Saturday, May 27, 2006

"You're The Devil"

Last night I took my older son out for pizza and a movie. I've been wanting to see Over the Hedge since seeing the previews on the Madagascar DVD. Before this morning, I had never seen the comic strip on which the movie is based so I had no familiarity with the setting or the characters going into the movie.

The opening scenes involving a raccoon futilely trying to get snacks from a vending machine and then trying to steal a cache of junk food from a bear's cave were, quite frankly, uninteresting. Some wildlife just doesn't do it for me. Raccoons are just boring animals, while bears can be delightfully entertaining if handled right. Neither the bear or the raccoon had any dimension or color to their characters.

Yeah, I might have preferred them in yellow spandex. (Or maybe the vending machine scene bothered me, since I am responsible for freeing stuck snacks for my colleagues at work, or refunding their money if we can't get them unstuck. I have grown to hate those machines. I go to cute kids' movies to get away from stuff like that.)

But things improved once the Raccoon met up with a motley troupe of critters living in an idyllic patch of vegetation in the midst of a newly constructed neighborhood of human dwellings. It wasn't hard to figure out who the good guys were and who the bad guys were, or which character was going to have a major change of heart and save the day for the cute little animals. OF COURSE the humans were going to be "evil", or at best a bunch of weirdoes. OF COURSE the raccoon was going to reveal his true intentions and win acceptance into the ranks of the troupe in spite of himself. But predictable doesn't mean that it wasn't a good movie.

The longer the movie went on, the funnier it got. It got a little distracting listening to the father-daughter opossum tandem of William Shatner and Avril Lavigne because two thoughts kept popping into my head: one, that the daddy opossum is CAPTAIN KIRK; and two, that the casting for the opossums was excellent because Shatner and Lavigne are both CANADIAN. Should that matter in a cartoon? No, it was trivial, and I thought it was a clever move.

I won't spoil it any more for you; if you like the current style of CGI animation, just go see it. It's a fine addition to the genre. And look for the homage to Pepe Le Pew. Here, Kitty Kitty!

(Some fine clips are on display at ComingSoon.net.)

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