Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Over the Hedge" review

So at LepreCon a week and something ago JohnOC picked up a free pass for the sneak preview of "Over the Hedge" last night. I actually HAVE wanted to see this movie, DreamWorks *usually* does great stuff, and I wanted to pre-screen the movie for my 'ittle ones. So when John asked which one of us was going with him, I had no problem beating my hubby to the punch.

The verdict: I am absolutely amazed.

There is actually one original movie out this summer.

I could have sworn all of the plot lines possible were overused at this point. This summer alone we have Poseidon (remake), yet another Adam Sandler movie, yet another The Fast and the Furious movie, yet another "bad relationship" Jennifer Aniston movie, the usual crop of un-original screamers.... you get the idea. I wasn't expecting an actual good movie this summer that WASN'T based on a comic book series.

For all of you who don't know the general plot line, a group of forest creatures come out of hibernation to find that half of the forest they lived in was now a suburban development. A street-wise raccoon helps them learn how to deal with the suburbanites, and the plot goes from there. There are plenty of twists and turns and the entire movie is hilarious. In typical DreamWorks fashion there are lots of adult-only pop reference jokes but the movie is safe for the typical 6+ crowd (there is some quite funny but not fatal violence).

Now, one of the things that is really great about the movie is it's quite obvious bashing of suburbia and suburbanites. The caricatures of the HOA president and exterminator are great (if you hate HOAs, go see this movie for catharsis) along with other features of suburban life. Once again the references are funny for kids, but funny for adults on a whole different level.

But one of the greatest things about the movie is the voice acting. Usually in animated movies where famous people do the voice acting you spend most of the movie trying to forget who is doing the acting because it's painfully obvious. Not in this movie. Sure, it's got Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte and Garry Shandling, but all I heard were the characters. The ONE exception was not a case of bad voice acting, but a case of William Shatner making fun of HIMSELF as the father possum that plays dead very convincingly ("must...go...towards the light") which is just another great adult-level joke.

But I have to say that while the movie was hilarious and actually had a good moral for kids (family sticks together and takes care of each other) what I appreciated the most was what the movie was lacking:
  • For being a movie about animals losing their habitat, there was NO preaching about enviromental responsibility and NO attempts to get rid of the humans (amazing, I know).
  • Even though the movie featured one of the achievements of capitalism (suburbia) in an amusing light it did not villify all of the humans or the lifestyle, or even capitalism for that matter.
  • NO SOCIALIST INDOCTRINATION. Yes, I know. We didn't think it was possible either.
So there you have it. "Over the Hedge" is a great family movie, but also hilarious if you just want to see it as an adult. It's a great story and well done and I will most certainly be dragging Chris to it very soon. And of course buy the dvd.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.