An Animated Feast for the Eyes and Funny Bone
Release Date: September 29, 2006
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 84 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Roger Allers and Jill Culton
Executive Producer: Steve Moore and John Carls
Producer: Michelle Murdocca
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/MGM/TriStar/Screen Gems)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
The story of OPEN SEASON is based on an idea from cartoonist Steve Moore, creator of the IN THE BLEACHERS comic strip. Martin Lawrence stars as Boog, a genial grizzly bear. Boog enjoys human comforts in his own private garage, courtesy of his surrogate mother, Beth, a kindhearted forest ranger who rescued Boog as a cub. Boog is the star of Beth's nature show in the amphitheatre of the tranquil town of Timberline.
Boog seems to have the perfect life – until Elliot appears. Elliot (voiced by ASHTON KUTCHER) is a scrawny, fast-talking mule deer who arrives in town missing an antler and strapped to the hood of a truck belonging to fanatical hunter Shaw (voiced by Gary Sinise). Boog sets Elliot loose, but Elliot tracks Boog down to his home and starts getting him into all sorts of trouble.
When Boog gets into a fight with Elliot backstage and frightens the families at Beth's nature show, Beth sees the writing on the wall. She relocates Boog and Elliot to the deep forest, far above the falls. There begins a hilarious journey wherein Boog and Elliot place all the animals above the falls in danger of being killed by the human hunters during Open Season.
The animation in OPEN SEASON is wonderful. The 3-D images at the IMAX screening were so spectacular that the little boy sitting next to one of MOVIEGUIDE®'s reviewers stood up in front of his seat and tried to pet the fur on Boog's brown back.
The story and characters in OPEN SEASON are also very lively and appealing. The cast of voices, led by Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, and Gary Sinise, does a superb job. Billy Connolly is brilliant as the Scottish-sounding leader of a pack of wily, angry squirrels. Backing these characters up is a crazy cast of side-characters featuring ducks, beavers, skunks, and rabbits.
OPEN SEASON overtly rebukes lying in one scene, but the main story is about the value of friendship. Much of the comedy in the movie comes from the fact that Boog and Elliot don't always get along. In the end, however, when Boog realizes that he has put Elliot's life in danger, as well as the lives of the other animals above the falls, he decides to help protect them from the hunters. Both Boog and Elliot have to learn that true friends must be honest with one another and work together in order to accomplish positive things.
The movie's premise, however, validates the proposition that a big wild animal like Boog should be treated as a wild animal whose true home is in the forest, not as a domesticated pet. Both Boog and Beth must learn this lesson. Elliot's antics result in Boog being stranded in the wilderness, far away from the place where he wants to be: living in Beth's garage. Boog tries to get back to Beth, but his efforts put Elliot and the other animals in danger. Then, when Boog realizes he must help protect Elliot and the animals from the hunters, it dawns on him that he really does belong in the forest, not in Beth's garage. The movie suggests that Boog's newfound realization is a realization that he should accept the "natural order of things." Thus, by implication, OPEN SEASON adopts the biblical, conservative view that it is natural for wild animals to live in the forest and wilderness where they belong. Even when people put a wild animal into a human zoo, it is natural for the zoo officials to place the animal in a setting as close to their natural habitat as possible, the way that God intended.
OPEN SEASON contains some light off-color humor, including a few jokes about Boog going to the toilet in a toilet and going to the toilet in the wild. It also has some strong slapstick humor. For example, in one scene, Elliot throws rabbits against Boog's garage window to get his attention. In the scene where Boog and Elliot fight backstage behind the curtains of Beth's nature show, the audience sees shadows of their fight. The shadows look as if Boog is mauling and disemboweling Elliot. Finally, OPEN SEASON also has some scary moments featuring the fanatical hunter. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution for young children.
OPEN SEASON is very funny, lively and clever. The animation is wonderful, and the 3-D images in the IMAX format are spectacular. The movie has a strong moral worldview extolling friendship, rebuking lying at one point and validating God's natural order of things. It contains some light off-color humor, strong slapstick violence and scary moments, however. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children.