DVD Review: Open Season
By Jeff Swindoll Jan 29, 2007, 15:32 GMT
Open Season is entertaining for the evening, but I wouldn’t think of it when asked about what current animations would be considered classics in several years time.
Does a bear crap in the woods? The bear of Open Season does not, but finds that he has to learn some new moves when he’s uprooted from his domesticated life and finds himself back in this natural habitat.
Boog (Martin Lawrence) is a bear. He’s not your average bear though since he lives in Ranger Beth’s (Debra Messing) garage and is toilet trained. Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) is a mule deer from the wild who sees Boog’s good thing and wants a piece of the action. Unfortunately, Elliot’s interference only ends up getting them both sent back to the wilderness, much to Boog’s horror since he’s never had to live like a wild bear.
He enters into a world that he knows nothing about and populated with creatures whose habits are strange to Boog (Jon Favreau voices a beaver named Reilly, Jane Krakowski is Giselle the deer (Elliot’s love interest), Patrick Warburton is Ian the buck (Elliot’s rival), and Billy Connolly is a mad, territorial squirrel named McSquizzy).
There’s another problem since it’s soon to be open season and the hunters are going to be in the woods. Not to mention that psychotic hunter Shaw (Gary Sinise) has a grudge against Boog and Elliot and is hell-bent on hunting them down and adding them to the trophies on his wall.
The kids and I had a fun 99 minutes but I’m not sure that I’d say that Open Season is exactly a classic. Some of the jokes are what you’d expect, such as the opening portion of this review. How can you expect me not to make some reference to a bear’s toiletry habits? The makers also cannot resist such jokes since you know when you have a squirrel in the film that a few “nut” jokes are to be found- though not all was familiar.
There’s the two Sasquatch hunting hippies who have a Dachshund named Mr. Weenie who gets in touch with his wild side before the story is through. The voice cast really performs rather well in my opinion.
Martin Lawrence seems a little bit in the wrong hood as Boog the bear but he still has some funny lines. Ashton Kutcher still grates on the nerves, but since Elliot is supposed to be that way then it’s forgivable. My favorite would have to be Billy Connolly as the deranged Scottish squirrel.
Open Season is entertaining for the evening, but I wouldn’t think of it when asked about what current animations would be considered classics in several years time (some of Pixar’s films would probably fit the bill). Whatever you consider the film, one thing you’d have to notice is that Sony has loaded the disc up with special features.
Open Season is presented in separate widescreen (anamorphic 1.85:1 enhanced for 16x9 televisions) and fullscreen releases. This is the first film from Sony Animation Pictures and therefore it’s been given a large dose of special features. The main menu offers a new short subject featuring Boog and Elliot called “Midnight Bun Run” and runs 4 minutes.
The first section in the special features section is the featurettes section. First is the 15 minute “Behind the Trees” featuring interviews with Penny Finkleman Cox (EVP Animation, Sony Pictures Animation), executive producer Steve Moore, director Jill Colton, director Roger Allers, supervising animator Sean Mullen, character setup supervisor Mike Ford, co-director Anthony Stacchi, Sandra Rabins (EVP Animation, Sony Pictures Animation), visual effects supervisor Doug Ikeler, Yair Landau (President of Sony Pictures Animation), head of story David Feiss, producer Michelle Murdocca, story artist Kris Pearn, art director Andy Harkness, look development lead Joe Strasser, supervising animators Todd Wilderman and Chris Hurtt, hair lead Chris Yee, head of layout James Williams, senior art director Luc Desmarchelier, editor Pam Ziegenhagen, co-producer Amy Jupiter, and songwriter/composer Paul Westerberg.
Next is the 7 minutes “Voices Behind the Stars” and interviews Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise, Billy Connolly, Jon Favreau, and Jane Krakowski. The next section features about 2 minutes of deleted scenes in unfinished form. There’s also a 2 minute music video, “I wanna lose control (uh oh)” by Deathray. The commentaries section first features a series of commentaries by the characters Mr. Weenie, Porcupine, and Maria the skunk over select scenes from the film. The feature has a commentary from producer Michelle Murdocca, directors Jill Colton and Roger Allers, and co-director Anthony Stacchi.
The activities section has the Voice-A-Rama game, Wheel of Fortune: Forest Edition game, and Online Fun has DVD-ROM content. This section also has a 3 minute “Swept Away Scene Deconstruction” that is introduced by Anthony Stacchi. It has a scene from the film that you can use the “angle” button on your remote control to watch in different stages of completion (from storyboard to final product).
Ring Tales features three short animations from openseason.com (Rabbitball (17 seconds), Security Camera (18 seconds), and Camouflage (16 seconds)). Finally there are the Galleries and Previews sections. There’s also a whole section devoted to Surf’s Up, the forthcoming feature from Sony Pictures Animation.
The kids will enjoy it and adults will also have a laugh or two. I think that it’s an entertaining film, but not sure that adults will want to watch it numerous times. Kids might be a different story (I know mine will watch Elf in the middle of summer). The DVD does offer some rather nice special features for those that are interested in them.