Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson) was the lucky turkey to receive a presidential pardon, but it only adds to his feelings of not being part of his flock. When he meets Jake (voiced by Woody Harrelson) however, Reggie is given a chance to stand up for turkeys everywhere, even in the past. Jake knows about a time travel device at a secret government base and he plans to use the device to venture back to the first Thanksgiving. After all, if he can alter the traditions of that dinner and take turkey off the menu, millions of turkeys will be spared. Jake and Reggie might make for quite an odd couple, but if the menu is going to be changed, they’ll have to work together. At the same time, Reggie finds himself drawn to Jenny (voiced by Amy Poehler), the daughter of the chieftain. All the while, the turkeys have to avoid the Pilgrims and keep themselves safe, or risk not breaking the tradition. Can Jake and Reggie make a real chance for turkeys everywhere and can Reggie find a place he truly belongs?
A movie about time traveling turkeys? While Free Birds isn’t as ambitious or plot driven as some of Pixar’s classic animated featured, it does provide solid entertainment. At its core, this is a buddy movie and as you can imagine, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson are quite the pair. The voice work is rock solid across the board, but I found Wilson and Harrelson to be the best of the lot, which is good since they’re the film’s focus. I do think younger viewers will find more to like more than adults, since the focus is on jokes over plot or character depth. Even so, Free Birds still makes a good choice for family viewing nights. The animation is great, with some lush visuals that are a pleasure to soak in. The character designs are effective and the attention to detail is remarkable, so the visuals are as rich as you’d expect. In the end, Free Birds is by no means an animation classic, but for families, it makes a worthy addition to your collection.
Video: How’s it look?
Free Birds is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. As with most animated features, this one looks excellent in HD. The visuals pop to life, with vivid colors and superb depth. The smallest visual cues are evident, so every feather on these turkeys is visible. I found no issues to complain about at all, this is a slick and polished visual presentation.
Audio: How’s it sound?
A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is present and while the movie sounds good, this isn’t reference level content. The basics are covered, as dialogue is crisp and the music sounds good, but there isn’t much power or depth to speak of. To be fair, I doubt anyone expects a audio powerhouse from Free Birds, but I think this could have been a more engaging soundtrack. This release also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
It could be said that Fox is “winging it” with their included supplemental package. Here’s what’s included.
Featurettes – A few, brief promotional featurettes are included. These examine the film’s music, the animation process, and a general look behind the scenes.
Music Video: Shake a Tail Feather – If you feel the need to get your groove on.