Free Birds is a 2013 animated holiday film that was panned by critics and viewers for having a predictable premise and low-brow writing.
Reggie the turkey has always been afraid of Thanksgiving because turkeys have always been on the menu, but his attempts to warn his farm-based flock constantly fall on deaf ears and has made him an outcast. When the other turkeys finally realize what is going on, they throw Reggie outside in an attempt to save themselves. In a surprise twist of fate, he winds up being named the "pardoned turkey" by the President of the United States and is subsequently taken to Camp David. Although initially hesitant, Reggie soon eases into a routine of doing nothing but enjoying pizza delivered to him by the "Pizza Dude" and watching Mexican telenovelas.
He gets bag-kidnapped by Jake, a member of the Turkey Freedom Front who tells him that a "Great Turkey" told him to find Reggie and take him back to the first Thanksgiving with him to take turkeys off the menu once and for all. They then infiltrate the base where a time machine is located. Despite interference by federal officials and an attempt by Reggie to trick him back to the surface, Jake manages to commandeer an egg-shaped time machine with an A.I. software named S.T.E.V.E (Space Time Exploration Vehicle Envoy). Jake instructs S.T.E.V.E. to time-travel back to the same day in 1621, three days before the first Thanksgiving. Once there, they are ambushed by colonial hunters led by Myles Standish, but they are quickly rescued by native turkeys led by Chief Broadbeak and his two children, Ranger and Jenny.
Broadbeak explains that the turkeys in the area have been forced underground since the settlers came and that they cannot risk fighting back without the settlers taking them. The next day, Broadbeak orders Jake with Ranger to spy on the settlers and Reggie with Jenny to spring all the hunting traps the humans set up. Despite initial hostility, Ranger and Jake find out that the settlers have already begun preparations for Thanksgiving and where they keep their weapons. Meanwhile, Jenny believes in Reggie for lying about being from the future and is impressed with his accidental unorthodox way of springing the traps. However, they are soon intercepted by Standish and Reggie is forced to get her in orbit over the planet aboard S.T.E.V.E., validating everything he said in the process. Reggie asks Jenny to go back to the future with him once everything blows over, but she refuses to leave the flock no matter how much she likes him. Jake then drags Reggie away and tells him he has a plan to attack the settlers. However, Reggie has gotten sick of all his improbable stories and threatens to leave.
Desperate, Jake tells him that this trip was more about him making up for his failure to save turkey eggs while escaping a turkey-fattening facility when he was young, maintaining that the Great Turkey convinced him to go through with this. While still reluctant to believe what he said, Reggie still goes along with the plan. They manage to use gunpowder to destroy the weapons shack, but Jake inadvertently leaves a gunpowder trail back to the tree the turkeys are hiding under. Standish and his men flush the turkeys out from underground, capturing enough for the feast. Broadbeak sacrifices his life to get the remaining turkeys into the tide pool. Afterward, Reggie returns home, where he discovers from S.T.E.V.E. that he is the Great Turkey. Jenny is sworn in as the new chief and orders the remaining turkeys to prepare an attack on the settlers.
Jenny, Jake and Ranger lead the turkeys in an attack on the settlement just as Chief Massasoit and his tribe of Indians arrive. Inspired, Reggie goes back in time to stop the attack, inadvertently trapping Standish in the time stream. Through S.T.E.V.E. and the Pizza Dude, Reggie convinces the settlers and the Indians that pizza is a more acceptable food than turkeys, taking them off the Thanksgiving menu entirely. Reggie stays with Jenny while Jake takes S.T.E.V.E. in order to look for new adventures.
In the mid-credits, Jake returns moments after leaving Reggie and Jenny. With a chicken and duck in his wings, Jake starts to tell every turkey present about the turducken.
- Reggie is an obnoxious and mean-spirited jerk to the only people that were nice to him (Except Jenny) and is EXTREMELY unlikeable.
- The President's Daughter treats Reggie like garbage.
- Unnecessary product placement like Chuck E. Cheese's pizza.
- A dumb story with a horrendous ending.
- Poor one-dimensional characters except Jake, Chief Broadbeak and the time machine S.T.E.V.E.
- Stupid and juvenile humor (Like Jake and Ranger fighting and having an out-of-nowhere dance number).
- The villain, Miles Standish, is completely different from his real-life counterpart and is trying way to hard to be threatening. This also seems like the creators are trying to make fun of him, by making him the antagonist, while his real-life counterpart was a great person. Also, the scene where he gets sucked into the portal is very insulting to history.
- The Hazmats and President, for some reason, didn't recognize Reggie when he and Jake were running.
- It wastes good celebrities' talents.
- The people in the yellow suits rip off 2319 from the actually good Monsters, Inc.
- Nice animation.
- A few scenes are funny (Such as Reggie dismantling the traps while being flinged around).
- Just like Eight Crazy Nights, the movie has wasted potential. The idea of two rival turkeys traveling back in time and working together to stop the first Thanksgiving Dinner is interesting, but the movie didn't handle it really good.
- Jake has a very touching backstory.
- The voice acting is nice.
- The baby turkeys are SO CUTE.
- John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren & Stimpy, was involved in early development of this film.
- S.T.E.V.E. is funny.
- Jake is actually a pretty good character.
- The concept of how the turkeys lived during the 1600s is pretty interesting.