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Movie Review

Open Season

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor, mild action and brief language

Reviewed by: Maggie Hays
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
September 29, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Sony Pictures

Bears in the Bible

Animals in the Bible

click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Jon Favreau
Director: Jill Culton, Roger Allers, Anthony F. Stacchi
Producer: John Carls, Steve Moore, Christopher Jenkins
Distributor: Sony Pictures

“The odds are about to get even.”

It’s a cliche—the hunters versus the woodland creatures in this animated tale of a grizzly bear and a deer who team up to outwit their predators. They are aided by a kind forest ranger (voiced by Debra Messing of “Will and Grace” fame) who raised the grizzly from cubhood. Boog, the grizzly, is voiced by Martin Lawrence (“Def Comedy Jam”) while Elliot, the one-antlered mule deer is Ashton Kutcher (“That 70’s Show”). This film resembles “Shrek”—the annoying sidekick following the lumbering main character around. Kutcher’s voicing of the deer even sounds like Eddie Murphy doing the donkey in “Shrek.”

It’s a predictable story. The big bad hunter going crazy in the woods amid all the sweet cute furry critters (my favorite was the porcupine). You can probably almost write the story yourself. However, despite all that, I laughed at one hilarious point in this movie until tears rolled down my cheeks. The excellence of the humor is not maintained, though, and toward the end of the overly-long film, I was feeling tired and bored.

There is really nothing new in this movie. Parents should be aware that you may not find funny the scenes showing an animal defecating, passing gas, or saying “crappin.” The PG rating is for rude humor. The crudeness is not excessive, though, and children will enjoy this pretty little movie about lovable animals, if they don’t find the movie a little too long and have difficulty being attentive.

All in all, this movie does not equal the quality of “Shrek,” but it is a nice family-friendly film that adults can share with their children. This is the first full-length feature film from Sony Pictures Animation, and I hope we see more from them.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Surrounded by many kids, I looked forward to a surround sound of laughter. That happened fewer than the number of fingers on both hands. The trailers showed the best parts, but they do not occur until the last 15 minutes of the movie. Before that is a series of potty humor and crude comments that the authors use to appeal to an older audience.

The story is a reverse of “Jungle Book”, the animal here leaves civilization to return to the wild. The premise is good, but the script just does not carry it off. The characters mix in street talk for laughs. Martin Lawrence's Boog is a poor imitation of “Jungle Book”'s Baloo by Phil Harris. Gary Sinise’s Shaw is very good as the villain Shaw, but limited compared to George Sanders' Shere Khan in “Jungle Book.”

By today’s standards, the movie is okay for with older children that have memorized the “Jungle Book” DVD and are looking to go to the movies, but you will not be seeing “Jungle Book”'s cleverness, variety of characters, or multi-level humor. Though “Open Season”'s cartoon animation is outstanding, know that some scenes are tasteless: chorus singing hallelujahs when Boog finds a toilet he can use, and dancing when he comes out.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Bill Walters, age 58
Positive—My family went to go see this movie. We enjoyed it. Sure, there is potty humor, but let’s face it, children think it’s funny. Though I don’t understand why it’s so funny, I wasn’t the main target audience for this film. I liked the main point of the film, loyalty to your friends to the point of sacrifice. I also liked the point that was made that when Elliott was made to feel like a “loser,” Boog pointed out that we all have qualities that could be construed in other people’s opinions as being loser-like. Yes, I agree that the movie is cliched, but I never get tired of the “David and Goliath” story no matter what its form. Does it have a political agenda? I don’t know. Neither does my daughter. As for the crudeness, I didn’t see any more crudeness in this film as there was in “Shrek” (in part one, not two). I went to the movie to sit and laugh with my daughter, not autopsy a kid movie and point out the pitfalls of Hollywood. If that’s what you want to do as well, then you’ll enjoy this movie.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Dawn, age 34
Positive—…a very decent, fun, very entertaining film. You start off with a civilization-adapted bear, throw in a accident-prone one-horn dear, then toss them both deep into the forest, and watch the hilarious footage through it all. The ride will have you bursting out laughing several times, and at least chuckling through most of it, and there was only one montage that had me waiting for the next scene, the rest of this movie kept me interested. There was actually even one scene where everyone was laughing so hard, I couldn’t even hear what was being said! (and the theater was only about a quarter full) The characters are great, classic I would even say, though perhaps in a somewhat cliche way. The story, too, was heartfelt, though not the most inspiring film, the fact remains, you get what you come for, laughs, and then some.

