Traveling raccoon con artist, RJ (Willis), arrives in a woods outside a human city in the Midwest, excited about the wonders that living near humans can bring hungry animals. What he finds, however, is an Amish-like community that is deathly afraid of humans, after their leader, Vern the tortoise (Shandling), has an encounter with human boys that terrifies him. Encouraged by RJ, however, the animals slowly venture over the hedge that separates them from the brand new suburban development that appeared over the winter while they were sleeping, and what RJ shows them is a whole new world where humans leave tin cans full of fish and other food in big canisters, ripe for the taking. As they get closer and closer to humans, however, their comfortable lives in the woods appears to be threatened...
MOVIE REVIEW :
to technological advancements, animated features are have
progressed from sing-and-dance 2-D musicals (these were very
popular in the 1980s), to pop culture 3-D satires filled with
catchy pop songs (these are the “in” things now).
words, the developments in story and contents have evolved
with the vast improvements in technology. At the rate things
are going, it is almost possible that animated features can
go to places infinity and beyond.
to be a winner, not only should the animated feature be visually
stunning, the story should have heart as well. This simple
logic may be cliché and overused, but naming a truly
successful animated movie with the two elements in place can
be quite a feat.
animated feature adapted from a comic book, a group of very
cute animals (yes, they always work) wake up from hibernation
and realize that their familiar forest surroundings are gone,
and a hedge has suddenly popped out of nowhere.
almost about to just adapt to the change when a raccoon appears
and advises them to go over the hedge to steal food from the
humans. Never had the animals such a choice, so everything
goes into frenzy.
this tale are themes of consumerism, selfishness and the need
to belong to a group. No doubt these get translated very well
on screen, but they eventually get lost in a technical extravaganza
of computer generated special effects.
we are complaining though, because the 83-minute movie does
provide a lot of fun, with easy-to-understand jokes and cuddly
critters that no one can resist finding them cute. There are
at least two laugh-out-loud moments that had we thought were
actors are a hoot to listen to as well. The all-star cast
includes Bruce Willis, William Shatner, Nick Nolte, Avril
Lavigne and the hilarious Steve Carell.
to be focusing more on the entertaining aspects of this movie,
and less emphasis on the storyline. While your heartstrings
will be tugged at the end of the movie, you will still be
marveling at what technology can do to entertain.
with a features-loaded DVD like this, the extra special features
seem to be the star of this production.
This Code 3 DVD is packed with goodies and extra
features, and would make the young ones ecstatic with its
“printables” section. The rest of the clips and
segments are substantial, if not typical of animation discs.
Printables – Pop the disc into your
computer and there would be a page which would give you printable
bookmarks, calendars, postcards, posters, activity books,
photo frames, mobile hangars, jigsaw puzzles, amongst loads
of other kid-friendly stuff. The only thing parents need to
worry about is the printer colour cartridges which they may
need to buy in bulk. And oh, the disc recommends Hewlett Packard
(HP) printers and cartridges.
Commentary by directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick
and producer Bonnie Arnold – These three filmmakers
have great chemistry, and you can tell by listening to this
commentary where they tell you what each scene is inspired
by, accompanied by the obligatory cast and crew praising.
Interestingly, the hedge in the movie is inspired by a huge
5-storey high ivy bush in their office’s parking lot.
And Arnold is terribly happy whenever Verne’s butt appears
Weblinks – There are links to the official
movie website, the Dreamworks Kids (DWK) website, and the
official Dreamworks Animation website where you can find updates
on their upcoming 2007 works Bee Movie and Shrek the Third.
Critter 411 – In this brisk 4-minute
feature, you get to see the real animals, and some fast facts
about them. Did you know that can young porcupines are also
known as “porcupettes” and the opossum can act
dead up to six hours?
Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure –
In this 5-minute stand-alone short, you see the adorable Hammy
being amused by a boomerang thrown to him by the naughty RJ
and the porcupine babies. There is also a commentary version
where you can hear director Will Finn talk about how he was
inspired to make this short home-video style.
Backyard Obstacle Course – The kids
will enjoy playing this game where Hammy must get to into
the house without being distracted. This scene from the movie
is particularly smart and will be a hit with the young viewers.
Behind the Hedge – A 12-minute summary
of the movie’s making-of. From the original comic book,
the technology used in the movie and the voice actors who
had fun during the recording sessions, you’d see all
of those snippets here.
Meet the Cast – A 16-minute feature where you’ll
see all the voice actors in action, and be surprised how their
characters seem to mirror their real life personality. While
Bruce Willis looks bored most of the time, Thomas Haden Church
(who improvises very well) and Steve Carell (who is a hoot
to watch) are at their amusing best.
The technology of Over the Hedge –
This 6-minute segment features lots of scary and intimidating
machines, software and computers. One very clear point we
got from it was: the movie wouldn’t be what it was without
the advanced technology of HP and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Yes, the power of product placement.
Verm-Tech Infomercial – A 3-minute spoof television
commercial which features the exterminator telling audiences
the benefits of signing up for a diploma in animal extermination
– very hilarious, very funny, very side-splitting.
Jingle Burps – This has got to be the
best bit in the platter. The 1-minute song starring Hammy
and his burps is sung to the tune of the Christmas carol “Jingle
Bells”. Switch on the subtitles and it will make you
want to sing (and burp) along to the video again, and again,
Galleries – There is a generous number
of pictures from the movie’s characters, sets, packaging,
sketches and storyboards.
Trailers – The disc includes the trailers
for Dreamworks Animation’s three feature-length movies:
Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005),
Madagascar (2005) and Flushed Away (2006).
high-tech digital visual transfer makes sure you see every
fur and hair on the animals, and there are audio options where
you can listen to the critters talk in English, Thai, Mandarin
or Cantonese. That is four times the fun if you understand
all the four languages.
by John Li