Release Date: September 29th, 2006 by Columbia Pictures.
The Voices: Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise, Billy Connolly, Jon Favreau, Jane Krakowski, Patrick Warburton.
Directed by Jill Culton, Roger Allers and Anthony Stacchi.
BASIC PREMISE: A few days before open season, Boog (voice of Martin Lawrence), a domesticated grizzly bear, gets lost in the wilderness and befriends a deer named Elliot (voice of Ashton Kutcher) and other animals while trying to defeat hunters.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Open Season suffers from the same problem that other CGI animated films suffered from this year: it looks great and sounds great, but has a weak, derivative story. Boog, a grizzly bear, lives with his human owner, Beth (voice of Debra Messing) and befriends Elliot, a sidekick deer that’s not nearly as funny as the donkey in Shrek. To protect Elliot from local hunters, Beth transports Elliot via helicopter into a forest. That’s when Open Season runs a little more wild, pun-intended. Elliot meet Billy Connolly provides some laughs as squirrel named McSquizzy—not quite as funny as Scrat from Ice Age or Twitchy from Hoodwinked. Unfortunately, the supporting characters or animals, rather, are much livelier than Boog and Elliot. More scenes with McSquizzy would have helped to add more comedy because there’s not much interesting drama going on. At least co-directors Jill Culton, Roger Allers and Anthony Stacchi include thrilling action/adventure scenes in the third act as the animals defend themselves from a hunter (voice of Gary Sinise). Not surprisingly, the visuals look even more spectacular in IMAX 3-D, but it’s not enough to make it worth spending the $15 it costs to see it there in New York City.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Unimaginative story.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Great animation with lively supporting characters, but an unimaginative, derivative story.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "O" Menu