On the negative side this film has several crude moments, ranging from doing the splits and being hurt to bodily functions; one scene that is a bit rough, dealing with mounted animals (decapitated in more ways then one), and some lightly implied wrong views that they can put in children’s minds about hunters and the relationship between man and beast that God intended after the Garden of Eden. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under 10, unless the child is mature enough to understand the before-mentioned and can handle the mounted animals scene. Even then through the age of 12, I would be sure to explain how this movie is fictional, and hunters do not all fit that redneck, break the law, hate animals, mold that this movie seems to have the ability to impression on kids. I also don’t recommend this to those who would consider a deer doing its business appalling, but most everyone I saw it with thought such was hilarious, and I myself thought it was quite funny given the moment.

In the end however, I feel most teens and adults will love it. There were actually plenty more adults there then kids, and this is one of those movies I seriously feel is clean enough to watch, and have plenty of fun along the way. I even found myself wanting to sit through another view, but sadly I wasn’t able to I plan to at least rent, if not buy, this one. … If there were a serious moral theme here, it was to love others, even when they aren’t perfect, or they hurt you before. Both Boog(bear) and Elliot(deer) make mistakes in regard to what a true friendship should be, but of course agree to be partners later on in the movie. Boog also abandons his own dream to help others, who in fact weren’t being very good to him, but he was doing it out of love. So yes, there are also some good moral views to be seen here as well. …

Pros: Great, fun movie, very clean
Cons: Not the best for young children, crude humor is a deserving rating
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—CJ, age 21
Positive—I think this movie overall was pretty good. I took 3 seven year olds and they enjoyed it as well. I almost didn’t go because of one person’s comment about a scene where they say something about sex between a dog and a human. This scene, if I am getting the right one, is so subtle that I think a lot of people missed it. The only reason I got it was because I was concerned about this scene. It went over my kids head, and when I asked another adult who had seen the movie, they didn’t notice it at all. The movie doesn’t explicitly state this, unless I did totally miss it and I sat through the whole movie. Also, the scene about the defecation is so quick, it’s a split second, and it’s over. They don’t show the deer’s privates while doing it, nor do they show the stuff directly. Granted, there is a lot of other potty humor but that’s what a lot of kids think is funny. The only scary scene was when the bear is in the hunter’s cabin, but even my one child, who gets scared very easily, sat by herself and was okay. When asked she did say it was scary and wanted to sit with me. There was one scene that I did not like and that was when the bear and the deer broke into the store and made a mess. However, I talked with my kids about it and the fact that it was very wrong and a crime. Overall, we liked the movie and would see it again.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Amy, age 41
Positive—This was a good film, I enjoyed it, and I know that my daughter did, too. We both had great laughs, and enjoyed the humor.
My Ratings: Average / 3½
—Marc Lemon, age 31
Neutral
Neutral—This movie was very funny and full of action as it swept you high speed through every emotion from pathos to laugh out loud guffaws! Unfortunately, the excellent animation and wit was spoiled somewhere in the middle when the bathroom humor came in full tilt—a reference to sex between a dog and a human was particularly offensive, as was the subtle way they laughed off the F-word at one point and had a deer reaching between his legs to produce a snack from a pack. Shades of “Shrek” and the gingerbread boy’s “Eat me”?

Come to think of it, this movie was very much modeled on the Shrek-donkey relationship, a big dumb, lovable guy and an annoying scheming non-friend who wants to be loved traveling cross-country. The audience loved the opening night show and applauded loudly at the end. We left saddened that such a great story was once again ruined by Hollywood. Won’t be recommending it at church or outside church!
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Christopher Winter, age 51
Neutral—Overall, this is an average spin off of “Madagascar” and “The Wild” with inspiration from “Shrek” and Donkey thrown in. Unfortunately, the toilet humor seemed to exceed what I have seen in animated movies by a long shot. There is even an on screen scene of animal defecation. Sexual jokes, jokes about bodily functions, and childish language (booger, etc). abound. Apparently the film may also be too violent/scary for really young kids as at least one kid started to cry loudly when the bear entered home of the hunter and saw the mutilated (or rather stuffed and mounted) animals throughout the home. Because the movie was done from the animals perspective this scene was too much for the little girl to take and she had to be taken to the restroom. Don’t get me wrong, it is a mildly entertaining movie, but nothing special and the toilet humor was just too much, particularly the defecation scene.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
—David C, age 39
Neutral—Here we go again with Hollywood hoping to catch the interest in both adult and child with crude comments and suggestive actions. I took my ten year old to this movie and was again sadly disappointed with what I thought was a boring film with off colored remarks that make me wonder if the filmmakers actually have children and if so I fear that they need some major parenting 101 in what not to subject your child to. I don’t think this movie should be rated offensive but I do think we need to be careful on how much of the world we allow in to our young children’s minds.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Angela, age 36
Neutral—The movie had some funny parts. However, I believe we are programming our Christian children to believe that anything goes. We have no choice but to settle for less. Why do producers find it continually necessary to add the crude humor to sell their movies? Every animated film I have been to see has had the phrase, “What the…” in it at some point. Not to mention all the other references to ideas or actions that HOPEFULLY go over some of the kids' heads. There is a Focus on the Family film that was put out a number of years ago that basically tells the message to be careful what you see and do because if you put it in your mind it’s gonna stay right there in your heart. If the children find crude humor humorous, they’ll certainly be repeating it in the school yard. Is that what we are suppose to be “writing on our doorposts?”
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
—mtmomof5, age 39
Negative
Negative—I brought my 7-year-old daughter to the movie, and we were enjoying it, until the reference about the dog having sex with a person. I was distracted during that scene of the movie, so I thought I must of heard it wrong or something. But now that I’ve read other reviews from other parents, I realize I did hear it right.

