Free Birds

Free Birds
That’s right, we’re going back in time to 2009 to get Free Birds out of production.
Genre: Adventure

Animation Comedy

Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Produced By: Scott Mosier
Written By: Jimmy Hayward
Scott Mosier
Starring: Owen Wilson
Woody Harrelson
Amy Poehler
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Relativity Media
Release Date: November 1, 2013
Runtime: 91 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $55 million
Box Office: $110.4 million

Free Birds is a 2013 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film about two turkeys traveling back in time to prevent Thanksgiving. It was produced by Reel FX Creative Studios as its first theatrical fully animated feature film. Jimmy Hayward directed the film, which he also co-wrote with Scott Mosier, the film's producer. The film stars the voices of Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler with supporting roles done by George Takei, Colm Meaney, Keith David, and Dan Fogler. Originally titled Turkeys, and scheduled for 2014, the film was released on November 1, 2013, by Relativity Media.


Pardoned by the president, a lucky turkey (Owen Wilson) named Reggie gets to live a carefree lifestyle until fellow fowl Jake (Woody Harrelson) recruits him for a history-changing mission. Jake and Reggie travel back in time to the year 1621, just before the first Thanksgiving. The plan: Prevent all turkeys from ever becoming holiday dinners. Unfortunately, the two birds encounter colonist Myles Standish (Colm Meaney), out to capture feathered friends for all the hungry Pilgrims.

Why They Went Back In Time To Ruin Thanksgiving To Get Turkeys Back On The Menu

  1. Bad first impressions: The movie opens up with one of the worst disclaimers in a film to date with the bottom of it saying that talking turkeys are real, which by the way aren't, as this was only told as an unfunny joke and nothing else, which can give people signs that the film is already going to be bad just from the very start of it.
  2. Historical inaccuracies: The main problem with the movie is that it's completely unfaithful to the history of Thanksgiving as if the writers have never understood the first Thanksgiving or did any of its research before they wrote the script of this movie, as a result, some events in the 1621 timeline aren't well researched and it doesn't help the fact that the film has to put a disclaimer that says "The following film is a work of fiction. It is loosely based on historical events and is in no way meant to be historically accurate. Except for the talking turkeys. That part is totally real" right before the film start though the talking turkeys are fictional.
    • Myles Standish, for some reason, is portrayed as a villainous hunter which is incorrect since he was an active military adviser and farmer for Plymouth. Even the 1993 Animaniacs episode, Turkey Jerky had a purpose to make Myles Standish a hunter, the right way, unlike in this movie.
      • Speaking of, at least Mr. Peabody and Sherman made the concept of a time-traveling animated movie with historical figures way better as they're more faithful to their original counterparts (which was five months after Free Birds was released, being March 7, 2014).
    • Turkey wasn't the main Thanksgiving food in the first Thanksgiving, but rather in the 1940s, meaning that Reggie and Jake went to the wrong period of time.
    • Some weapons such as dynamites, friction matches, and percussion cap rifles were all invented in the 18th century and weren't around in the first thanksgiving, unlike this movie.
    • Chief Massasoit and the Indian tribes are portrayed as full-time friends to the Plymouth when in the actual timeline, the Indians are enemies-turned-friends to Plymouth, they're also not represented well in this movie as they only appeared in the climax and the ending.
      • For some reason, none of the female Indian tribes appeared in this movie and the tribes were reduced to male-only which comes off as sexist for the female Indian tribes in this movie.
    • To top it all off, Thanksgiving did not really become a holiday until 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for approximately 40 years advocating an official holiday, Lincoln set national Thanksgiving by proclamation for the final Thursday in November in celebration of the bounties that had continued to fall on the Union and for the military successes in the war, also calling on the American people, "with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience .. fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation... "Because of the ongoing Civil War, a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s. On October 31, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation changing the holiday to the next to last Thursday in November to boost the economy. The earlier date created an extra seven days for Christmas shopping since at that time retailers never began promoting the Christmas season until after Thanksgiving. But the late notice wreaked havoc on the holiday schedules of many people, schools, and businesses, and most Americans were not in favor of the change. Some of those who opposed dubbed the holiday "Franksgiving" that year. Some state governors went along with the change while others stuck with the original November 30 date for the holiday, and three states - Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas - observed both dates. The double Thanksgiving continued for two more years, and then on December 26, 1941, Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the official national Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November starting in 1942. Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect, the American observance of Columbus Day has coincided with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving.
  3. Almost some of the characters in this film can be bland, unlikable, pointless to the plot, or even rip-offs of characters from other films.
    • Reggie is an annoying and lazy pardoned turkey protagonist who was a really huge coward and jerk to anyone (especially Jake), watch Mexican telenovelas on TV, and eats pizza all day which its ingredients (mostly toppings) are made from animals even though he’s a vegan turkey who dislikes turkeys being turned into food although he has been shown eating a meat-free pizza slice, tells one of the female farm turkeys that her wings must be tired from looking like she came straight out of heaven, getting treated like dirt throughout the movie, and later thinks that Jenny is the only reason he wants to fight for turkey freedom which makes him a hypocritical simp in this movie to the point where he makes Jake a much better protagonist by comparison.
      • On top of that, he's mostly a ripoff of Ginger from Chicken Run (only gender-swapped), Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy, Elliot from Open Season, Kuzco from the Emperor’s New Groove, Blu from Rio, and Ash Fox and Kristofferson Sliverfox from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Only far less likable and much more rude, annoying, lazier, and egotistical.
    • Jake (while likable and his backstory was interesting) is a bit of an idiot who treats Reggie like dirt after kidnapping him from Camp David and was responsible for the hunters leading the way to the colony caused by the gunpowder from Myles' horn that he stole, resulting in them burning the tree into flames, capturing almost all of the turkeys, and Jenny and Ranger's father, Chief Boardbeak's death in the fire, causing the turkeys to fight back the hunters for their freedom when Jenny becomes chief and got off scot-free aside from being called out by Reggie and Ranger.
    • Likewise, Jenny's brother, Ranger, while likable, is somewhat a stereotypical tough brother type who is basically Jake with a blue head who is only there just to rival Jake and an excuse to fill some scenes with slapstick humor and show which one another is better.
    • Myles Standish is a weak, poorly written, and stereotypical hunter who is not much of a threat except for the turkeys, not only he's inaccurate to his real historical self (as mentioned earlier), but he's also a pathetic rip-off of Shaw from Open Season, Franklin Bean from Fantastic Mr. Fox, and lesser to an extent, Mrs. Tweety from Chicken Run, since Myles and the latter two are animals farmers who turn animals into food as well as him and Shaw being hunters who have similar moderation which is to hunt down the animal protagonists for reasons (hunting season after Boog untie Elliot from Shaw's truck, Mr. Fox stealing food from Bean and his men's factories (likewise, Bean and Myles are both turkey hunters), Miss. Tweety turning chickens from her farm into pies, and feeding Myles' hungry village for the first Thanksgiving feast) and going as far as destroying the main characters' homes, resulting in the animal characters fighting back for their freedom, also despite being the main antagonist, he doesn't have that much more amount of screen time, since he appeared after 25 minutes into the film and gets much less focus in some scenes featuring the Plymouth villagers, making his role as the main villain very underused to the point where the Native American turkeys (especially Jenny and Ranger) and even Myles’ troops have more screen time than him and they appear after the first 25 minutes.
