When the first teaser trailer for Open Season was released I was less than impressed. Partly because I am not a fan of Martin Lawrence or Ashton Kutcher and I figured the humour would be heavily influenced by them, and partly because the is yet another CG movie staring talking animals.
I love talking animal movies. The Lion King is one of my favourties. But I don't need several of these movies all in one year! Let's count them: Doogal, Ice Age 2, The Wild, Over the Hedge, Ant Bully, Barnyard, Open Season, and next month's Flushed Away and Happy Feet! That's nine movies in 2006! And that doesn't count the live action movies that came out this year like Garfield 2.
Open Season is the story of a domesticated bear named Boog (Martin Lawrence) who saves a young buck named Eliot (Ashton Kutcher) from the clutches of a hunter. Through a series of accidents Boog is set into the wild against his will to live his life. He doesn't know anything about living in the forest but with the help of his new woodland friends Boog will learn to adapt and also save the forest from the hunters who have just arrived for open hunting season. The movie also stars Jon Favreau, Gary Sinise, Jane Krakowski, Debra Messing and Billy Connolly.
If that plot sounds familiar it's because is has been done before. In fact, almost everything in this movie had been done before. It had the same cliche characters, racial stereotypes, potty humour, and story elements. The only thing that was new about this movie was that I have never seen anything defecate on screen before. That was a first. And whoever it was that they got to recorded the songs for this movie should have his guitar destroyed and his vocal cords pulled out. They were awful.
The animation was hit or miss. Boog had great design and wonderful animation but the rest of the minor characters didn't look like they existed in the same world. Even Eliot had a completely different design than the other deer in this movie. While the faces of the human resembled Sony Animation's other picture (Monster House) the animation was sloppy and the acting was stiff.
The thing I liked the most were the environments and sets of the picture. Boog lives in a small town where everything, including the humans have their own standards of proportion. The cars are short and squat, the buildings don't have perpendicular angles and the humans have really big feet. The forest, on the other hand, is full of lush trees, grass and streams that make you feel like you are really there. The town's surreal appeal represents the surreal world the Boog has made for himself. The realism of the forest shows that this is where Boog truly belongs. Nice to see some thought went into something here!
Other than that, I was not impressed by this movie. This was Sony Animation's first full CG picture (Monster House was motion capture) and next up on their plate is the less-than-impressive looking Surf's Up. I can't wait.