FREE BIRDS – Parent Movie Review by Southern Outdoor Cinema
MPAA RATING: PG
CAST:Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson
Turkey and pumpkin pie are things that we have grown naturally accustomed to enjoying on Thanksgiving but for Reggie, changing history has become his mission.
For those who have not yet had the opportunity to see the movie Free Birds, Reggie (Owen Wilson) is a very intelligent, loner turkey whose sole purpose in life is to get turkeys off of the Thanksgiving menu. He tries everything to get his fellow turkeys to understand that their constant all-you-can-eat buffets are not because they are special but rather because they are being fattened up for Thanksgiving. You see, the entire turkey population has been led to believe that once they have eaten their fill, and are nice and plump, they get to go to turkey paradise.
In the midst of it all, something strange happens to Reggie and he is removed from the flock by the presidents daughter. To Reggie’s surprise, he ends up with the “traditional pardon of the turkey” which is given to a single turkey each year. He is spoiled with cable TV and more pizza than he knows what to do with but the party comes to a sudden end. Reggie is grabbed by a bulky bird by the name of Jake (Woody Harrelson) who attempts to convince him that he is actually part of an organization called Turkey Freedom Front or TFF for short.
Jake goes on to explain that he has been commissioned by someone called “The Great Turkey” to lead an important mission back in time. That’s right, the mission is to travel to the time when turkeys first became the main course on the Thanksgiving dinner table and change history at all costs. This mission would involve pilgrim colonists and a tribe of Native American yes, turkeys.
At this point, Reggie is having trouble believing Jake’s feather brained scheme but soon realizes that it is no scheme at all. He stumbles onto a secret elevator that leads to a military complex located deep underground and wouldn’t you know it, a time machine. Confused, Reggie is forced to take a much closer look at Jake’s plans and inevitably ends up rethinking his current take on the so called history changing mission.
The Positive Elements
Throughout the majority of the movie, the story line remains the same. Reggie wants nothing more than to save his fellow turkeys from their Thanksgiving fate while Jake, who shares this desire, has the ability to do something about it. Their goals are the same and they work hard at bringing a tribe of turkeys together to assist with the mission.
The tribe of turkeys that Reggie and Jake encounter are a peaceful tribe who believe in defending, protecting, and surviving rather than fighting. While this might be a very positive position, it is one that is soon put to the test; a test that quickly changes their entire belief system.
The Spiritual Elements
The time machine that Reggie and Jake use to change history is referenced, more than once during the movie, in a way that could be construed as anti-spiritual. There is one point where Reggie uses the egg-shaped craft to convince humankind that he is actually a “god-like” deity. There is another point where the craft is referred to as a form of magic. And there is a comment made by Reggie’s fellow turkeys, in the beginning of the movie, insinuating that Reggie could very well be the “anticorn”.
The Sexual Elements
Reggie ends up falling for a female member of the colonial turkey tribe named Jenny. Jenny (Amy Poehler) begins to fall for Reggie’s intelligence, and kind heart, despite his lack of good, turkey looks. Together, they end up “rubbing waddles” which can be taken in a very sexual way. An off-screen kiss is clearly heard after “rubbing waddles” was referenced.
The Violent Elements
The biggest element of violence is in the impending war that takes place between the human colonists and the turkey tribe. As with any war scene, there are numerous acts of violence and weapons to make it even more realistic. The turkeys take quite a beating but do eventually recover and make a comeback. During this comeback, flaming pumpkins are catapulted at the heads of the humans.
The Drug and Alcohol Elements
While many might debate whether or not cigarettes are actually a drug, or not, is not the issue. What is the issue is that Standish, one of the colonists, appears several times throughout the movie with a cigarette in his mouth.
There are a number of additional elements that play into the movie Free Birds and parents will make their own decisions as to whether or not to take their children to see it at all. There will more than likely be numerous innocent, childlike questions following a movie like this and how these questions are answered might very well be much more important than we realize. The bottom line is that Free Birds is indeed the Thanksgiving movie of 2013 however, the question is how does it tie into what we want our children to take from Thanksgiving, and its true meaning, this year.
All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema