a critiQal film review Open Season (2006)

Plot: A 900-pound domesticated grizzly bear named Boog (Lawrence) ends up stranded in the woods during hunting season with a scrawny, one-horned mule deer (Kutcher) - and it's up to the duo to rally all the other forest animals to turn the tables on the hunters.

658 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 17s)
  • ...unfortunately, even if you make it past the "American Idol" reject soundtrack, there's not much going for this animated film.

With the big influx of animated films hitting theaters these days, a new one seems to pop up every couple of weeks. Since we just can’t afford to see them all in theaters, we decided to wait for Sony Pictures Animation’s latest entry, Open Season, to hit DVD before checking it out.

Sure, the previews looked decent enough, but they didn’t show anything that really piqued our interest enough to spend the big bucks to see it. Once it arrived on DVD, however, we figured we’d check out Open Season. After all, it could be pretty good, right? And at the very least, we knew our favorite dog, the dachshund, was in the film, so that alone would be worth the price of renting it.

Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher – quite an unlikely pair. However, the two of them lend their voices to the main characters (a bear and a deer, respectively) in Open Season. While they seem an unlikely duo, they work pretty well together in the film, and their voices help create realism for this animated film.

While some of the other voice actors are well-used (especially Billy Connolly as a territorial squirrel), some are rather ill-used (Gary Sinise’s hunter never gets a fair shake on-screen). Whether the filmmakers use them well or not, however, all of the voices are well done, and fit well with the roles they are given.

Gary Sinise has a sinister voice, and would have been able to bring the hunter to a much higher level if the filmmakers had let him, but the hunter comes off more goofy and mentally challenged than really evil. Maybe that’s be design, as an actually evil hunter may have given the younger viewers quite a scare. After all, the hunter’s goal is to kill the fluffy (supposedly lovable) main characters of the film – maybe that did need to be toned down a little for the younger viewers.

Open Season has a decent – if rather far-fetched – plot. A bear that’s used to living the good life as basically a domesticated animal, is forcibly introduced into the wild after a misunderstanding, and has to deal with all the unaccustomed “roughness” the wild provides. He then bonds with the other “wild” animals to fend off a group of hunters.

While this seems like it could be the start of something fun for the whole family, Open Season fails to really ever pull the viewer in. That may be in part to the cartoonish cast of the whole film, which may cause some viewers to think this is more of a made-for-TV cartoon than an actual film – especially after the songs of the film start playing.

Open Season has one of the worst soundtracks to an animated film ever. With a nauseatingly bad singer – complete with cracking voice – singing over too many of the scenes in the film, it’s hard for the viewer to really get into the film. Every time the film starts enticing the viewer to forget reality, that bad singing interrupts again, keeping the viewer at a distance (and possibly causing some to give up on the film altogether).

With that horrendous crooning drowning out any of the more positive aspects of the film, Open Season will not get many votes for favorite animated film from anyone – except maybe those who enjoy listening to the “American Idol” tryout shows. Wherever they found this “American Idol” reject, let’s hope they send him back – and soon.

If the viewer is able to make it past the awful caterwauling, the rest of the film is actually rather boring. While their are a few scenes worthy of laughter, most of the scenes are a bit dull, rather than fun-filled.

Even kids will probably tire of Open Season rather quickly, so spend your rental money to re-watch a Disney classic, instead of on this one – you’ll be much better off.

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