Thursday, January 30, 2014

Free Birds

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The epic solo in the song "Free Bird" feels ashamed to have its name be so similar to this movie.

Free Birds – 1 out of 5

Whatever drugs were used to make this film needs to be outlawed. Furthermore, the asshole producers and executives who decided that the entire film would be one giant product placement weaved into a heavy-handed moral that is too mature for kids to understand needs to be fired and kept away from the movie business for a lifetime. Usually animated films don’t piss me off but Free Birds irritated me to no end.

The movie made me look like this...only angrier and less turkey-like.

Tea Baggers might enjoy this film because the President
is white in the film.
Reggie (Owen Wilson) is a rebellious turkey who isn’t as dumb (his words) as the other turkeys. When Reggie reveals that they are only being fattened up by the farmer to become the centerpiece in the Thanksgiving feast, the turkeys give up Reggie for the sacrifice but, as all gosh darn luck would have it, he becomes the turkey that is pardoned by the President. It looks like Reggie is on his way to the sweet life until an oddly defiant turkey shows up at his door named Jake (Woody Harrelson). Jake takes Reggie to a secret facility that houses a time machine (at this point, I need to emphasize that I am not making this up and I urge you to stick with me on this one). Together, Jake and Reggie use the machine—named S.T.E.V.E. (and voice by, Oh My, George Takei)—and they travel back to the first Thanksgiving in order to stop having turkeys on the menu.

"Roads?  Where we're going we won't need roads...because we're turkeys
and we can't drive."

If you saw the trailer for this generic animated film and are not a wee widdle child—and possibly contained the thought, “I kinda want to see that.”—you might want to skip this review because I am going to throw out spoilers in this one. And since a lot of people act like spoilers are the worst thing in all of existence in this day and age when it’s literally impossible to keep anything a secret, I don’t want a bunch of angry Free Birds fans to go, “Spoiler Alert, brah! I wanted to be surprised by the film’s blatant commercialization it does at the end.”

A.I.M. infiltrates another animated film...

Everything about this movie (except one saving grace) is terrible and generic. We are living in a golden age of animated films where adults and kids can laugh as one and enjoy the colorful spectacles but Free Birds may have destroyed that age. First off, the film looks cheap as shit. While the animation isn’t inherently bad, the film doesn’t look much different from any generic 3D cartoon you might see on the Disney channel, Nickelodeon or in those budget bin DVD animated features that I’m 90% sure that no one purchases but very confused grandparents buying them for their grandkids. Nothing about the animation looks special or unique…and it only looks even cheaper when you compare it to something DreamWorks or Pixar would make. Hell, there are probably independent animated features made by random dudes on YouTube that look less cookie-cutter than Free Birds.

Dude, they totally stole those steps from Flight of the Navigator.

Then you have the painfully ridiculous story. Time travel with turkeys? I guess I will write that one off and say, “Well, if little kids find it entertaining, then it doesn’t matter,” but this movie decides it wants to throw in a heavy handed message and make some parallels with the turkeys and all but make them Native Americans. The symbolism isn’t subtle in the least…

Okay, we get it.  The turkeys are suppose to be Indians.

While, on paper, the points the writers are making aren’t exactly bad but the target audience for the film just isn’t going to get them. However, all the morals and lessons this film throws at you instantly become meaningless when you get to the end of the film and you have to endure the most ridiculous product placement in a kid’s film. Since the turkeys want the settlers and Native Americans to not eat their tasty bodies, Reggie introduces them to pizza…from Chuck E. “Fucking” Cheese’s.

Seriously, fuck you Free Birds. 

That’s right; the whole point of this film was to sell kids on pizza from a restaurant that comes equipped with a mechanical mouse that looks like he isn’t allowed within 500 of schools...and it has Skee-Ball (I actually like Skee-Ball). Up until this point, I was going to give the film a 2 and just settle on the fact it was an unimaginative work of fluff to make kids giggle with its terribly unfunny jokes (they even work in an Angry Birds gag that is more likely to fill a person with murderous rage than laughter…even a child would probably groan at that one) but once the blatant hocking of Chuck E. Cheese shows up, I instantly regretted sitting through the entire film and wanted to get my own time machine called S.T.E.V.E. and stop this film from ever happening and keep the creation of the pizza play palace from every being conceived. I get that product placement is a part of films and often I laugh at it but to have your entire film’s plot resolved by picking up some pies from a robot mouse that sings pizza-themed covers of established rock songs is just insulting to the viewer.

If only S.T.E.V.E.'s reactor went nuclear at the end of the movie...

The only redeeming factor to Free Birds is the film has a great cast and, despite the film being a complete worthless piece of turkey poo, they are giving their all and doing very well with their characters. However, with its stupid story, infuriating ending and heavy handed morals and themes that just FLY over the heads of their audience, great voicing from talented actors like Harrelson, Wilson, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Colm Meaney, Keith David, Dan Fogler and more, it’s just not enough to make this film even remotely passable.

Because pizza (buy pizza from Chuck E. Cheese) solves (buy pizza) everything (buy pizza)!

Free Birds isn’t a movie; it’s just a product that Chuck E. Cheese probably paid way too much to slap their name on and, even if you can ignore how the film is one gigantic time travelling paradox that takes no effort in resolving, you can’t ignore that the film was made for no other reason than to push cheese pizzas onto the Thanksgiving table. The concept is so stupid and misguided you would think PETA had a hand in it.

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