Over the Hedge

Film Icon This was our DVD choice last night.

The trailers for this film looked promising, and since we both love animated children’s features we decided it was time to get this one out of the video store.

It is the story of a raccoon (RJ, played by Bruce Willis) who gets on the wrong side of a bear (Vincent, played by Nick Nolte), and then goes about using the naïvity of a family of critters who are newly awakened from hibernating to get himself out of trouble.

Interestingly both raccoons and possums are meant to be nocturnal animals, and as far as I know the possum doesn’t actually hibernate and I’m not so sure any of the other animals in this animated family group do either. But in the interests of film-making that is pretty much ignored.

Perhaps I’m feeling a bit grouchy this weekend, or perhaps I’m a little bit jaded over the anthropomorphising of animals. I don’t really know.

Actually, I do know. This movie is a rip-off of Ice Age, which incidentally, was the Saturday night movie on TV last night. The morality theme was pretty much identical – that of using people for your own means followed by the awakening of a “spirit of family”. It is also the second movie I have seen this year that uses the hyped-up squirrel motif in conjunction with caffeine intake – see a much funnier version in Hoodwinked.
The casting didn’t really do the film any favours. For the most part the main characters were fairly blandly voiced, with the exceptions of Wanda Sykes (Stella), William Shatner (Ozzie) and Thomas Haden Church (Dwayne).

I’m getting fussy in my old age. I’ve been spoiled with the cleverness, intelligence, uniqueness and inventiveness of the Shrek and Ice Age franchises, and then on to the parody that is Hoodwinked. These really are films that both children and adults can enjoy. Over the Hedge is a pale imitation of any of those predecessors.

My rating:
Despite all of the comments above, this movie has some very funny moments and for kids they probably won’t care about some of the stuff I have mentioned, so I’ll rate it a 2.5 out of 5.
For adults wanting to enjoy a movie alongside their kids, and hoping for a multi-levelled offering, I have to rate this a 1 out of 5. This one won’t be an addition to my DVD collection.

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