Sunday, October 15, 2006

OPEN SEASON - banal kids flick

[Eating animal crackers] The giraffes taste the same as the elephants. That's messed up. OPEN SEASON is another animated kids flick in the fish-out-of-water genre where domesticated, pampered animals/cars find themselves kicked out into the mean, real world. Recent examples include CARS, GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES, THE WILD and the forthcoming FLUSHED AWAY.....A lot of critics have bitten down hard on OPEN SEASON for milking an over-worked genre but I think that's a bit unfair. After all, how many kids - the target audience - are going to care about that? A far better reason to bite down hard on OPEN SEASON is that it's just not that entertaining. From an adult/parent persepective there are none of the cultural in-jokes that hold our attention. And the animation is just fine, but nothing like up to the standards of, say, a PIXAR movie. The message of the movie is rather bland: it's better to have friends and work as a team than be a loner AND nasty evil cute-animal killing-hunters* are bad. (I tend to agree in theory although I have been to known to kill and eat cute animals in my time.) The super-big problem is that the script just isn't that funny. We get a decent laugh every fifteen minutes, if that. And there is precious little chemistry between the two buddies around whom the movie revolves. The first is a big pampered grizzly bear called "Boog", played in an admirably restrained style by Martin "Big Momma's House" Lawrence. The second is an annoyingly hyper-active, apparently infantile deer called Elliott played by the annoyingly hyper-active, apparently infantile Ashton Kutcher. Actually, that's unfair. I have nothing against Ashton Kutcher. I just find that the That Seventies Show and Punk'd schtick gets boring very quickly. In short, OPEN SEASON will no doubt keep your kids quiet for an hour and a half but it's not up there with SHREK and TOY STORY. Although, as I didn't take an unwilling god-child to see this, I'd be interested to hear from any parents out there as to whether even the kids get a kick out of this movie...

OPEN SEASON is on release in China, the US, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Venezuala, Mexico, Poland and the UK. It opens in France, Estonia, Belgium and Slovenia next week. It opens in Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Spian, Sweden, Australia and Singapore in November and in Czech Republic, Italy, Japan and Argentina in December.
*Roman, Nikolai, Niko - this could well be a GERUND.

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