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Open Season (SE)
DVD disk
01.30.2007 By: Jason Adams
Open Season (SE) order
Director:
Roger Allers, Jill Culton, Anthony Stacchi

Actors:
Martin Lawrence
Ashton Kutcher
Gary Sinise

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A spoiled ďpetĒ bear is released back in to the wilderness and must join forces with an outcast deer in order to survive both nature and a bloodthirsty hunter.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ah, OPEN SEASONÖthat recent CG animated movie that pitted talking animals against humans. First off, I thought the spastic squirrel voiced by Steve Carrell was really funny. Huh? That was OVER THE HEDGE, you say? Oh. At least the whole thing with the cows and the "boy-tipping" was clever. What do you mean that was BARNYARD? Dancing environmentalist penguins? No? Oh...the one with Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence. Riiiight.

So originality is not OPEN SEASONís strong suit; does it even a strong suit? Well, there are some humorous spots here and there. As brief as they were, I laughed at the mistreated rabbits, the monosyllabic porcupine and hearing Billy Connolly say "bahookie." The animation is also quite solid, especially all the fur and background scenery. As Sony Animationís flagship film, they didnít spare any expense on the visuals.

Still, solid animation and a few funny lines isnít anything new. I'm honestly trying to think of one unique thing from this movie to distinguish it from the competition and Iím drawing a complete blank. If you've seen an animated movie before, chances are OPEN SEASON will bore you. The voice cast looks good on paper, with supporting work from Gary Sinise, Jon Favreau, and Patrick Warburton, but aside from Sinise's whacked out redneck, everybodyís wasted (and not the fun ďwastedĒ either). If you pay attention you can actually hear Martin Lawrence read his lines directly off the page.

If you have kids, however, Iím guessing they arenít all that concerned with innovation in animated cinema, so the important question is will they like OPEN SEASON? Probably. I can see children eating up each cutesy character and every physical gag like chocolate covered chocolate. Does that mean you should stay in the room and watch it too? I suggest not.
THE EXTRAS
A decent smattering of bonus features, most of which are geared towards the pre-pre-pre-teen crowd.

Boog and Elliotís Midnight Bun Run (4:30): Despite its porn worthy title, this is not that funny and surprisingly pointless. Itís pretty much a rehash of a scene from the beginning of the movie, where Boog and Elliot misbehave and get caught by the cops. Also, beware of animated fat lady nudity. No child should be subjected to that.

Commentary by directors Jill Cullton, Roger Allers and Anthony Stacchi: The group has a lot to say about the film, but Iím left wondering exactly who this commentary is for. I donít think children will want to sit through it (see the Character Commentaries below) and I canít imagine any adult cares enough about OPEN SEASON to give it a listen.

Behind The Trees (15:13): A look at the production, from pitching the initial story to creating the animation. Everyone talks a nice gameómostly about the foremost importance of story and heart in a movieóbut I canít say I saw that represented in the final product.

Voices Behind The Stars (7:33): In addition to seeing the actors doing voice work in the studio, you also get some insight on bringing an animated character to life, such as this pearl of wisdom by Martin Lawrence: ďI really didnít know how to create a character for Boog, because, ya know, heís a bear and all that stuff.Ē

Deleted Scenes (2:05): Two storyboarded sequences. Nothing of consequence.

Deathray Music Video (2:18): This has to be one of the worst songs since Black Eyed Peaís My Humps.

Inside The Animals Studio: The wiener dog, porcupine and skunk characters each do a quick (two-minute) commentary on their major scenes. A quick, harmless extra that kids will probably get in to.

Games: Three different games for the children: Voice-O-Rama, Wheel of Fortune and A Choose Your Own Angle feature.

RingTales (1:00): Three short 2-D animated shorts. Did I mention they were short?

SURFíS UP: You get an exclusive Sneak Peek and Meet The Characters featurette, a Teaser Trailer, and a Link to the official website. Lucky you!

An assortment of Galleries and Previews are also included. And may I step on my soapbox to say, MY GOD. THEY MADE A SEQUEL TO DADDY DAY CARE STARRING CUBA GOODING JR.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
With the animated genre offering a limitless canvas of ideas and subject matters, it seems like we keep getting the same Talking Animal story over and over again. And much like its plot, OPEN SEASON doesnít offer anything new; although to its target audience that unfortunately wonít matter much. And as the late Olí Dirty Bastard said, Wu-Tang OPEN SEASON is for the children.


Extra Tidbit: Despite three years of production, Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence didnít meet until they did press for the finished movie. This fateful meeting was thankfully captured on film and is available on the DVD. What a glorious moment for cinema and democracy.
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