    • The red turkeys from the beginning are very hypocritically stupid (according to Reggie) red neck stereotypes who acted racist towards Reggie instead of letting him join the flock just because he's a light purplish turkey, yet they let the old, brown turkey in their flock and don't act racist towards him as they did to Reggie. Most of them don't receive any comeuppance for their actions towards Reggie.
    • The Hazmats are rip-offs of the 2319 CDA agents from Monsters, Inc. and the Stormtroopers from the Star Wars franchise, only with their designs and humor being copied straight from Escape from Planet Earth (another 2013 animated film), while that film has their funny moments, the Hazmats here, are used as anti-turkey joke fodders who are there for filler.
    • The President's Daughter is highly spoiled and unlikable since she cries like a spoiled brat on live TV just because her father wouldn't let her keep Reggie as a pet just for her to treat him like dirt and sleeps when she says "I'm tired now" making her a filler Mary Sue.
    • Chief Massasoit and the human Indian tribes barely have any purpose in the film other than approving pizza as the main Thanksgiving food, and the fact that they had some major potential for the story makes it all the worst given how said the potential of their roles is completely wasted.
    • The same could be said for some of the turkeys such as Justy, the old farm Turkey, Danny and his brother, and of course, Amos (who is a Mexican stereotype) and Furley barely have any purpose in the film as well and are only there just for filler.
  4. Bad writing with unoriginal plotlines and premise that have copied elements from a good number of better films, most notably Chicken Run, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Open Season, Rio, Pocahontas, Back to the Future, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and even the Animaniacs Thanksgiving episode, Turkey Jerky.
    • This movie also suffered from overused clichés, such as the "main character gets bullied for being different" cliché since Reggie got bullied by the red farm turkeys in the beginning.
  5. The movie had a somewhat troubled production history as Reel FX faced some constant executive meddling during the film’s production time: It was officially announced in June 2009 as Time Traveling Turkeys, nearly two years before production began, with an intended release date of November 2014, thus only giving it three and a half years to mature. However, after Mr. Peabody and Sherman was delayed to March 2014 to avoid competition with other films that came out around the same time (especially another animated film at the time, Frozen), it’s distributor, Relativity Media, decided to push the movie back to a year earlier in November, nearly losing an entire year of production which could’ve given more time on the post production of the film, not because of Relativity wanting the film to be released in time for Thanksgiving since it’s production was nearly completed in that summer, but to maximize profit from the box office. Additionally, original director Ash Brannon stepped aside from the project to work on Rock Dog, early concepts (especially the ones from John Kricfalusi of Ren & Stimpy fame) being abandoned and never used, original screenwriter Craig Mazin being kicked off from production thus leaving Jimmy Hayward and Scott Mosier (known for the Jay and Silent Bob franchise) to be screenwriters of the film which resulted in the script to be entirely rewritten (though he was credited as Special Thanks) having less than four months of post production before its November 2013 release date, and went through two title changes (Turkeys and later Free Birds), which shows that the production, despite its 4-year development, was a bit rushed in terms of writing and animation.
  6. Some shameless product placement such as the day being saved by Chuck E. Cheese's being served as a plot device, Univision, CCC News, BNN, as well as the appearance of Old Navy, Fossil, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Auntie Anne's company logos on a Government facility map which feels very out of place for a Reel FX animated movie.
    • Speaking of the former, the movie can sometimes be an advertisement for Chuck E Cheese branded pizza, especially the climax where Reggie and the pizza delivery guy give the human Pilgrims and Indians pizza even though Chuck E Cheese’s was a served-in only restaurant that doesn’t even deliver food including pizza at the time this movie was released (even though they start delivering food under Pasqually's Pizza and Wings as well as under their own name in 2018, 5 years after this movie was released) and also did the TV commercial to promote the movie, but still.
  7. Very anachronistic ending: the first Thanksgiving has Chuck E Cheese branded pizza as the main Thanksgiving tradition even though they both don’t even exist at the time the first Thanksgiving takes place in 1621, but given the fact that pizza was invented in Italian in 1889 and Chuck E Cheese was later founded in 1977, 268 and 356 years after the first Thanksgiving which further makes the 1621 timeline even more barely researched in terms of the film’s script.
    • Sequel bait: Not only that, but even the post-credits scene where Jake returns to 1621 and tells the entire flock including Reggie and Jenny about the Turducken after finding out in the future (most likely the 1980s where the dish was invented) felt like it's been rushed and is nothing more than just to set up a sequel-bait for a second movie that will very likely never happen given the movie’s negative reception, resulting in the post-credits scene to never be resolved as well as being told as an unfunny joke about a turducken.
  8. Several sequences seem to serve no reason to be in the film at all, and thus come across as filler that was only there to pad out its 91 minute runtime. Examples of the padding include:
    • The Jake and Ranger rivalry scenes, most notably their dancing scene in the forest when they're supposed to scout the fort which take up a minute and a half of their assignment, especially compared to the scenes involving Reggie and Jenny's assignment to swing the traps.
      • Speaking of Jake and Ranger's rivalry, the scene where the two punched their carbuncles while they're fighting one another can be too painful for a kids' movie.
    • The romance subplot between Reggie and Jenny.
    • The human scenes in the secret base where S.T.E.V.E formerly lives took up entirely of the scene of Reggie and Jake finding a time machine.
    • The plot of Reggie trying to find his flock since he was treated badly by the red farm turkeys growing up.
