My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching Over the Hedge is that it is mediocre. It has some good, some bad, but not really that memorable. Well, it did not irritate me like the past films that I have reviewed in the past. It is not bad, but forgettable.
This is the first film to be distributed by Paramount instead of DreamWorks after they were purchased in 2005. This film was originally going to be released in November 2005, but it was pushed back. The film took over 3 years to create, so it was in production from at least 2003.
Originally, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were considered to be the voices of RJ and Verne, but they got Jim Carrey to be RJ, but then dropped out the project and finally getting replaced by Bruce Willis. Also, Gene Wilder was to be a character in the movie, but declined. So from looking at the final project and the development of the movie, they were going celebrity-crazy; more than usual.
The hedge in the movie was designed off of the hedge in the front of DreamWorks studios, as it grew vines and stuff. Live action footage of the forest, hoses, parks, and backyards were taken and used as inspiration to animate. an animator put a camera on a dog to let it run around a house, so they can animate it from an animal’s point of view.
So the movie starts with a raccoon named RJ (Bruce Willis) trying to get a bag of chips out of a vending machine but after it is taking too long, he decides to steal food from a bear named Vincent (Nick Nolte). We can guess how this will turn out…
So the bear tells him to fetch him all his food back in a week (when he comes out of hibernation) and if he doesn’t he will kill him. So while the bland pop-rock song Family of Me is played, he realizes that he should go to the suburbs to get the food.
The next morning, Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling) and his family of animals wake up from hibernation, and they are all starving for food. RJ watches them ramble about their food issues, and an idea pops in his head. Hammy (Steve Carell) tells them that there is a hedge near.
So after some bad, tasteless humor (I never laughed at these as a child either), Verne goes through the hedge to experience the traumas of Suburbia. RJ sees this as his opportunity to trick them into doing his dirty work. Verne does not trust him, but they all give in after he demonstrates the goodness of cheese.
SO that evening, they decide to rob Gladys’ (Allison Janney) food and RJ shows them an unnecessarily long scene of humans and food. He then finally introduces them to the garbage can, so they can eat all that they want.
After the crazy Gladys gets them out of her home, the animals tells RJ that they do not want to go back to Suburbia ever again. The next morning, all the animals except Verne are missing having human food and are dulled out with tree bark. RJ tells them this bullcrap sob story to convince them to let him stay, which they agree to.
He uses Hammy to help him steal a bunch of Girl Guide cookies from the two girls, but they were prepared and fought the two off. Verne (who followed them) end up there as well, and scares off the girls by…
So, now it is montage which is guided by the mediocre song Heist. The animals rob many houses out of their food and RJ begins to grow closer to the animals as his family, and making this bitch crazier by the moment.
So after a heist almost goes bad as Ozzie (William Shatner) almost gets killed, thanks to the exterminator (Thomas Haden Church), RJ starts to feel bad about what he is eventually going to do to the family, and he soon finds out that Verne is returning the food back to the humans. Them arguing leads the dog to come and chase after them and all the food to be gone.
When they return to the forest, everyone turns against Verne because they think he’s jealous, and that he was about to return the food. It is almost a week and he has no food to give to the bear, and realizes what a situation he got himself into.
He sees the food being delivered to Gladys’ home and all remorse goes away as he makes a plan with all the animals to hijack the food.
They makeover Stella (Wanda Sykes), so she can seduce the cat to get the collar while they sneak in the home. The porcupine triplets accidentally wake up Gladys, and she goes crazy on them. She calls the exterminator after kicking Heather (Avril Lavigne).
RJ accidentally reveals that he is handing all that food to the homicidal bear, and dips out of there, while the other animals gets trapped by the exterminator. He walks through the forest, but finds the bear waiting for him. How did the bear know where RJ would be?
Anyways, he goes to the truck, which causes it to go crazy and all the animals are released. The bear goes after him and they refuse to let RJ in until Verne tells them to. Eventually, Hammy saves the day and traps the bear, exterminator, and Gladys.
RJ decides to stay with them, as he found his family and they all say that it was a hectic first week of spring. Hammy has filled the tree with nuts, so they are good for the year.
The characters in this film are one-dimensional for the most part except for Verne and RJ, and even they are not that engaging. These characters are very forgettable, so I am going to sum each one with 10 words maximum.
The animation is the perfect cartoony look that they want to make comedic effect. It is very fluid with the animals, and it has not really aged, but the human characters are animated so weirdly. They move so unrealistically and they seem like blocks. It’s not too bad though.
The music is not memorable at all.
Reception at Release
When this film was released on May 19th, 2006, it opened in second place behind The Da Vinci Code. It kept on dropping on the charts and eventually closed on September 4th, 2006 with $155,019,340 domestically and $180,983,656 overseas for a worldwide total of $336,002,996, with an $80 million budget, that is good, but not BANGING like DreamWorks is so desperate to have.
Critically, it did well too. Most people liked it for its tight story, humor, animation, and how it is somewhat satirical. It was not praised, but it was not mixed.
Today, it is one of the most forgotten about films in the canon because it was not a huge hit, and it is forgettable. DreamWorks did not really bury it, but no one talks about it and kind of got tucked under the bed.
Story = 6.5/10
Characters = 4.5/10
Music = 6/10
Animation = 9/10
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14 thoughts on “DreamWorks Review: Over the Hedge”
I really liked this movie (granted I haven’t seen it in years), so I was actually surprised when I found out that many people don’t like this movie. I guess I can understand the reasons and there are a lot of celebrity voices in it, but I just remember loving it. It was my favorite Dreamworks Animation film when it came out.
(Thankfully, “Flushed Away” came out next!)
Thank you for commenting and your support. When I was doing this review (like 2 weeks ago), I thought the mark was going to be higher but when I got to the final score, it ended up that way and I did not feel that any category should have been moved up. I don’t hate or like this movie, but if it is on and there is nothing else, I’ll watch it. It is forgettable, but I don’t think it should be downright hated.
How far ahead do you write your reviews?
I did Prince of Egypt to Wallace and Gromit in August, and I wrote up to Kung Fu Panda right not, which is not going to be up until early-mid october. I try to be a few reviews ahead, so I won’t be struggling to write them and so I can plan ahead.
I tried that too with my “Live Action Disney Project”. It worked for two weeks, lol. Now I just write one every week.