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“Sausage Party:” offensive, filthy and hilarious

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Upon walking out of the theater, there was a strange feeling my mind had. It was almost like my eyes swelled up to the size of Beaker’s from The Muppets. There is no other movie I can think of that left me feeling amazed and shocked at the same time. In many ways, reviewing “Sausage Party” is hard because this is truly a movie that must be seen to be believed. It’s unapologetic, its stereotypical, its dirty to the max, its a cesspool of swears and innuendos, its insane but I enjoyed every minute of it.

The basic gist is that food in a grocery store comes to life every day with the hope of being picked. You see, each product believes that when they are chosen, they are taken to a heaven of their own to enjoy. Right off the bat, you can tell exactly what kind of movie this is. Much like with “South Park” or “The Simpsons Movie,” its a cartoony and dumb concept that holds a sharp and clever commentary. And even if this is an idea that has been done before in dumb (“Foodfight”) and smart places (“The Brave Little Toaster.”)

“Sausage Party” becomes more of a view on religion and beliefs without taking a brutal beating to it. Much like with Monty Python, the comedy on the subject matter is handled well by taking satirical jabs as opposed to stepping out and making mean ramblings. One such example is a Jewish bagel arguing with a Muslim lavash about how different they are. But not by what kind of product they appear as, they argue about different beliefs and the common misconceptions with their religious customs. As the lavash dreams how he wishes to be bathed by 100 bottles of virgin oil, the bagel disagrees with the “pure nature” he proclaims. A little predicable but the delivery makes it worth the laughs.

Seth Rogan plays the lead named Frank, a sausage who gets lost from his cart during a accident. While seeking to be back on the shelf, Frank starts to question not only his purpose, but also the value of why food exists. Even if we know what happens to food, the joke is funnier when we see his reaction to the terrible truth and wonder just how he will coupe with it. As always, Rogan is a lot of fun bring a manic energy while knowing when to be charming and likable.

Kristen Wigg is surprisingly funny voicing Frank’s girlfriend Brenda, a hot dog bun who wishes for…she’s a hot dog bun. What do you think is on her mind? Perhaps interesting is how Wigg’s character is used for a counterpoint as Brenda feels the humans (or “Gods” as they are referred to) are not ones to mess with still having faith in the food’s belief system. Even more startling is Wigg’s raunchy style of comedy is let loose to some welcome and hilarious lines. Coming of off “Ghostbusters,” I felt this movie suited her better to allow more breathing room for her shtick. Her character is more than a one note walking “hot dog in bun” joke. Brenda starts to question if the value of life should truly be questioned while also wondering if morale code should be worth sticking to.

Speaking of which, the best way to describe the movie and its comedy is very much if “The Brave Little Toaster” was directed by John Waters. Just when you think the opportunity to joke about sentient groceries are wearing thin, another joke lurks around the corner unexpectedly. There are moments in “Sausage Party” where on paper is sounds dumb, but then you see the clever side of it once it gets executed. This is notable in a scene when one of the sauasges (Micheal Cera) has an encounter with a druggie who goes on a “bad trip.” Every joke seeks a good opportunity into what kind of life this addict has along with the kind of things that would happen on a drug high. It hits bullseye without missing a single beat.

The only problems I have with “Sausage Party” are surprisingly minor. In this universe, people can’t see the food walk and talk unless are drugged up. This leads to a curious question of how the products look in the eyes of a human being in reality as opposed to the reality of food. This is evident in a gag when two baby carrots try to run and it shows a shot of them running. It then cuts to a shot of the lady seeing two carrots rolling off the counter showing “reality’s perspective.” There were points when I did question what would certain moments look like from reality’s point of view as food runs across floors or mingle with each other. There is one other nitpick and it’s aimed at the final joke in the movie. Instead of ending on a high note, it breaks the fourth wall in a way so bizarre that I questioned if it was ever needed. Even a friend of mine agreed that the scene preceding it would have just been fine to end on. After a climatic and jaw-dropping moment, they try to sneak in one more jab that could have been easily cut out seeing how little it effects the story.