  9. The film, more than feeling like a historical film, feels like an anti-vegan and anti-Thanksgiving propaganda for America (ironically, this film is made in the United States, and most of the crew involved aren’t even vegan, to begin with) as the premise of two turkeys stopping Thanksgiving and its message is very offensive to vegans and people who enjoyed Thanksgiving, to the point where it spawned a bit of controversy before and after its release, even gone as far as having a Slate article surrounding the controversy itself.
  10. Misleading Title: Despite being called Free Birds, a good portion of the 91-minute film focuses on the human characters which are just pure filler (especially the hazmat scenes) and contrasted the film's title.
  11. Some scenes might've been put at very inappropriate timing, a great example are when Reggie and Jake went the wrong way to the time machine, the human scenes were shown during the turkey parts which resulted in it never explained how Reggie and Jake decided to go back to the map and follow the correct line to the time machine.
    • Another example of this is the aftermath of the attack at the village being shown before Reggie could even catch up to Jenny up at the tree rather than before the former, along with Jake, Amos, and Furley could head back to the underground tree colony, which is somewhat confusing since the villagers noticed the fire and weapons being destroyed and Myles even lights up the trail of gunpowder before the turkeys got back to the colony and yet the entire turkey scene acted like all of this never happen.
  12. Immature humor which tries too hard to be funny to the point that some of them involved inappropriate, offensive, or just plain stupid jokes (in a movie for kids, by the way as PG-rated film (or G-rated in Australia) including but not limited to;
    • Some butt shots of Jake and Ranger, especially during the scene where they fight in the turkeys' hideout and when Reggie bumps into Jake when he slides down to the colony which is really inappropriate for a PG-rated (or you guess it, G-rated) film.
    • The infamous scene where Reggie gets a nut bolt in his eye while Jake badly distracts the Hazmats, causing them to notice the former screaming.
    • Reggie mocking Jake for thinking that the Great Turkey is real and his mission to save the turkeys from being Thanksgiving food which makes the former a hypocrite since he doesn’t like Turkeys being made into food yet he mocks Jake for disliking Turkeys being made into food due to his mother and the turkeys being in a factory.
    • An inappropriate scene where Reggie mistakenly hears Jenny’s danger alert about the hunters’ dogs for a fantasy about them being dogs while in a sexual pose after being saved from the traps.
    • Native American and Indian stereotypes, mainly from some turkeys and the Indian humans who are just there just to make pizza as the main Thanksgiving food (as mentioned earlier).
    • A Indian man tied two pizzas around both his crotch and butt, causing the hunters' dogs to chase him.
    • The pointless running gag of Jenny's eye going numb was only there just for Jenny to have a characterization.
    • Though rare, there are also some pop culture references such as Angry Birds and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (in which this movie rip off).
      • Speaking of, according to TV Tropes and other sources, there was meant to be an Angry Birds tie-in game just like Rio, but Rovio was already busy with the second Star Wars-themed game.
  13. The movie can be mean-spirited at times such as Reggie betraying Jake after Chief Broadbeak's death by not letting him enter the time machine, saying "Maybe when you're smart, you'll come with me" when it's actually the other way around (sort of) while it's understandable since Jake was the one who let the hunters lead right to the turkeys' colony with the gunpowder in the horn as well as treating the former like crap like the red-headed turkeys he had to suffer at the farm he formerly lives as mentioned earlier.
  14. Although the animation is decent, it’s somewhat a noticeable downgrade from Reel FX’s previous works since this may have the weakest animation even for Reel FX standards.
    • The color palette looks washed-out and sometimes unpleasant to look at when compared to other works from Reel FX (especially the Book of Life, Rumble, Scoob, UglyDolls, and even older ones like the first two direct-to-video Open Season sequels released in 2009 and 2011) which had bright and vertical colors.
    • Some noticeable animation errors such as the model layering issues, the turkeys' feet feels out of place for darken shading in some flooring, and the face paint on the turkeys' faces disappearing, this is somewhat understandable since this was Reel FX's first animated movie, and due to the production being a bit rushed for November 2013 despite its four-year development.
    • Some of the textures, in the case of the bushes and the hunters' dogs, can feel out of place for a 2013 animated film and felt more suited for a PlayStation 2, GameCube, or Original Xbox game cut scene from the 2000s.
    • Additionally, just like Reel FX’s older films like Open Season 3, many assets and character models (mainly the turkeys) are lazily reused for extra or background characters, two great examples are;
      • Ranger, Jenny’s brother, reuses Jake’s model with the head of Chief Boardbeak except for the change of beak size, the lack of wrinkles, the addition of feathers on his head, and is colored blue with the body of Jake to the point where people like ToonGrin call him “Blue Jake”.
      • The fat background emo kid was reused for a pilgrim kid with different colors.
  15. The movie's logic is rather messed-up and confusing at best, as most of it doesn't make any sense and will leave people scratching their own heads, such as in the post-credits scene where Jake holds both a Duck and a Chicken, which by the way aren't even in the slight bit of context anthropomorphic like the Turkeys are, which by this logic Turkeys the only humanoid birds in the movie's universe and every other bird to be generic as all likely, which makes no sense at all as to why the other bird species to not be anthropomorphic at all and makes the Turkeys seem like the more fleshed-out species rather than every other bird species displayed in the film.
  16. Similar to films like Minions and Yogi Bear, the movie feels the need to include a narrator (told by Reggie) during the opening scene, which demonstrates that the film has no grasp of the idea of “Show, don’t tell”, which many other animated films, have used to great effect. To make things worse, the film dispenses its narrator after 9 minutes, and he doesn’t show up again until the scene where all the turkeys, Pilgrims, and the Indians having pizza for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.
  17. False advertising: The DVD/Blu-Ray cover and some promotion images show that the film takes place at the red turkey farm, yet most of the movie takes place in 1621, also the farm that was on the DVD/Blu-Ray cover only appears in the first few minutes of the movie.