I find it to be very offensive, and I cannot believe Hollywood would allow such trash to be put into a children’s movie. As Christians, we should not support filth and by us paying to see the movie we are condoning it. I regret taking my daughter to this film, and I do not recommend it. think we should protest or something and ask them to take the scene out.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—B. Eggerton, age 43
Negative—This was another example of Hollywood’s attempt to desensitize our youth to crassness. Since the Bible tells us to focus on things that are pure and holy, I wish I had never seen this movie, and I will NOT be taking a child to see it.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Mary, age 42
Comments from young people
Neutral—This movie was predictable and unoriginal. There were parts that were hilarious, and parts that were just barely entertaining. I recommend that you wait until the movie comes out on video, but then again, if you have kids they might like it a lot. And if you have anything against rabbit abuse, don’t go at all.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Anna, age 15
Positive—I thought this movie was really funny. I didn’t see very much wrong with it at all. I think little kids would definitely enjoy it, as I know I did. It was a little bit like “Shrek,” but I thought it was more family-friendly. I would definitely recommend this movie to other people and their children! I think it is a movie that will definitely keep you laughing!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Brooke, age 13
Positive—This movie was awesome. My whole family and I enjoyed it very much. It was funny, and it reminded me of “Over the Hedge.” I think I’ll buy it on DVD.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Evan, age 13
Positive—Me and my family found this film hilarious, and I would highly recommend it for other families. We found ourselves laughing all throughout the movie. And, as with other good movies, we found ourselves leaving the theatre reciting our favorite lines, which were too funny to forget. I have heard people voicing comments about the bathroom humor, but in all honesty, I don’t believe it was that bad, including the defecating scene. It’s nothing worse than what you would see on a Discovery Channel or Animal Planet special. The kids found it rather funny, and I heard them all laughing. I would not recommend showing it in a church, however, because some parents might be offended by it, and you may want to think about having your child close their eyes when you get to the scene in the cabin where they show the animal’s heads stuffed and mounted on the wall. Other than that, it was a great movie, and me and my family will be buying it when it comes out.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Rachel Hutcheson, age 16
Neutral—Well, my brother and I went to see this, thinking it looked funny and hoping for something similar to “Over The Hedge.” I must say we were both rather disappointed. The movie had its moments and a few funny parts, but I’d not pay eight dollars or whatever the going rate is to see it. Not worth the money. I’d recommend “Over The Hedge,” because it doesn’t dwell on the crudeness, it has a better story, and is just made better overall. “Open Season” doesn’t leave you with any attachment to the characters, it has hardly any story, and is rather crude. …Find another movie!
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Stephan, age 15
Negative—I just saw this movie and am really disappointed from it. While I sat there in the theater, I was surrounded by laughter, though I never laughed. It seems every minute there was some inappropriate joke, reference, etc., that instead of making me smile, made me frown. I frowned because the one’s doing the laughing were the kids (6-9) and the adults, as they traded off. First, a bathroom humor type joke. Children laugh. Then a reference to some… much more inappropriate instance, and the adults laugh. I went with my 12 year old brother, who also did not like it at all. We both would have rather not gone at all. Please, do not take your children to see this movie, do not expose them to what the world thinks is funny. For the world is blind, their eyes closed in sin. Teach your child what it means to be Godly and in the light, not what is worldly and trapped in the darkness of sin.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
—Carson Baker, age 14
Positive—This movie was very entertaining and mostly clean for a PG movie. The overall story was good and the characters are funny. Go see this movie, take your whole family, you won’t be disappointed.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Linda, age 15