But for what’s worth, “Sausage Party” is worth the recommendation. There are moments that I still can help but snicker over they appear in a movie like this. I enjoyed the jokes, the characters and theological stuff as well. Its that one summer surprise that packs tons of laughs and plenty of creative effort. Now as expected, children are not the target audience for this movie. In fact, I do question if parents will be that dumbfounded to take them to see it despite the marketing clearly saying its R-rated. For those curious fools who think a tyke will sit through it, I wouldn’t even attempt it. I predict that it will be a movie that will keep kids far away from the refrigerator as possible as adults laugh over the absurd nature this movie brings.

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“Jungle Book” marvels with effects and fun

MV5BMTc3NTUzNTI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0NjU5NzE@._V1_SX640_SY720_The expectations for Jon Favreau’s live-action take of “The Jungle Book” were relatively low. Within the past weeks, I found myself researching and watching as many adaptations under the sun ranging from the 1942 classic with Sabu to Disney’s attempts with the famed 1967 animated classic along with its subsequent live-action take courtesy of Stephen Sommers. At this time, I’m welcome to variety. If a play we know can be re-performed many times with different actors, why not a movie? That’s because there is only one version of that certain take we either grow up on or enjoy. And after seeing the Jungle Book be formed into things like a “Ten Commandments”-style sweeping epic to an Indiana Jones/Tarzan adventure, I’m actually more thankful to see another version take center stage.

Let me get the obvious out of the way. I expected there to be digital effects, but surprised to see how much care was taken to make an actual environment out of it. Truly we are in the day when we can digitally craft a rain-forest from a green screen set. And sadly, it looks convincing. All the while, I felt like I was looking at a full-living and breathing jungle. From watering holes to ancient ruins, it has become apparent that the will to make authentic sets out of a computer and studio space has improved greater than James Cameron’s “Avatar”.

videothumbnail_thejunglebook2016_disney_eb5a3208The upgrades to the characters are a nice welcome. We get more of Mogawii’s wolf family and see how much the pack means to them. There’s even a bigger motive behind why Shere Khan (voiced menacingly by Idris Elba) wants to kill the man-cub other than seeing him as a midnight snack. The reason for this tiger’s means of revenge is simple but does hold weight. It almost reminded me of when Don Ciccio wanted to go after little Vito in “Godfather Part II.” When the threat is young, the villain wants to ax him off when he has the right chance.

The source of the material being used is what nearly bugs me. What we get is a hybrid  of things ranging from the 1967 animated film being the source. However, they were kind enough to add more material from the Kipling novel. Instead of a weightless adventure, we are treated to a poetic coming of age story while looking at the light and dark views of life. Baloo (voiced hilariously by Bill Murray) envisions a carefree lifestyle while others seek to take control and order like Shere Khan or King Louie. The plot element of “man’s red flower” is given a bigger character here. Instead of a random deus ex machina as in the 1967 version, this version gives more breathing room to see how dangerous this thing can be.

jungle-book-2016-posters-mowgli-balooBut, wait you cry! What about the story and performances? Weren’t those the most important thing? Well, notice how I tossed around “1967 version” and “some of Kipling’s text” previously. The plot is basically from the original animated tale with Bagheera trying to convince the little man-cub to return to the village. But instead of neglect, it seems the journey keeps getting interrupted by creatures that want to devour Mogawii or use them for their own measures. I actually think this improves over the other take where the two-dimensional Mogawii from the cartoon was more stubborn and keeps wanting to stay. There is a bigger threat at play in this version as the more Mogwaii stays, the more dangerous things become.

Speaking of which, Neel Sethi is a surprisingly good choice for the little man-cub. Not only is he in-tune with nature, but also innovative. There are times when he uses the means of the jungle for simple tasks almost like a mini-MacGyver. Its a welcome character trait that shows he is clever and intelligent. When it comes to obtaining something like a honey comb, we see how the wheels turn in his head while gathering tools from the world around him. It’s almost like Mogawii sees the jungle as his own resource and not of destruction.

