Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher may seem like an odd-sounding comedy team, but in some weird way, they click as voice-actors and cartoon buddies in "Open Season," the first feature from Sony Pictures Animation. It's a movie that kids will probably like, but that may rightly exasperate hard-core movie hunters.
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"Open Season" starts out as a back-to-nature comedy about a big, fuzzy hipster of a domesticated grizzly bear, Boog (Lawrence) who's been sent back to the wilderness for misbehavior--getting drunk and trashing a convenience store--by his loving and regretful ‘mama,' winsome forest ranger Beth (Debra Messing). Boog has led a fat and sassy dream life in Beth's town, Timberline, as a showbiz bear, but he gets exiled along with his fast talking, one-horned mule deer cohort and all-around bad influence Elliot (Kutcher), who keeps leading him astray for the entire movie.
So the two roam, squabble and bicker like the gang in "Ice Age." Midway through though, "Open Season" turns into an animals-vs.-hunters tale about lovable forest creatures banding together and fighting back the wave of humans that descend on them every year like locusts outfitted by L.L. Bean. The last half of the movie plays like "Bambi's Revenge," or the forest critter version of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," told from a bird's-eye view.
Led by Boog and Elliot, a battalion of ferocious squirrels, rambunctious skunks, rampaging deer, a wacky duck and busy little beavers with chainsaws all set aside their differences and explode into revolt, attacking the crass, heavily-armed hunters. Most visible and obnoxious of the gun-toters is a snarling brute named Shaw (Gary Sinise) a maniac with a cabin full of mounted animal heads.There's also bossy tourist wife Bobbie, voiced by Georgia Engel.
As for the critters, after Boog and Elliot, the most notable are the mad Scots squirrel-general McSquizzy (Billy Connolly), Elliot's dream girl deer Giselle (Jane Krakowski), his arrogant, fully antlered rival Ian (Patrick Warburton) and blue-collar beaver boss Reilly (Jon Favreau).
The movie has a quasi-hip air; the original songs are by the Replacements' Paul Westerberg. And technically, it's often a marvel. "Open Season" is a computer-animated film with lots of three-dimensional effects and detail, but with a stark visual style that also owes something to the artsy, minimalist look of the UPA cartoons of the '50s .
The directors, Jill Culton (from Pixar) and Roger Allers ("The Lion King") and co-director Anthony Stacchi, try a lot of tricks here-- and they've given the movie the casual visual virtuosity that marks a lot of post-"Little Mermaid" feature cartoons. But they're sometimes let down by the script--which is unoriginal and tends to wander all over the woods.
That meandering script comes from an original story by "In the Bleachers" cartoonist Steve Moore and John Carls, who also executive produced. Stacchi and Culton worked on the story too, along with official scenarists Nat Mauldin, and Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman, co-writers of "Brother Bear" and "Chicken Little." And, though it seems funny to say it, the scenario is a little too ambitious. It depends on a moral development in Boog and Elliot we can't see, and on too abrupt a switch from buddy trek comedy to fable of wildlife revolution.Though the chemistry works in the end, it's still a bit odd to hear dreamboat Kutcher in the gabby sidekick part that would usually be played by a star comic--the kind of smart-alecky role played by Eddie Murphy as Elliot's seeming inspiration, the donkey in "Shrek." Kutcher isn't bad, but he's sometimes too obvious, as is Sinise. That leaves the comedy honors here to Lawrence and Connolly. They're no Mel Blancs, but they get their laughs.
And though "Open Season" is no "Shrek" or "Ice Age," it gets laughs too. It's capable of giving at least the kid part of the audience a good hunter-trashing, bunny-bashing time.
The review of this Movie prepared by Afia Ahmad
"Open Season" is an animated tale about talking animals displaced from the comforts of home like Over the Hedge, The Wild and Madagascar before it.
This animated movie revolves around the adventure of two odd buddies; a huge nine hundred pound domesticated grizzly bear named Boog (Martin Lawrence) and a skinny little one-horned mule hyperactive deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher). Bear and the deer end up trapped together in the woods during the hunting season, now it's all up to these two to bring together all the animals in the forest and turn the tables on the hunters.
The movie starts when a big grizzly bear Boog misbehaves and send back to the Jungle. Boog has led a fat and sassy dream life, as a show-biz bear but he gets banish along with his fast talking, one-horned mule deer gang and a bad influence Elliot (Kutcher). Elliot keeps leading Boog off track for the entire movie. So the two wander squabble and argue like the gang in "Ice Age". The two unlikely duo along with sidekicks band together to fight back the wave of humans that descend on them every year. It's the payback time for the lovable forest
creatures. This expedition is led by Boog and Elliot, including a battalion of vicious squirrels, a crazy duck and active little beavers with chainsaws all set aside their differences and explode into revolution, skunks used as stink bombs, rampaging deer, offensive the ridiculous, seriously armed hunters. Elliot's dream girl deer Giselle, his arrogant, fully antlered rival Ian and beaver boss Reilly (Jon Favreau).
The hunters become the hunted point of view of the movie doesn't really take place until the very end of the movie and most of the supporting characters on the posters are very unimportant, although the actors did a great job. Supporting characters includes Shaw (Gary Sinise), Beth (Debra Messing), McSquizzy (Billy Connolly), Bobbie (Georgia Engel), Reilly (Jon Favreau) and Giselle (Jane Krakowski).
The story is not original it looks like a mixture of lot of other animated stories like for example the part of talking deer Elliot annoying the big bear Boog is somewhat similar to Shrek and that talking annoying little donkey. Although Kutcher isn't bad but it's still a bit odd to hear Kutcher in the talkative sidekick part that would usually be played by a star comic, like Eddie Murphy as Elliot's seeming inspiration. After all the chemistry between Lawrence and Kutcher works well in the end.
The directors Roger Allers (from The Lion King) and Jill Culton (from Pixar) along with co-director Anthony Stacchi, tried lot of tricks in this movie like the frequent Tex bash the bunny jokes and given the movie the informal visual virtuosity that marks a lot of position similar to "Little Mermaid" feature cartoons. But they're from time to time let down by the script because of its unoriginality with tends to drift all over the forest.
This movie is rated PG for some rude humor, mild action and brief language. Some totally unsuitable innuendos and there is a scene shot like a horror movie, which may be too much for the little ones. The computer-generated imagery is solid rarely fails to impress us especially, the texture of bear Boog's fur has beaucoup depth colors pop in the breeze and the talking animals with one-liners on their mind, at least cope to be not as much of irritating than in some other movies (cough, Madagascar). Animals taking revenge is a scary thought
for the hunters but after all the movie is entertaining. This movie is so predictable even the littlest audience should know exactly where the movie is going every step of the way but that won't keep anyone from laughing. The movie meant to be cute and funny, and that's what is set out to do.
The review of this Movie prepared by Faiza Iqtidar