I rounded out Thanksgiving weekend with something oddball that stumbled across my feed — a made-for-TV, Thanksgiving-themed, Henson Company-produced fantasy family special. How could I resist?
As the movie opened, a chill ran down my spine, for I saw one of the most fearsome sights known to film: A font that’s one of the defaults built into Windows used for the opening credits. That was the first sign that we weren’t dealing with a very big budget and some corners might be cut.
Luckily, most of the movie isn’t quite so dire, but it did prepare me for a slightly shabbier presentation than the attractive poster indicated — we are firmly in low-budget TV movie territory, here.
The film’s connection to the Jim Henson Company is prominently advertised, so I expected lots of fun puppet action. Sadly, we have to wait almost half the film to see any, and we only get one group of four little creatures the entire movie. At least the creatures are cute, fun, and expressive with good sound design.
The cast is a bunch of people I hadn’t heard of, plus Mary Steenburgen, who is squarely in “here for the paycheck” territory. But I mostly liked the cast. The lead kids are fine, especially the girl, but the highlight is Linden Banks as a hammy villain (looking at his filmography, he often plays TV movie villains — he’s got the right facial structure for a bad guy and gives great line readings).
Also Ludacris is the narrator for some reason.
The story is nothing special, with most of its beats predictable at least 3 scenes in advance. It takes awhile to get going (almost half the movie) and has a half-hearted climax. One weird wrinkle: The dialogue has a lot of mixed thoughts on veganism and ethical farming.
It’s not the worst way I could’ve spent an hour and a half, and the movie looks decent, but I can safely say Turkey Hollow won’t become a Thanksgiving tradition.
Not Very Good (3/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.