Free Birds Blu-ray Review: A Nice Family Film That Needed a Few More Laughs

Every year millions of turkeys are content on sitting around the farm letting themselves get fattened up for the Thanksgiving holiday. But Reggie (Owen Wilson) is the one turkey that stands out from the rest. He realizes why the farmer is fattening them all up and tries to warn his flock. With the easy lifestyle and as much food as they can eat, nobody is listening to what Reggie has to say. The more he tries to warn them the more ostracized he becomes from the group.

But fortunately for him fate is about to step in and change his life forever. The President of the United States arrives at the farm and chooses him to be the pardoned turkey of the year. Happy with his good fortune, Reggie looks forward to settling into his new home at Camp David. But before he can get too comfortable, Jake (Woody Harrelson), a slightly crazed turkey claiming to be a spy working for the “Great Turkey”, abducts him and drags him to a secret military bunker. His orders are to find Reggie and take him back in time to the very first Thanksgiving where they will attempt to get turkeys removed from the menu forever.

Using a time machine named S.T.E.V.E. (George Takei), the duo find themselves back in Plymouth where a strong tribe of turkeys try to keep one step ahead of Myles Standish (Colm Meaney) and his group of hunters who want nothing more than to feed their starving colony with delicious turkeys. It’s going to take something extraordinary to keep the ravenous humans from hunting them all down, and Reggie is going to have to figure out what that is.

The film is presented in Widescreen with a 1.85:1 ratio and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The video is very clear with lots of bright and vivid colors that pop out from the screen. The audio is very thick and rich, letting you hear all of the action and enjoy the film’s score that was done by a full orchestra and written by composer Dominic Lewis, who has a special feature dedicated to him and his process.

The Combo Pack contains two discs, one with the DVD version and the other with the Blu-ray. There is also a digital version that you can download from a website.

There are five fairly short special features. The funniest one is “Birds Flipping History,” which is shot as if you are watching a school play about the First Thanksgiving. But in this version the history has been changed to correspond with the ending of the film, including a visit from the Great Turkey. “Winging it: Animators in Action” is also entertaining as the animators demonstrate that they acted out much of the film beforehand so they could get a better perspective on how to animate the action.

The storyline is original and the animation is well done. It would have been nice if the characters had been developed a little more, especially the human settlers who were very one-dimensional. The ratio of action to humor was a little one-sided. There were definitely some funny parts, but it could have benefited from a little more comedy. In fact, if it hadn’t been so long since I had seen the trailer, I probably would have been really annoyed because the funniest parts of the film are in the trailer.

Taking everything into consideration, Free Birds is an enjoyable film. It is entertaining and I’d be willing to watch it again.

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Todd Karella

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