Free Birds (2013)

(On Cable TV, May 2015) The good news with animated films is that imagination is the only limit to what wonders they can conjure.  The bad news are that… sometimes, you end up with films as strangely conceived as Free Bird.  That probably sounds harsher than this Reel FX Creative Studio film deserves: Free Birds is the kind of animated comedy that you can watch without too much trouble, just letting the jokes land where they can.  But at some point, you have to take a look at the rather ugly turkey design (would it have killed the designer to at least nod in the direction of cuteness?), the ludicrous premise (turkeys go back in time to convince Americans not to eat them for thanksgiving), the obnoxious parallels between these imagined turkeys and real Native Americans and wonder –shouldn’t there be a better use of talent and resources than this particular project?  Even for a family film, the issue of talking animals being massacred for food can’t be trivialized easily, and once you throw in time-travel (under the auspices of the President of the United States, no less) you can hear the suspension of disbelief buckling under the weight of the accumulated incoherencies.  Still, Free Birds is neither painful nor dull: it may be an underachiever with weird notions, but it’s well-produced (the animation isn’t bad) and funny enough to please.  But there’s something missing to it, and so it remains firmly in the B-tier of animated features.

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