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Let me say up front, I had low expectations going into the film.
Although I like animation a lot, I wasn't too impressed with previous
Dreamworks attempts. I tend to regard cutesy previews with suspicion,
and was mostly just going along to have a potentially positive
movie-going experience with my family. Things got a little worse when
we arrived at the theatre, and both the ticket-tearing guy (if cinemas
have a technical name for that role, I don't know what it is) and some
poor sap from the commissary tried to pressure-sell the "fresh" soda
and popcorn. We had to go out of our way to avoid an extra ad-hoc kiosk
the food vendors established smack in the middle of the lobby. I hope
that doesn't become standard practice. The twenty-odd minutes of
previews were similarly underwhelming, and I was starting to get a
little nervous -- is it going to be one of those days I'll want to
forget? Then, at long last, Over the Hedge starts. Now I'm not an avid
follower of the comic, partly because I don't get to read newspapers
very often. The Over the Hedge strip is kind of a latecoming competitor
to affections reserved for the beloved Bloom County of my childhood, so
I'm not exactly salivating at the potential content. However, I gotta
say, I was blown away from the start.
Over the Hedge is a neat movie. Granted, there are points where plot development is pure formula, and some of the dialog seems forced or weakly delivered, but these are minor snits. I was laughing out loud, along with most of the audience, which was well distributed agewise. I won't offer any spoilers, but I have to hand it to the screenwriters for seamlessly integrating action-based slapstick with some very cunning dialog, dialog that flies fast and furious enough that you'd better keep both ears wide open.
Messagewise, there are a few worth noting. I have not seen such a cutting indictment of suburbia since Edward Scissorhands. Some audiences may find the humor cuts a bit too close to home -- literally. Human eating habits are intensely scrutinized, for obvious reasons. Vanity and self-serving hubris are duly repudiated. Plenty of clever asides will appeal to a wholesome sort of cultural nostalgia, without ever seeming derivative or repetitive. There are both heartwarming and chilling references to the importance of family, especially a family under external pressures from a society that they do not understand, a culture that considers them vermin. But the messages aren't overplayed, and mesh well with the rest of this utterly hilarious movie.
There's more, of course, but the bottom line is entertainment, and this movie did not disappoint. Even the extended slapstick, which I seldom enjoy in movies, was so outrageous and excessive that it punched through to my funny bone and had me slapping my knee along with my family. Oh yeah, my family -- they liked the movie too, they liked it a lot. Over the Hedge is one of those solid films to which parents can bring children and everyone has an unreserved good time. That puts it in some pretty esteemed company -- right up there with Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, et al. Highly enjoyable, highly recommended, 8/10.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I was transfixed! The animation? Gorgeous! The subtle
humor? Uproarious! The not-so-subtle humor? Even better! This was a
great movie that will surely be nominated for an Oscar if for no other
reason than the beauty of the animation. While I could have honestly
thought of a couple of better casting choices, I will mention that
Wanda Sykes, Thomas Haden Church and Steve Carrell were brilliant in
their roles. And who better to make fun of William Shatner than William
Shatner? Worthy of special mention (and a second look - go see this
movie again!): the Rottweiler interludes, the ripples in the water, the
porcupine quills, the oh-so-amazing foliage throughout the movie, and
Vincent's cartoonish-yet-strangely-scary expression.
Really REALLY a great movie that should appeal to all.
In 'Over the Hedge' Bruce Willis plays RJ, a raccoon who is in trouble.
He tried to take Vincent the bear's (Nick Nolte) food and has two weeks
to replace it or else. RJ's plan, to con a group of foragers into
collecting the food for him. Lead by Verne the turtle (Garry
Shandling), who does not trust RJ, the group is impressed with RJ's
knowledge of suburbia which has recently invaded their forest and has
built a hedge around of what is left of their environment. The group
decides to follow RJ, but will it be their undoing?
This is an awesome film with an all-star cast. With the likes of Steve Carell, William Shatner, and Thomas Haden Church; this movie is a true hit. Kids will love it, adults will love, and I loved it. Everyone is perfect in their roles; I have not seen a better animated film since 'Finding Nemo'.
I was able to see an advance showing of this movie with a mostly college-age audience and everyone was laughing throughout the movie. It was excellent. As my friend to the left said, sometimes the movie was over the top as well as over the hedge, but those times were some of the most hilarious. Action sequences early in the movie that had people roaring with laughter were topped by ones later on and small tidbits of comedy were spread throughout. Add to that the typical messages about family, friends, and doing-right and you have the formula for a great family comedy. The voice acting was solid; a really fine ensemble cast. I don't buy many animated movies, but I may have to pick this one up. Wheee!
This movie was better than I expected. I thought that it would be predictable and one of the dime a dozen animation films coming out now. I am an animation fan, and the animation was great, in addition to the story. The characters were somewhat predictable, but very well done and not boring. The voices are very well done as well. This is a movie that children can also enjoy (sounds kind of odd being that animation films are usually supposed to be for kids), in addition to adults. It has some really funny parts that are not cliché humor. Probably the best part about it is the message it sends about humans encroaching on animal habitats and how it affects the balance of nature.
I saw this film in a preview.It's release date is next month. Clever writing and wonderful animation make this movie a "must see" for both children and adults. The characters are well defined and the voices are perfect for each character. Some of the humor in the movie may be missed if one doesn't pay full attention to the dialog.There are several messages in the movie. One is a look at consumerism in the United States, another shows that using others for personal gain is a bad idea and lastly the importance of family in our society. The messages are there without this charming movie being preachy. I recommend that families attend the movie together and discuss it afterward.I am looking forward to the sequel!
