I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but I was pleasantly surprised by Over the Hedge. As anyone who has paid any attention to me knows I have absolutely despised the more recent “hits” DreamWorks has churned out, but this film was enjoyable and close enough to it’s source material that I was able to appreciate what was accomplished.
The voice acting was phenomenal. Eugene Levy and Catharine O’Hara as Minnesotan porcupines? William Shatner as an overacting possum? Thomas Hayden Church as The Verminator*? It’s the funniest thing this side of Mars! And Steve Carrell…he’s the next Robin Williams of animation…I hope to God that the DVD has outtakes of him in the booth.
The biggest change from the source material (if you can call it that) is that this is more of an introductory story to the world of Over the Hedge. It’s about the characters first encounter with civilization and the glory of the refrigerator. Obviously a movie can’t be about something as serialized as that (I can’t imagine a sequel, but I could definitely imagine a TV series of CG stuff…that would be bitchin’), so we have to introduce the characters and set a goal for them to accomplish. With a boilerplate story like that, throw in a dash of conflict and betrayal and an awakening of truth within the hero and you’ve got a decent movie. Definitely recommend this one.
Oh yeah…and what was with that “short” before the movie? I couldn’t quite get into it a) because it’s a fat guy and b) because I’m so dead set against DreamWorks. But the short felt kind of like the Pixar shorts in that it felt like it was the brainchild of one of DreamWorks’ staff…so I guess I just have to accept it. DreamWorks has to compete with Pixar…but the short feels like more of a business reaction than a thoroughly fleshed out artistic statement.
*I disapprove of his character modeling though. If you’re gonna model a fat guy, you have to get Wayne Knight, period.