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Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Dreamworks' latest foray in 3D animation. Besides Antz and the (good but somewhat overrated) Shrek films, most of Dreamworks' 3D animated films had been rather mediocre. My greatest annoyance about these films had always been the pop cultural references. They are admittedly funny in the Shrek movies, but usually fall flat, or seem awkward in others. Seriously, these pop cultural jokes are so jarring that they really take away my enjoyment of the film, making me feel unnecessarily cynical whilst watching a children's film. What's the point? Oh right, score some easy laughs from older members of the audiences, but it removes the sense of timelessness that we see in most Pixar productions.

(For example, when I saw a character named Stella, why was I NOT surprised that there would be a Streetcar Named Desire reference where we have someone yelling STELLAAAAAAAAA Marlon Brando (R.I.P.) style?)

Of course, it's unfair to compare a Dreamworks animated film to a Pixar film, since I've read about how the former usually churns out a film much quicker than the latter (notice that there's a Dreamworks animated film every year while we have to wait 2-3 years for a Pixar film), and its strategy is usually to recruit an all-star voice cast to cover up its deficiencies. (Over the Hedge is no exception, having Bruce Willis, William Shatner, Steve Carell, Nick Nolte, Thomas Haden Church, Eugene Levy and even Avril Lavigne doing the voices.)

The film's about a scheming raccoon (Bruce Willis!) who tricked a mismatched family of forest animals (a skunk, hedgehogs, a squirrel, a tortoise and possums) into helping him repay a food debt he owed a psychopathic bear by stealing from a suburban sprawl. Right, we are supposed to be rooting for the cute little animals because they are cute, and decide that the humans (the human mom looking uncannily like that mom in The Invincibles) are evil because they are materialistic and cruel (by hiring a pest-killer to kill these animals in the most violent of ways), but come on, I felt that the reactions of the humans are pretty justifiable, I would've been driven to blind rage if my food at home had been stolen nightly by animals.

But anyway, the scheming raccoon gradually learns the meaning of family, of unity and equality, falling into a dilemma between saving his own hide, or continue lying to his new surrogate family. Gee, I wonder how that would work out for him. Over The Hedge is supposed to be a film with heart, but its heart feels so manufactured that I was incapable of feeling anything at all. It's those kind of film that would be forgotten not too long after you've finished it. You aren't even missing much even if you haven't seen it. Go watch Cars instead.

Watch music video of Korean superstar BoA's 'People Say...', theme song for the Korean version of Over The Hedge.