Friday, May 19, 2006
Yes, that's me enjoying the hell out of myself. Unfortunately, this was while I was attending a major league baseball game last year. Sigh. And but so just a quick note about the underwhelming effect of viewing Over the Hedge, a new computed generated film by Dreamworks. It is a film with cuteness coming out the wazoo, to borrow an image from the film, but which has unfortunately left its brains in the dumpster. The film promises to have some cutting commentary on our consumer culture, and the detrimental environmental impact of humans on the small fraction of wilderness left in our midst, but quickly abandons these premises--perhaps the marketing people got involved at this juncture in order to point out the effect such critique might have on ancilliary sales of Mssrs. Turtle, Raccoon, 'possum and Bear, or perhaps I'm simply a cynical and heartless bastard (or, as I am wont to say when faced with such false dichotomies, why not both?)--in favour of a series of wacky adventures involving cute and cuddly creatures trying to outplay, outwit and outlast the despicable or dimwitted humans in their backyards. Now don't get me wrong, the film is not without its appeal, not the least of which is the first-rate job that the boys and girls working on those computers have done. This is as good looking a film as the people at Dreamworks have yet produced. And there are some very funny set pieces, one liners and visual gags. It just doesn't quite cohere into anything terribly memorable. None of the vocal talent (Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Nick Nolte) disguishes himself, and none of the characters stamped themselves indelibly in my psyche--I'm already hardpressed to remember a single character's name--and so in the end the film bears (heh) all the earmarks of a disposable entertainment, which is just the sorta thing that I thought this film was going to make fun of when the lights dimmed. Woe is me.