THE JUNGLE BOOK

The other choices in casting is good too. Bill Murray gives a memorable performance as everyone’s favorite jungle bum, Ben Kinglsey presents a powerful voice to the wise panther, Scarlett Johansson is bone-chilling as Kaa and Idris Elba blew me away owning the role of Shere Khan. The only performance I’m a little iffy on is Christopher Walken as King Louie, an extinct ape that acts like he runs a mafia business. Walken does give a fun performance but it just feels weird seeing his likeness on a monkey.

I guess the final thing to ask is did we really need this version in the first place? Well, at times I did get a vibe where it was trying to pay homage to the 1967 animated classic as the opening logo felt designed much like that version and the movie does end with a book-ending shot (literally) of the same book from the animated version. One can argue it could be a remake of the Disney classic, but there were times when I felt like the improvements did work better than the original. And don’t worry, its still there. As long as you have a copy of the old version on DVD or VHS, it won’t fade away. I can’t say this was a necessary version that demanded to be done. However, I’m surprised to say it was a great improvement.

It can be nice to have another variation of a famed classic as long as it gets done right. In the case of Jon Faveau’s version, it’s a welcome entry. Though, I will admit some things do get glanced over like Kaa’s appearance and some character relationships. But for something that has the charm of the 1967 classic and the beautiful cinematography of the 1942 version, this is one jungle I will visit just as much as the original. On a side note, mothers be warned. Some scenes might be too intense for younger viewers considering this is a much darker take as some animals get killed while others come out of battle with minor injury. I’d say kids 5 and up might be fine but anyone younger are better off with the Disney cartoon. At least when they are older, they will be able to accept the darker version a little better. Hell, it worked for me with the Stephen Sommers version.

“Minions” packs laughs despite uneven story

Kevin, Stuart and Bob hit the road in the all new Minion movie

Kevin, Stuart and Bob hit the road in the all new Minion movie

Ever since the first Despicable Me movie, viewers have gone nuts for those cute and naughty yellow creatures known as Minions. I do admit, I was really hooked as these supporting characters slapped each other around and that gibberish banter was very amusing. Well, they have a movie out and like many, I was really hyped. There were endless possibilities to what could be done. However, “Minions” seems to cater to the humor than put its cute, chaotic characters in a stronger story.

Set up as a prequel, the first 10 minutes are probably the best part as we see these yellow henchman walk on land and find themselves serving dinosaurs and cavemen and later historical icons from Napoleon to Count Dracula. Even if this appeared in the first trailer, these are the funniest moments of “Minions” as its starts off as a “History of the World: Part I” manner with these beings trying to serve a villain but sadly lose them in the process due to great misfortune or just because they mess things up.

Unfortunately, that is the start of the picture as the Minion clan seek refuge up north. But soon enough they find that without a master, they have no purpose to continue living. Our plot kicks in as three Minions named Kevin, Bob and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) go out in the world to find a new boss. Along the way, we learn things like how they were able to obtain their signature overalls and appreciation for pop culture television. These scenes are cute alone as the three marveling at shopping malls and yellow fire hydrants. Perhaps more notable is a sequence similar to Modern Times when they stake out in a mall much like Chaplin’s Tramp did minus 1960s television and being a vehicle to find out where to find a new master.

Eventually they do get a new boss in the form of Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) whose ultimate goal is to steal the crown from the Queen of England and be the new ruler. Scarlet herself is a lot of fun to watch as Bullock really hams up the performance going from a sweet and innocent mother-like tone to slowly showing her true colors near the climax. Its basically Cruel DeVille if she was a super villain but there is fun here. Also enjoyable is her husband Herb (Jon Hamm) whose beatnik personality is a delight to watch. Some of the quips are not too annoying to the point of cringing but his endless array of gadgets are very creative from lava lamp guns to mechanical arms that are put to good use.

Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm really "overkill" the hilarity as Scarlet and Herb Overkill

Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm really “overkill” the hilarity as Scarlet and Herb Overkill

As enjoyable as “Minions” gets to be, the true star of the film is not the animation or the Minions but rather the comedy. For those who miss the dark humor of the first Despicable Me won’t be disappointed. The tone can be described as a blend between something along the lines of the Marx Bros and a Charles Addams cartoon. Highlights include our three mischievous characters mistaking a torture dungeon for an amusement park, a funny shot of a line up of depressed Minions trying to visit a shrink and some notable moments in a villain convention. This movie is packed with many sight gags that a second viewing would be required to hand pick every sign and Easter egg the animator’s stuck in.

Even a little British humor is injected along with the culture itself with endless 1960s pop culture jokes (as the film is set during 1968 as a time period) including a cute parody of the Beatles “Abby Road” album at one point. Even Queen Elizabeth II is not all she’s cracked up to be fooling viewers into thinking we will see a British stereotype when we see her royal majesty can be quite the fighter. In a sense, British pop culture seems to be such a bigger focus for the second half with elements like the King Arthur legend and some British rock tunes play a crucial part in the story and comedy.

Unfortunately, at the heart of “Minions” lacks a story. Kevin, Stuart and Bob get bounced around so much that we find ourselves wondering what is the main story. We go from an origin tale to a fish out of water to a robbery heist as it all builds to a finale that is fun but a tad fatigued. Maybe there is only so much one can handle of that Minion gibberish that one wonders how their shtick can pad out a 90 minute movie. Perhaps if the film played out more like its beginning as an anthology story with the little guys going from one master to the next, there could be some promise.

However, “Minions” is not that kind of movie. Even far from being considered a bad flick. It works better as a mindless comedy and this where my recommendation lies in. If your looking for a film with fast-paced action and really funny jokes, this is worth checking out. On the other hand, there have been mindless comedies before like “One Crazy Summer” and “UHF” that are able to balance a story  with a string of bizarre but funny gags. The humor of “Minions” is in the right spot but it left me wishing more was done in the narrative that keeps jumping around. But when there is effort placed in the animation, humor and voice performances, I can’t deny this movie gave me what I wanted and that’s a good laugh.

Rental Corner: “Boxtrolls” underwhelmingly unpleasent

Eggs and his adoptive family of Minions...I mean, Boxtrolls even if he is human

Eggs and his adoptive family of Minions…I mean, Boxtrolls even if he is human

I have this theory with Laika Studios. Every new movie that comes, the animation gets a huge improvement. But for every new movie, there comes a price in its quality. Coraline is the one that started its journey with memorable characters, amazing animation and a story with many twists, turns and wonders. With the bar so high, ParaNorman only half succeeded in my opinion. Sure the animation got better but with a visual atmosphere that looked unappealing and characters that were either interesting or too mean, it thankfully picked up in the second half to at least save its hide. “The Boxtrolls,” however, takes a back seat so high in the balcony that all we have left to marvel are the visuals and wish the story wasn’t so cliche, slow and brash.

Set in the Victorian era, a small town that has a fascination for cheese and rank social class by tall and colored hats has a problem with creatures known as boxtrolls. Apparently, an urban legend spreads that these monsters come out at night to eat people and took a baby for a late night snack. But as it turns out, these mischievous creatures only scavenge for loose parts for a city they build underground and that’s it. Instead of giving these cute monsters a distinctive personality they feel more like Minion and Gremlins clones voiced by Frank Welker.

But they are not alone as a small boy named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright) lives with the boxtrolls to the point he is one. In a Tarzan, Lord of the Apes manner, he guards them like a band of brothers or tries to when a batch of exterminators plan to rid the town of these cutesy creatures to the pleasure of the town. I’d want to say there’s something interesting about the Eggs character but there unfortunately wasn’t.  He just bored me throughout. A typical fish out of water that is raised by a different set of creatures. We never get to understand his role with these beings that much or even get an idea of his understanding between the world above with the humans and his world with the boxtrolls. There’s no support to show what he wants in this story. He only exists as a plot element for a predicable twist later on.

