When awkward outsider turkey Reggie (Owen Wilson) is pardoned by the American president ahead of Thanksgiving, he trades his future-meal status for a life of luxury, TV and pizza, complete with bunny slippers. If the idea of a turkey in fuzzy slippers is too much for you, you might want to stop right here. Because Reggie soon gets “recruited” by Jake (Woody Harrelson), a fellow bird on a secret mission to save all turkeys from the Thanksgiving massacre. And what better way to do that than travelling back in time (I told you) to the first Thanksgiving and somehow stop the establishment of the age-old tradition? And so Reggie and Jake embark on a journey to thwart the pilgrims’ plans and save the wild turkeys of the past.
Reggie ticks all the boxes of the scrawny, brainy hero
Young children will be entertained by the action and simple gags in this flick but will most likely fail to grasp the plot. Let’s face it, even we get confused by convoluted time-travel films. Unfortunately, while recent animation features usually have clever hidden jokes for grown-ups to pick up on, Free Birds remains pitched at 5-year-old level throughout.
Once the shall we say “original” premise is established, the story is cartoon-ly predictable yet cute enough to elicit a few smiles, making Free Birds basic family entertainment. Suitable for vegetarians.
Free Birds is released in UK cinemas on 29 November
Saving Mr. Banks is both the making of a beloved film, and the story of the life behind it. Emma Thompson is brilliant as witty and determined Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers: the famous nanny she created feels like family and she refuses to see her turned into a “silly cartoon.” But money is getting scarce and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) is unrelenting in his pursuit of the rights to the film adaptation.
P.L. Travers is not impressed by Disneyland
This sets the stage to the main attraction of this film: a battle of wills between two highly creative, successful, and very, very different minds. The tension and (not so) quiet power struggle underlying every conversation between the two – from movie dialogue to tea – is most entertaining and gives Thompson and Hanks the chance to shine as they play off each other. It’s no small feat to keep your viewer hooked when they already know how the story ends.
This is not, however, a documentary; and the somewhat cheesy conclusion reminds us that this has been made by the same studio who specialises in “sugarcoating darkness,” in Travers’ words. It’s doubtful she would have approved – let alone enjoyed – this romanced rendition of her life, but for us Disney fans and Mary Poppins lovers, it is a treat.
Saving Mr. Banks is released in UK theaters on 29 November.
… here we go!
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