Saturday, December 02, 2006

Open Season

Whatever You Do, Don't Squeeze!

OK, this year alone probably saw a record number of talking animal animations, with countless of punchlines filled with pop culture references, and big name stars attached to the projects, that it's about time we give the genre a good break, rather than churning them out continuously with more misses than hits.

And Open Season, probably the last one on offer this year from a Hollywood studio, suffers from this glut, unfortunately. Heck, with so much similarities between the movies, you can even spot a familiarity or two from the storylines, taking a a leaf from one of the earlier flop - The Wild, in having one of its stars here, part of a popular animal attraction, and another part from Over The Hedge, where a group of animals must band together for survival and a fight against adversity.

The leads for Open Season are a domesticated grizzly bear who has its own teddy bear soft toy (don't ask), and a mule-deer with one half of its horn sawn off. An unlikely pairing, a "loser and a loserer", voiced by Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher respectively. It's strange that there's a reversal of voice roles here, as Lawrence's Boog the Bear is uptight, while Kutcher's Elliot the deer is built in the same old wise cracking mould as Eddie Murphy's Mushu in Mulan, or Donkey in Shrek. In other words, Boog frequently gets punk'd by Elliot.

It's one of those recycled plots about loneliness, and having two misfits finding themselves in each other, relying on strengths from the other party in order to survive in new environments. A misadventure sees Boog go back to the wild, with Elliot in tow, and the two have to find a way to get back to civilization where Boog belongs. Along the way they encounter other critters in the woods of course, paving the way for some comedy and more recycled themes of bullies and the likes. Don't believe the trailers though, as the war between animals and humans, doesn't take up much screen time.

The sad part though, is that there aren't many funny moments to distract you from the rehashed storylines and subplots, but then again, it's a made for children movie. As always, there are some of the weaker characters which get used as punching bags, and here, this role belonged to the mindless rabbits, which some might find irritatingly adorable. My vote however goes to the nasty Irish-accented squirrels, defenders of their pine trees with their nuts, and in second place, those insane beavers.

At least the animals don't break out singing songs every now and then, though there are some nice musical numbers that went along with the movie. But all in all, this movie isn't as entertaining as, say, Over The Hedge, and neither is it as bad as The Wild. But don't say I didn't warn you if you find this a tad too boring.

Wait for the DVD, and rent it. But why did I watch this? I'm a sucker for punishment, that's why! Oei!

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