Ben Kingsley smugs it up as a fun villian with ... some... kind of a motive...

Ben Kingsley smugs it up as a fun villian with … some… kind of a motive…

The only thing that is sort of entertaining in this movie is the villain, Archibald Snatcher. Ben Kingsley voices this twisted brute as he plans to capture every boxtroll in the town just to gain higher authority by means of a white tall hat and access to eating all the cheese he wants. The only thing I found at least amusing is the personality. This is the kind of villain I can laugh at for his slick and over the top movements and Ben is a good fit. But the biggest flaw is his motive. All he wants to get higher respect and even then, he has a huge allergy to cheese that makes him look so distorted and gruesome that in comparison The Elephant Man looks like a Saturday date. They also give him this dual cross dressing role but it doesn’t pay off in the end. It just leads to some one note jokes about a man in female’s clothing that I did get a chuckle out of but that’s really all it serves.

The main plot, that is if you can call it one, has Eggs trying to save his underground family from the hideous exterminator and his befundled henchmen (voiced by Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost and a surprisingly unrecognizable Tracy Morgan) who keep questioning if they are good or bad to the point we ourselves wonder what kind of movie it wants to be. Most of the time, it tries to be sweet and innocent like the underground dwellers but there isn’t much of a motive for them. They exist to be cute and act Minion-like as they babble nonsense and hit one another for slapstick. The next minute, it tries to be this dark kid’s film with its grimy sets and ugly character designs but nothing really comes together. One minute, the citizens keep talking about how boxtrolls have piles of bones and rivers of blood (even a whole song dedicated to it) while the next minute some of the adult characters feel like cut-outs from an episode of The Simpsons.

I appreciate the effort....at least....

I appreciate the effort….at least….

I guess the morale of “The Boxtrolls” is “be what you want to be,” but it gets lost under so much complex storytelling and predicable cliches that really drag the film down. With Coraline, it was a simple story that kept getting bigger and bigger without the need for any complex character work. ParaNorman did have some harsh beats but made up for it at the second half with its message of don’t judge a book by its cover. If there was a stronger story and better character motives while being light on the gross and macbe humor, maybe I wouldn’t feel so harsh on The Boxtrolls but so much potential was lost. Here, there’s too many underdeveloped characters and underdeveloped motives that don’t pay off and its form of comedy is so bizarre and strange that it made me scratch my head wondering what this was all building to. Why is the town obsessed with cheese? Why the higher class ranking done by hats? If this was building to a certain point at the end, I fail to see what it was building to in the first place in its weird and unpleasant sense of comedy. The only thing that barley redeems it is the animation and the mechanics behind it but in an animated tale, visuals accompany the story. And here, a weak story can’t be saved. By the time it kept going on and on even throughout the credits when they show how the animation is done in a one-note joke, I just wish it would end or at least have a stronger conclusion. This is probably the first stop-motion film I’ve seen since Corpse Bride where I asked myself just what went wrong behind all those crafted sets and mounds of tiny figures to make me feel so irked and disappointed.

Rental Corner: “Free Birds” is boringly undercooked

To say this movie is for the birds would be more of a complement at this point....

To say this movie is for the birds would be more of a complement at this point….

Free Birds was that rare case of a movie where I had to watch twice in one day. First time, it was in the day and about 40 minutes in was when I started to zone out and had to assist some can recycling. Second time was after work where I started from the beginning to see if anything was missed. And honestly, I should have just let it be and let my thoughts be at the 40 minute mark because anything pass the first 10 or 15 minutes is when it becomes an annoying bore. I heard a lot of negative things about this movie. And when watching it, I tried to find anything positive. There are a few things but it doesn’t save this (oh god…do I have to…fine) “turkey” from my negative justice.

The premise is about two turkeys that travel through time to stop the first Thanksgiving from ever having turkey on the menu both with different reasons of doing this action. Reggie (voice by Owen Willson) is the naïve and innocent everyman that just wants to relax and be free. He doesn’t want to be served on a platter and in the opening scenes, we see his life is nothing more but trying to convince other turkeys that life is just meaningless to his race of bird; its get fatten on corn and be eaten. But as luck may have it, he is chosen to be the “pardoned turkey” by the President (represented as a strange Ronald Regan caricature. Seriously how come no one mentioned this in the reviews? Its weird) and lives a life of luxury on pizza and Spanish soap operas.

Its a little cute at first until another turkey named Jake grabs him into a plan to go back to the first Thanksgiving and change history so turkeys are not a dinner for the holiday. Once they arrive, the movie drags deeper into its awkward comedy and odd-beat plot elements as a tribe of turkeys act like Native Americans who are avoiding the wraith of Myles Standish (really? a historical figure is made the bad guy?), a hunter who is trying to nab a turkey for a planed feast with the Natives. But the turkey tribe feels outmatched as they try to dispel the traps placed out and survive. And if you have read this far, you can obviously see why this movie plain fails.

From the trailer, I thought it was going to be a simple dumb movie. But what took me by surprise was how they were able turn a stupid idea that could have worked in some way but make it not only boring but even unpleasant. And the last time I had that feeling was watching Mars Needs Moms; a sci-fi family flick about Martians kidnapping a boy’s mother for gene extraction to program nanny robots that had little good characters or even anything remotely entertaining. But while Mars Needs Moms was trying to be science fiction, Free Birds is trying to be this colorful comedy and it doesn’t work. I’d go as far to say its on par with the bad alien flick but at least it tries to make effort but it still feels down right uncomfortable.

And its not the idea of animals being eaten or anything. Its more than that. At least with Free Birds, I can understand its trying to be a comedy by its tone and atmosphere where else Mars Needs Moms didn’t know whose audience it was meant for. So I’ll give credit that it knows its viewers but even I can’t let that one slide. There’s moments that feel out of place in its campy cartoon tone like one scene where the Pilgrim characters clamor about starvation and try to make a joke out of dying from hunger. I’m sorry but I found that really dark; even for a kid’s movie like this. They even try to make some form of commentary between turkeys raised in a farm compared to turkeys raised in a lab but that goes nowhere. Its placed in as a case of something I would like to call “The Gribble Effect.” A moment in a movie used for annoying side characters where they are giving a backstory to try and enhance but the moment feels forced and manipulated. They did this to Gribble in Mars Needs Moms and they do it here with Jake.

In fact, the minute he first appeared, I was already started to drift off. I get the idea. He’s a dumb muscle- headed bird that is out for adventure and his mission from a “Great Turkey” (don’t ask…). I can see this working for maybe someone along the lines of Joe Swanson but his antics just get old and tiring really fast with his energetic attitude and Woody Harrleson’s performance just doesn’t sound like he is all there. Its like he is aware the movie is bad and is addressing how absurd it is. He even does this earlier on in a doozy of a fourth wall joke that feels unneeded. He is just there is crack terrible jokes and mug about his muscles. It gets old fast.

In fact, I don’t think everyone does their job well in the acting department. Amy Poehler plays Jenny, a love interest turkey who has a weird quirk with her lazy eye that never lives up to much potential and it feels like Amy is on auto-pilot most of the time. In fact, a lot of these voices feel like they are there. Their not into the roles and just wanted the recording session done with. Owen Wilson, on the other hand, is the only thing that holds it together. At least Owen knows how to deliver comedy or maybe its because his suffer attitude somehow fits the role. I really got no complaints other than the fact this character has been done a lot but at least Owen really tries considering the material he has to work with.

Everything else is just a bore to sit through. The jokes go on for about maybe 45 seconds a gag. There is no pace within these jokes to make they standout. Even a prolonged scene in the mysterious bunker has guards cracking bad jokes and laughing so annoyingly that it made me want to put my thumbs deep into my ears. They even use the old “Two Weeks Till Retirement” joke.  Its like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs where they just toss every joke at every 20 to 30 seconds like they are desperate for a laugh. At least with Cloudy, they make up for it with some character development but with Free Birds, I don’t feel like I spent enough time to know these characters. They just feel like they are there. Reggie is obvious going to save the day, Jake is there to make us laugh and fails, Jenny is going to get the hero and I honestly didn’t care for the Pilgrims at all.

