Anthony's Film Review
Over the Hedge (2006)
A cute film for the kids, which adults will also enjoy for its themes...
Over the Hedge doesn't really do anything remarkable or contribute a breakthrough to animated film. It simply does what any good animated film does: tell a story that appeals to all ages. Of course, kids and adults don't think alike. The trick is to provide lovable characters for the kids and sophisticated themes for the adults to think about. Again, it's not anything new. It doesn't mean Over the Hedge is a movie to skip. On the contrary, it follows that basic principle well enough, so for that, this movie is entertaining.
The story involves a group of animals searching for food in suburban America. They include Verne the turtle, Hammy the hyperactive squirrel, a possum and his daughter, a porcupine family of five, and Stella the skunk. Three-fourths of the year is spent scavenging, making sure to fill up a log with food before winter. RJ the raccoon joins them, although with a different agenda in mind. After failing to steal a bear's food and losing it in the process, RJ has to replace it within a week or else the bear will have him for lunch. Together, they all discover that, on the other side of a tall hedge, there are humans whose lives revolve around food.
It basically becomes a clash between nature and human civilization. People want to enjoy their lives in peace and comfort. The animals need food to ensure their survival. There are plenty of scenes involving invasion of a backyard or a driveway, often leading to fast-paced comical action. Various human characters appear for the element of conflict, including girl scouts, an exterminator, and a cranky realtor. The social commentary can be funny, too. Consider RJ's description of the SUV. It's a human transport vehicle that is used because humans are losing the ability to walk. The number of humans the SUV holds: just one.
Regarding the cast, I'm surprised that Bruce Willis is the voice of RJ the raccoon since I barely recognized his voice. On the other hand, Steve Carell as Hammy and Wanda Sykes as Stella are more familiar, even without the credits saying so. Over the Hedge is a DreamWorks Animation picture that continues a trend started by Shrek: putting the voice actors on the poster as if the movie were live action. I see nothing wrong with it, of course. All actors deserve credit, whether as a character or behind one.
That's really all I have to say. I had fun with the movie and thought it worked on all levels. I laughed at some points and I watched with gradually more interest over the course of the film. The movie at first felt like a 6 on my 1-to-10 scale, but with plenty of good moments towards the end of the film, I'm giving it an extra point.
For more information about Over the Hedge, visit the Internet Movie Database.