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Open Season

A movie directed by Anthony Stacchi, Jill Culton, and Roger Allers

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A Successful Formula & an Enjoyable Experience

  • Sep 13, 2010

Back in 2006 when Sony Animation released Open Season, the formula of talking animal animated features was pretty sure-fire.  Blue Sky was basking in the revenue the Ice Ages were bringing in, DreamWorks had Madagascar (and perhaps even more direct competition Over the Hedge) and even Disney wanted a piece of the pie with The Wild.  Sony had a pretty admirable basis with Open Season, however, one that kept it from being lumped with the others in the ideal that a domesticated grizzly bear could lose touch with all sense of instinct before being dumped back into the wild.

Perhaps most impressive is that Open Season represents the first full length animated feature film to come out of Sony Imageworks (a company that would go on to produce many leading titles in the genre).

The story goes a little something like this:

A grizzly bear named Boog (Martin Lawrence), domesticated by a park ranger named Beth (Debra Messing) encounters an overly energetic deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) in need of a hand to escape from the mullet-sporting, flannel wearing hunter, Shaw (Gary Sinise).

Elliot decides to return the favor to help Boog escape from Beth’s humble abode, which leads to a big misunderstanding that convinces Beth that the time to release Boog back to the wild has arrived.

Boog, it turns out, having been raised with humans from cub-hood, has no idea how to survive outside of his cozy garage.

Despite some shaky beginnings, Elliott and Boog end up developing an unlikely bond that becomes extremely crucial in their teaming up with the other wild animals of the forest in attempt to drive out the invading hunters.

I came away pretty impressed from Open Season thanks to pacing that is neither forcefully fast nor too bogged down upon itself and a lenient enough script to allow the actors a chance to really bring some personality to the characters.  The story itself is actually quite solid with enough subtle bits and gags to appear humorous to nearly any age group.  Sure there’s the requisite slapstick to appeal to the younger demographic but some of the redneck references and pop culture influence will be sure to raise a chuckle out of adults as well.

The visuals were top notch then and are still impressive even today with a lot of deliberate attention to lighting and shadow (especially in the outdoor environments).  The featurette concerning the rendering of each character’s digital hair is a welcomed reminder as to just how tedious and time-consuming creating this type of film can really be.

While I was expectedly pleased with Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher’s vocal performances as they two lead characters (Boog and Elliott respectively), special props definitely have to go out to Gary Sinise for his most uncharacteristic portrayal of the hunting-obsessed human Shaw.  There’s some genuine humor there that sets the tone for many of the onscreen antics to follow.  Finally, the fact that the opening credits roll to Talking Heads’ Wild Wild Life is just precisely the attention to detail here that makes Open Season stick out among a crowded DVD shelf.

In conclusion, it should really come as no surprise to hear that Open Season was successful enough to spawn not one but a pair of sequels (part 3 is nearly complete at the time of this review’s writing).  An appropriate cast blended with an interesting story and tight visuals all adds up to a pretty rewarding experience.  I’m looking forward to enjoying Open Season 2 next.

A Successful Formula & an Enjoyable Experience A Successful Formula & an Enjoyable Experience A Successful Formula & an Enjoyable Experience A Successful Formula & an Enjoyable Experience

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September 16, 2010
Indeed, this was a really good one, still need to see 2.
September 17, 2010
Thanks buddy. Steer clear of 2, I just reviewed it. Very disappointing.
September 13, 2010
I had fun with this one too; the sequel was good but lacked some of the impact of the original because it felt too much like a contrived buddy flick. Nice going, Jason!
September 13, 2010
Thanks William! Appreciate that> I'll be by in a few to check out your comic review. And thanks for the props of my hitting #2 - I honestly didn't even know :)
More Open Season reviews
review by . August 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
he lived downstairs from a flatlulent dwarf   who was constantly having to pee   one day the elf could take no more´╗┐   and he went and banged on the rude dwarfs door   and what do you know they suddenly both were married.....      Well, if that doesn't turn you off or make you more curious, then you really didn't read it.  This is a funny line that is in the movie...well, really, line isn't right, but rather a funny song …
review by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
 It was a Saturday night, there was about 30 inches of snow outside, it was cold, and I was bored. So, searching for something to do, I discovered two of my roommates about to start watching the animated adventure Open Season. I had nothing to lose, so I joined them. Unfortunately, viewing the movie ultimately only confirmed my reasons for avoiding seeing films of a similar nature in the past.               For the last …
Quick Tip by . May 31, 2010
Great fun for the whole family
review by . December 08, 2008
This movie is loads of fun. We purchased this movie and watched it with our kids. We were all laughing the whole time. This is one of the best kid's movies of all time. I laughed so long that my face was sore. Kids and adults both can appreciate this movie. If your kids haven't seen it yet I am sure they would love it for Christmas.
review by . November 01, 2008
Another kiddy cartoon   About animals gone wild   But this time it's a grizzly bear   To entertain your child     Beth found Boog when he was young   And raised him as her own   He spends his days in her garage   Now that he's fully grown     One day he meets a stubborn deer   Who's like "Donkey" from Shrek   He's tied across a truck bonnet   Until Boog saves his neck …
review by . February 13, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
`Open Season' does more than provide some oddball critters from "the wild". With some spirited mischief and a fun-filled adventure, the film should be in sight for every family. We are introduced to Boog (Martin Lawrence), a huge grizzly bear, whose domestication makes him spoiled for handouts. Besides being a well-fed pet, his forest ranger owner, Beth (Debra Messing) keeps him young and harmless with her tender loving care. His world changes when he meets another misfit animal, Elliot (Ashton …
About the reviewer

Ranked #14
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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About this movie



Director: Anthony Stacchi
Genre: Family
Release Date: September 29, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
Runtime: 1hr 26min
Studio: Sony Pictures
First to Review

"Fun Family Film"
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