I think they don’t make that much of an impact in this movie other than the villain who also doesn’t feel like he is used much or properly build up. He is there to hunt turkeys. That is all for motivation. Heck, even the Native Americans appear at the end like out of the blue because…yeah, its a Thanksgiving movie so…can’t have it without them. Even the characters beforehand don’t leave much of an impression for me to remember them. The group of turkeys Reggie is kicked out of is a lame parody of corn religion or something, the Ronald Regan president (seriously, why did they choose this design…its weird) just exists to get Reggie’s story going and the farmer doesn’t even get any lines. I think it would have been more effective if they did something like Chicken Run with the owners being low in debt on the turkey farm or even giving at least some character but they don’t even try.

But the biggest crime this movie has against it is the way they waste the premise. Reggie and Jake go to the 1600s just to stop Thanksgiving. In real history, there was no turkey served at Thanksgiving and I feel some comedic potential is wasted here. Why not do something like The Nightmare Before Christmas with the turkeys finding out how no turkey was served on the first Thanksgiving and try to make it permanent or make the holiday in their image? This could have lead to some really funny jokes like people praising turkeys like the next celebrity or even a Planet of the Apes parody where turkeys are the rulers of the Earth. Wouldn’t that make for a funnier movie? But no, they try to mess with history for the sake of messing with history thinking it will save turkeys from becoming holiday dinner. I even read up at one point John Kricfalusi had some involvement in the early production and posted some early artwork on his blog. And honestly, I would have loved to see THAT VERSION more compared to what we got in the final run.

I know your expecting me to riff on this movie about its “historical inaccuracy” but even from the opening, it is obviously addressed with George Takei saying that history that is portrayed is not true. My only guess is that they don’t want another Disney’s Pocahontas situation but its not like the disclaimer is needed. I know this movie is just for kids and will only change things around for the sake of story. You don’t need to spell it out for us. We have a thing called Google and can use it to see what is true and false.

(SPOILER…not like you would care…but still)

But worse of all is how this movie ends. I was very bored with it right when the time travel story kicked in and I really got annoyed when in the end, its not peace and understanding that saves it. Its product placement that gets turkeys off the menu as Reggie brings in mounds of Chuck E. Cheese pizza. I know this because the logo for the company is clearly slapped on the boxes. Even S.T.E.V.E. the time traveling computer that Geroge Takei voices exclaims how the breadsticks are good and the Natives mention how the pizza with sardines is like old socks but tastes better than his wife’s cooking. Oh how everyone was happy as they nommed on their pizza from the future causing turkeys and carving knives got to be replaced with a pizza and a pizza cutter. Oh how I wanted to rip every fiber out of my head when this happened. …Sorry…just wanted to get that off my chest.

(END SPOILER)

This movie has a lot of potential and a lot of it is wasted. Right down to the very core is a flick that has something but then switches to auto-pilot for the sake of being on lack of motivation and well-written characters. If the script was solid, I would have excused the stiff animation and lazy backgrounds but Free Birds is just not well cooked enough to be even worth recommending. Not even for kids I think this is good for. Maybe a few tots might giggle at the cartoon designs but I don’t think it will get a high seller any time soon. Its not funny enough, the characters are one-note and everything just has this dull and unpleasant vibe to it. There’s even a joke with a turkey being hauled off to the shed by the farmer as he mentions about going to “Turkey Paradise” and the farmer has an ax in his hand. If that doesn’t sum up the overall feeling this movie left me, I’ll probably find myself at the gate of Reel FX Creative Studios complete naked and yelling a slew of obscenities. And honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does come to that conclusion. Before I go mad, stick with Chicken Run. Its more inventive and you get your money worth. Free Birds can sit in the back of vault along with some ye old stuffing and cranberry sauce from the 17oos for all I care. It doesn’t deserve a viewing.