Monday, October 02, 2006


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.


Chip Chief said...

wow, i was being cautiously optimistic with this film because from the little i have seen, the animation looked fun and well rendered. i really wish that with the flood of animated films, some of them would be really good. i guess it just makes us appreciate the good ones all the more.

i agree with you too that surfs up looks lame. what are your thoughts on happy feet? the fact that robin williams is in it is a bad omen for me. anyways, i guess penguins are the new zoo animals.

toast said...

If you want a really good animated movie that came out this summer I highly recommend Over the Hedge. That was a funny movie with a great story (although a bit predictible at times, but what children's movie isn't?) hilarious characters and great animation.

I am really interested in seeing Happy Feet because of the animation. I really like the way these penguins move and the way they kick the snow around as they dance. Detail like this catches my eye.

I like Robin Williams and I am glad to see him back in an animated movie.

I don't know much about the plot from the trailer but I don't think it promises much.

Happy Feet has a new trailer. There is a link in my right sidebar. Check it out.

Chip Chief said...

cool, i havent seen over the hedge yet, but i have heard good things. i will be sure to check it out.

i hope you are right about happy feet. i agree that the animation looks good. so i will keep my fingers crossed.

Katie said...

Good review, Kurtis.

I agree, the animation was painful at times. Not on Boog... he was wonderful... but the humans were especially stiff. I didn't so much mind the difference in the deer design between Eliot and the rest of them, actually.

If there's one thing I'm more tired of than animated animal movies... it's animated penguin movies. I agree that Robin Williams being such a main focus in those previews for Happy Feet is a bit unsettling. I heard 2 different penguins with his voice. Is this one of those "Polar Ice" things where Robin Williams is going to voice all the characters except the main one like Tom Hanks did? hahah, that'd be funny actually.

I still need to watch Polar Ice...

But I'm getting off topic! All I'm really trying to say is... Open Season is t3h suck.

coolshades said...

Ooooh thanks for the new Happy Feet trailer...gonna go check it out...

To me, Robin Williams is a *good* omen for an animated movie...look what he did for Aladdin. lol

Colossus said...

just to let u guys know. Dolphin Theatre on E.Hastings (across from our "fav" comicshop Taz Comics) has returned to it's ol' cheapies format. $2 a movie, anytime, any age. They have a cool setup going, each night, there's two 7pm shows, and 2 9pm shows. The 7pm shows are always family fare, usually the CG movies. And the 2 9pm is PG or up. So if you missed CARS in the pricey theatres, or wanna catch SUPERMAN RETURNS one more time on the bigger screen, hit up Dolphins! what have u got to lose besides a "toonie?"

toast said...

Thanks colossus! I haven't been to Dolphin in a while! The only thing I don't like about that theatre is the floors always seem to be sticky.

toast said...

I should state that I really like the water in the Surf's Up trailer. It looks very real. Almost too real. I'm not sure if it is actually CG.