    • Also, despite being the main plot point of the film, the 1621 timeline, especially with the Native American Turkeys like Jenny and humans like Myles Standish, aren't represented very well in a lot of marketing material as with the expectation of the trailers, they don't appear in a lot of the posters (aside from a poster featuring Jenny), commercials, cover arts, and even solving them at the back of the DVD/Blu Ray covers, which mostly relies on Reggie and Jake, which can confuse people since they think that this movie was going to set in the Modern times, and it's also very disrespectful to 1621 characters who appear in the movie, especially that Jenny, a native American turkey, is the tritagonist of the movie so there's no reason for the main 1621 plot point to be minor in marketing.
  18. Unimaginably weak final battle. When Myles and his troops were about to get the turkeys (including Jake and Chief Boardbeak's children, Jenny and Ranger) killed with cannonballs, a wormhole (which was later revealed to be Reggie and Steve) opens in the sky, sucking Myles in which makes the climax felt like Steve done all that instead of the main turkeys. The scene before the wormhole appears can be very upsetting for younger viewers and fans of animals due to its dark tone and the creepy music playing in the background.
    • On that topic, it can get fairly dark for a kids' movie, such as Myles and his troops attacking the tree colony by setting it on fire.
  19. Mediocre and uncanny character designs, with some of them feeling very unoriginal and stolen from other media.
    • While decent, the turkey designs could have been more realistic to blend with the environment or the other way around (the environment could have been simplified to match the style of the turkey designs). Because of this, the turkey designs look out of place in the environment, especially in the two Jake and Ranger scenes where their cartoony designs clashed with the chipmunks' realistic designs.
    • The President's Daughter looks identical to Darla Sherman from Finding Nemo without the braces and wearing a slightly different outfit.
    • The Hazmat Guys look very similar to the ones from Escape from Planet Earth (as mentioned earlier).
    • The pink-haired girl on the tv the President's daughter is watching looks like a recolored mixture of Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls and Pippi Longstocking.
    • The hunters' dogs, as mentioned earlier looks very out of place for a 2013 animated film compared to the turkeys as their fur textures look like something out of an early PlayStation 2, GameCube, or original Xbox game with their designs felt like rejected dog characters from a DreamWorks Animation or Sony Pictures Animation film rather than a 2013 Reel FX film.
    • The Platypus with the magic wand looks like Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb except without the hat and beak being colored blue.
    • Myles Standish looks like a cross between John Marston from Red Dead Redemption and Lemmy from Motörhead to the point where he felt like he should be more suited for Red Dead Redemption, a parody from adult cartoon series like Robot Chicken, or a historical western film rather than a villain in the 16th century-styled Plymouth.
    • On top of that, the human designs, are somewhat uncanny in contrast to the environment.
  20. Weak direction skill of Jimmy Hayward, the same director behind both 2008’s Horton Hears a Who and 2010's box office flop Jonah Hex and as of 2022, this was his last directing film to date.
    • It's more glaring knowing that Jimmy Hayward also co-directed the former and Jimmy's direction in that movie is really good.
  21. Several plot holes, such as Reggie being revealed as the Great Turkey by Steve and giving the President's doorknob to Young Jake, despite Jake already knowing that he saw the Great Turkey and having the President's doorknob, which by the way, was already on his door when Jake kidnapped Reggie, which is very confusing.
    • How did the Reggie clones manage to travel back in time when Reggie stays with the flock in 1621 at the end of the movie?
    • How did Steve, an egg-shaped time machine, know Reggie, Jake, and Jenny talking when they first met him?
  22. This movie is somewhat a terrible way for Reel FX to start making their original animated films, considering this movie's flaws and 4-year troubled production history caused by executive meddling (as mentioned earlier), even without their next film, The Book of Life which is a major improvement over this film (though Reel FX went downhill with their recent film, Rumble, continuing its dark age), it still would have been a terrible way for Reel FX to start making original animated films in general.
  23. The fact that the Turkeys are portrayed as mini-humans with bird-like features is rather creepy than funny, since many of them have humanoid bodies and limbs, can do things as humans do, can speak very human-like, and have the same size as a human child as shown in one scene, which can give off some uncanny valley vibes that are unintentional at best.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some of the characters are likable and well-developed such as Jake (despite his idiot nature and rivalry with Ranger being there for filler), Jenny (who is actually a well-written strong female character who has given some character development, especially since she becomes chief of the flock after her father's death), Ranger (despite being a blue copy of Jake), Steve, Chief Broadbeak, and William Bradford (who isn't Flanderized in this movie, unlike Myles Standish).
    • Even Reggie, while being unlikeable most of the time, can be likable at times, especially in the beginning before he got pardoned by the President.
  2. Good voice acting from most of the characters, even the unlikable ones, especially Reggie and Myles Standish have really great voice acting.
  3. Some emotional scenes that can make this movie watchable at best such as Jake's backstory, Chief Broadbeak's funeral after his death during the fire, and Ranger and Jenny choosing which one of them has the other half of the shell will be the leader of the flock.
    • There are a few funny moments here and there such as Jake mistaking the wheelbarrow for a time machine while wearing a flower pot on his head or Myles saying " But Mommy! I don't want to wear short pants" while sleeping with his eyes open.
  4. Despite its flaws, the animation is very decent for 2013 standards which is very impressive, even for Reel FX's first animated movie.
  5. Fantastic soundtrack from Dominic Lewis as this was his very first theatrical film to be credited as composer, to the point where he was nominated for Annie Award for Music in a Feature Production.
    • Social Distortion's cover of Up Around the Bend and MattyBRaps's Back in Time are both catchy songs.
  6. The idea of two turkeys traveling in time to get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu sounds like a good idea but failed due to the problems listed above.
  7. "We're going back in time to the first Thanksgiving to get turkeys off the menu. That's right, we're going back in time to the first Thanksgiving to get turkeys off the menu!"



