Over the Hedge (2006)
I actually liked this one. It uses the DreamWorks formula and story structure, but gives it some great moments and interesting characters. And, importantly, a bunch of the jokes are really funny.
The basic story template is pretty solid, and most heavily inspired by Toy Story. RJ the raccoon plays the hotshot new
toy animal and Verne the turtle plays the tenured, conservative toy animal. The duplicitous RJ receives a memorable voice-actor in Bruce Willis, and he lends the role considerable charisma. (Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, and especially Steve Carell provide some other memorable voicework.)
The quality of the gags ranges from amusing to downright hysterical — Hammy’s encounter with speed-of-light travel is one of the most bizarre and inspired moments in any DreamWorks film. And the comedy at the expense of upper middle class hits close to home in all the right ways.
If only the movie had a good soundtrack… Wait, Ben Folds wrote and recorded a bunch of kickass songs specifically for the movie?
That’s it. I’m in, I’m all in.
Favorite moment: Hammy breaks the speed of light by sipping an energy drink
Hold up. Ben Folds provided some of the songs for this movie? I’ve never been the kind to purchase albums or attend concerts (I don’t even own an iPod) but it’s easy to see how talented Folds is from just a few YouTube videos. I clearly need to listen to some of his other stuff, especially since I thought he did a good job with the songs he was in charge of. While I don’t think I share Dan’s enthusiasm for the movie’s humor, I do find it odd that this is one of the lesser-known DreamWorks movie.
I mean, Dan compared the Over the Hedge to Toy Story! Maybe the plot is a bit too similar, as he points out, but I don’t know. I felt Over the Hedge was less about the jokes and more about the story, even if they did bring in a bunch of comedians for voices. In other words, I think this is DreamWorks first attempt at a GOOD film. It’s not trying to out-do Pixar or Disney; it’s not an exercise in marketing; it’s not a mindless comedy. It’s a film that tries. And even if the end result was bland and unremarkable, this is one of the few earlier DreamWorks films that doesn’t leave me sick to my stomach.
I’m tempted to join Dan and hand DreamWorks their first “underrated” verdict, but I’m going to hold off and reserve it for DreamWorks’ better works. We’re going to visit another one of Disney’s dark ages next, but after 2007, we have some of animation’s best movies to review, including films from a much matured DreamWorks Animation Studio. Over the Hedge was just one of the first signs that better things lied ahead.
Verdict: Properly Rated
Favorite moment: When the possum plays dead and whispers, “Rosebud…”
Final Grade: C- (72%)–One of the first signs that better things lied ahead for the maturing DreamWorks studio.
For the full article: http://earnthis.net/animation-evaluation-dreamworks-1998-2006/