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Be Open to Open Season
on 7 February 2012
Boog is a big brown grizzly bear who is happily living with his human owner, Beth. The pair of them make a living from their sideshow that they do in their town, and things seem to be going quite well for them. However, when an crazy and excitable male deer called Elliot lands into Boog's life, he turns it upside down and not for the better. Boog ends up being kicked out of his home with Beth, and together with Elliot find themselves in the wild and are totally at a loss as to how to survive out there. They're quickly ridiculed by the woodland animals, and are also being stalked by hunter Shaw, and are struggling to survive. But when something happens which puts not only Boog and Elliot but the animals of the forest as well in danger, they realise that they have to work together to beat the hunters in their Open Season...
An animated film relies heavily on two things - the animation itself and the performance from the voice actors. Now the children watching it won't pay huge amounts of attention to this second point, but to an adult who is forced to watch these films too, good voice acting can make or break a film. The best voice actors in any animated film for me are always going to be Tim Allen and Tom Hanks as Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Sheriff. They encompass everything about their characters, and are perfect. In this film, Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher take the reins as Boog the bear and Elliot the deer respectively. Lawrence is pretty average which is a shame as I expected more from him, and I didn't think his performance was especially standout in any way. I felt Kutcher put a lot into his role, and he did really well with his performance, but it's a shame that Elliot is such an annoying character and one you aren't supposed to like a great deal!
There are quite a few other big names in here but none that particularly stood out to me. Debra Messing (Will & Grace) plays Boog's human owner Beth, a sweet but nondescript character who I felt faded into the background somewhat. Yes, I liked Messing's performance when she was in a scene but she was very forgettable once she was off screen. The only other performance I remember was Billy Connolly as squirrel McSquizzy who is intent on defending his tree at any cost. I don't know if I remember him because of his broad Scottish accent but he was amusing on screen! Other than that, the cast wasn't anything to write home about and certainly won't be winning any awards for their performance, or indeed this film!
The animation is nice enough for the duration of the film, but again it certainly isn't up to the standards set by Disney Pixar and Dreamworks. Again, this isn't really something that the younger members of the audience will pick up on but it's another little bugbear for the grown ups watching this. The animals were portrayed realistically, they all resembled what they were supposed to be and the human characters were well created too, but certainly forgettable and were second fiddle to the animals. The story itself isn't anything overly special but I do admit it picked up a lot towards the second half of the film. I felt the first half dragged a little too much for me, and I wanted at times for it to speed up. Some of the scenes that were clearly meant to be funny felt a little too silly, although Harry was giggling away bless him. It was very predictable however, and there are definitely better "talking animal" films out there, such as Happy Feet, Finding Nemo and Shrek. Harry enjoyed this one but I can't see me wanting to sit through it time and time again as I can with a lot of his films. A cast which isn't overly great, animation which is quite bog-standard in this time and a bit of a lacklustre storyline don't add up to a great movie, but Harry loved it which I guess is the important thing, right?!