Free Birds received negative reviews from critics whom they criticized its comedy, story (including the ending), hidden vegan message, and unfavorably compared it with the 2000 animated film Chicken Run, which was also an animated film about birds trying to escape from being turned into food, it is considered to be not only one of, if not, the weakest films Reel FX has ever produced, but also a poor way for them to start making their own original projects. It has an approval rating of 20% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 91 reviews, and an average rating of 4.30/10. The site's consensus reads: "Technically proficient yet creatively moribund, Free Birds begs unfortunate comparisons with the dim-witted fowl that inspired it." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, has calculated a score of 38 based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". It currently has a 2.1 on Letterboxd, making it the second lowest-rated animated film Reel FX has ever produced on the site, only behind Open Season 3, and also a 5.8/10 on IMDb.

Fortunately, Reel FX eventually learned from the mistakes that Free Birds has caused and would release its next film, The Book of Life, which is a major step up from their first film, even though their third film, Rumble received mixed reviews due to the similar problems with this movie, meaning that the damage is already done.


  • Apparently, there was meant to be an Angry Birds tie-in game just like Blue Sky Studios' Rio trilogy, but Rovio was already busy with the second Star Wars-themed game. The Angry Birds line in the movie may be an orphaned reference.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show creator and animator, John Kricfalusi was brought on early in the production as a conceptual artist. He submitted numerous character designs and sequences, none of which were used in the film, but are available for viewing on his blog.
  • This is the first film to use the updated Relativity Media logo, used in all current releases afterward.

External links


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