Open Season

2007-02-09 18:10

Boog (Martin Lawrence) is a fully grown tame grizzly bear who still lives with his surrogate mother, Beth (Debra Messing), a park ranger who rescued him as a cub. Boog has everything he wants – food, comfort and plenty of affection. But his perfect world is turned upside down when he rescues Elliot (Ashton Kutcher), a terminally unlucky mule deer, from a demented hunter named Shaw (Gary Sinise). When Elliot convinces Boog to leave his cushy home for a taste of the great outdoors, the pair end of trashing a local food store and getting themselves banished deep into the woods. Now, with open season only three days away, Boog and Elliot must unite the woodland creatures against the invading humans, and turn the hunters into the hunted.


Open Season is the kind of movie that largely defies being reviewed. Reviews rely on being able to clearly distinguish movies from one another by looking at both the artistic content and entertainment value. By that standard Open Season isn’t a movie at all. It’s a product, and a cheap, mass produced one at that. Reviewing it is like a food critic reviewing different franchises of McDonalds.

This is nothing new, of course. Movies have always been products to a greater or lesser degree. But at least they were hand made, carefully tailored products. Open Season has all the hallmarks of a production line, and all the personality of a plastic spoon. From the celebrity voices to the cutesy animals to the toilet humour, there’s nothing original here, and therefore nothing surprising. Whether that’s a negative or positive trait is entirely up to the viewer.

The movie is particularly disappointing since Sony’s first animated film, Monster House, was such a breath of fresh air. By comparison Open Season, is as stale as they come. And it’s not really the similarity that causes the staleness – it’s the lingering sense that everyone involved in this movie is in it for the paycheque.

The jokes are all obvious and badly timed, and the stilted dialogue creaks and groans like a rusty hinge. The writers seem to subscribe to the “louder” school of humour – as in “if it isn’t funny, just say it louder”. The animation is an uncomfortable mix of realism and cartoonish exaggeration, giving the film an annoyingly uneven finish. Why spend so much time making the bear’s pelt perfect to the individual hair and then slap badly painted mountains into the background of half the scenes?

As for the voice cast, employing two of the most annoying men in Hollywood as your leads is no accident. Obviously the filmmakers think these two will keep things edgy, and get them in touch with a slightly older audience. That might be the case, if either one of them could do more than simply yell their lines into the microphone like a frustrated stand up comic.

But, whatever its faults, Open Season isn’t the worst film ever made. It delivers what it promises: a generic cartoon adventure with generic cartoon jokes. The question you have to ask yourself is: am I going to spend 120 bucks taking my family to this, or am I going to wait a couple of weeks and take them to one of the four other, better, films coming out?

- Alistair Fairweather
A group of smart-talking animated animals band together to outsmart us rascally humans. Wow, that's original.

Lara 2006/11/25 5:52 PM
Open Season I'm guessing the person who reveiwed this was not a child. Because I loved this movie and I'm a child! Just to let you know this is a child movie therefore children like it not adults, children!
john 2006/11/25 5:58 PM
cars the worst film ive ever seen i think its a disgrace i hated it ew
Me again 2006/11/25 8:08 PM
John says cars? I just came back from Menlyn, and you know what? It wasn't that bad. I didnt think so. it's entertaining, and thats what its all about. it might not be ice age or happy feet, but it's funny anyhows. Not a perfect movie, but not a waste of money either
Amanda 2006/11/25 10:33 PM
OPen season i just watched it and im 14 and i thought it was kinda funny shure it wasnt like original but it was fun u didnt need to be so harsh bout it...
Dianna 2006/12/26 7:17 PM
The Holiday An excellent "feel good" movie. Have only had good comments from family and friends alike.
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