Unbeknowist to me, Over the Hedge is based on a comic strip. I've never
seen it, but I can only imagine that it would be just as good as the
film, if not better. And while it's not an astonishment, I can say that
Hedge is genuinely enjoyable, and great fun for everyone.
R.J. (Bruce Willis) is a hungry raccoon, who just happens to make the mistake of his life when he tries to steal the huge supply of food that Vincent (Nick Nolte), a bear, has stored during his winter hibernation. Vincent is obviously upset, but he gives R.J. a week to collect all the food and everything that went with it, or he'll eat him. So as R.J. sets out, he comes across a new suburban area, filled with food and all of the things he needs. In the neighbouring forest, he finds a "family" of animals, lead by Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling). They are all searching for food as well, so R.J. helps teach them things about the human world that they are unaware of, and sets out to get the food he needs.
Of course, this is the main premise of the film, but it takes a few turns as all animated films do. And like many animated films before it, it has a great message, and is great for kids and adults. The film is packed with light laughs for children, and then the even bigger laughs for the adults. At the heart of the film, it's all basically about the effects of living/creating suburbia, and abusing consumerism. While it only touches on being satirical in this sense, it does offer the usual pop culture references, and many others too. And luckily, it was saved from the obligatory song and dance number that plagues other animated films.
The story is well written, but feels very brisk. It starts, it continues for a bit, and then it ends. It is not as short as some films, but you can't help but wonder what more could have been done if they had a little more running time. It is a much stronger film than other Dreamworks titles like Madagascar and Shark Tale, and really seems like it can stand next to the likes of Shrek 1 and 2.
The voice acting is all top-notch, from Willis' take no-nonsense raccoon, to the sadly missed Shandling as a neurotic turtle. Steve Carrell also stands out as the absolutely insane Hammy the squirrel, as does William Shatner as Ozzie the possum. As I had read before seeing the film, Shatner does an absolutely fabulous job playing possum. I couldn't stop laughing any time his character did something, it's just that great. The rest of the voice cast, from Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as parents of hedgehogs, to Wanda Sykes as a skunk, to Thomas Hayden Church as an exterminator, to Nick Nolte as Vincent the bear, all are great and well suited for their roles. They all have quite a bit of screen time, and none feel over-used at all (unlike Madagascar's blatant overuse of Ben Stiller and no one else). Of course, the random inclusion of Avril Lavinge as Shatner's daughter Heather was a little bizarre, you can see that she is at least making an attempt at voice acting here.
And as usual, the animation is excellent. While not being a total improvement from the likes of other Dreamworks films, the advancements are still very noticeable. The grass, the fur, the emotions and gestures, all of them are perfectly captured, and look gorgeous on film. All the colours are great too.
It's a funny movie, and a fabulous cast. It's one of the better animated films of the last few months.
My wife and I were able to attend an advance screening of Over the Hedge, and the two of us thought it was great. I had no idea what DreamWorks was planning to do with the comic strip, but I was pleasantly surprised. I am not a Madagascar or Shrek fan, but this film was actually pretty good and certainly worth my time. I am holding out hope that people who were otherwise on the fence, will decide to see it. Subtle messages about equal treatment, honesty, trust, and friendship are present without being heavy handed. The satire about America's consumer driven economy(particularly in the food industry) is relevant, refreshing, and intelligent. Adults will easily enjoy this film as much as kids, which is no easy task for a cartoon movie. I'm a big classic Disney fan and a lover of animation in general, and my advice to people who have a soft spot for great animation is to take the time to see what's "Over the Hedge", my daughter thinks that RJ and Hammy are the two cutest animals ever created. The trailer sells the slapstick humor that will draw its target audience into the theater, but please be aware that this film does in fact have heart and substance. I'm even wondering if the torch will pass from Disney to DreamWorks this year. In either case, Over the Hedge definitely gets my support!
While this movie doesn't have the depth of Finding Nemo or Shrek, it
was a very fun and well done animation by Dreamworks. The animation was
first rate, and the animals were very fun to watch. The voice acting
was superb and well cast. What I enjoyed the most about this movie
(other than the super funny bits here and there) is the social
commentary they presented. It's nothing serious, but it shows us how
gluttonous many of us "humans" have become. While many of the human
characters are exaggerations, there's quite a bit of truth behind each
caricature. My favorite is the Home Owner Association President. She
was so overdone (yet so realistic!) that I wasn't sure if I was
laughing because it was so true to life, or if it was just so out
Anyway, good movie, good times, and go with good company. After some mediocre animation movies from Dreamworks, they hit a good one again with Over the Hedge.
There's nothing not to like about this fantastic, engaging film--other than the fact that Avril Lavigne is lackluster in her big-screen debut. But her role has little impact on the bigger picture, so it's easy to skip over. Kids and adults will get an equally big kick out of OTH--it provides astute commentary on Americans' gluttonous relationship to food and precarious understanding of the animals that live on the outskirts of our lives; kids will love the brilliant animation, lovable characters and simple yet clever plot. It's a film about good vs. evil, and yes, lessons are learned. But it's far more than just a good way to fill two hours with your kids. I think it'll rank up there as one of Dreamworks' best films to date.
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