Turkeys take flight and time travel in Thanksgiving comedy 'Free Birds'

Sat Nov 2, 2013 12:07pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the United States whets its appetite for a big tasty feast on this month's Thanksgiving holiday, two turkeys are on a mission to save their kind from slaughter in a new animated adventure, where they travel back in time to get the birds off the menu.

"Free Birds," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, follows the tale of Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson), a lone turkey pardoned by the U.S. president and saved from becoming Thanksgiving dinner. Reggie, accustomed to being alone, is forced into a time-traveling adventure by another turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson).

Together, the pair go back in time to the first Thanksgiving to try and stop turkeys from becoming part of the feast, and Reggie learns how to become a part of a team.

"I think that every kid goes through that pressure to fit in," Wilson said. "I think that the way this movie addresses that in thinking about your kind of fellow man, that's kind of a nice message in helping other people and not always putting yourself first."

The film comes ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on November 28, and according to the film's writer-director Jimmy Hayward, "Free Birds" fills a gap in the holiday film market.

"There are no Thanksgiving movies. Maybe that's for a reason, but it really struck me as that was missing," he said.

As Reggie and Jake travel back in time to the 1600s, they come across a flock of agile, fast turkeys already staying one step ahead of the human settlers looking to hunt them.

Comedienne Amy Poehler, best known as smart and goofy city council member Leslie Knope on NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," voices a similarly smart and endearing turkey named Jenny, who Reggie falls in love with.   Continued...

Children wear promotional turkey hats at the world premiere of the animated film "Free Birds" in Los Angeles, October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok