogler also voiced some of the supporting characters. The film was released in 2013 and faced fairly terrible reviews; however, it is one of the only animated features I can think of that features a whole storyline revolving around Thanksgiving.
So, why might Free Birds be worth a watch around the Thanksgiving holidays despite some terrible reviews?
1) The Turkey Perspective
This movie offers a different perspective of Thanksgiving through the eyes of a turkey. Well, actually, it offers it through the perspective of several turkeys, but that is not the point. Reggie, the turkey voiced by Owen Wilson, understands that they are being fed and cared for in order to become someone’s meal, which the other turkeys fail to realize. Through several plot developments, he and Jake end up traveling back in time to stop the original Thanksgiving and save all the turkeys from becoming the centerpieces of future meals.
It might be a little odd or morbid to look at Thanksgiving from a turkey’s perspective, but it provides for a somewhat entertaining animated adventure.
2) A Kid-Friendly Option
All of the films we’ve looked at so far in this blog series have been specifically for adults. They have explored the funnier aspects of Thanksgiving and the tensions that often arise at family gatherings. However, Free Birds is an animated adventure into the past. It has humor appropriate for children throughout the film, and it has the classic good guys versus bad guys mentality going on.
Granted, it might not be as exciting of a film for adults, but it is at least a film the whole family can gather around.
3) The Flock Theme
Perhaps the most endearing aspect of this movie is the theme of finding a flock. Reggie is ostracized by the turkeys on his farm, and he is lonely at the beginning of the film. He thinks for himself and sees things that others don’t, which is why he is not included. However, whenever he arrives in 1621, things begin to change. He finds a bunch of turkeys who are intelligent and a lot more like himself. It’s kind of weird to say, but for a story that focuses on the turkeys, it kind of has this nice, Thanksgiving-based message about finding and being with your family/flock. Sure, it’s a strange little film, but it is a nice sentiment in this time-traveling turkey picture.
So, have you ever watched Free Birds? What was your favorite part of it? Comment and let us know.
Be sure to join us next week as we launch a new blog series focused on none other than Christmas-based films.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.