Friday, August 04, 2006


Written and directed by Steve Oedekerk

In the eighth digitally-animated film of the year, the genre has completely overlapped itself to the point that it will be impossible to recall what happened in which movie by the time the year is over. After Open Season comes out in September, I believe every possible situation concerning animals and their habitats will have been covered and beaten to death. Every possible joke and character will have been done and redone. And surely Wanda Sykes will play something sassy. When considering most CG cartoons this year, it will be like we pointed a telescope at the universe and for one fleeting instant, saw it all.

Hey, animals talk when humans aren't around. And also, cows can be male. Otis (Kevin James) is a hard-partying bovine who doesn't believe in work, much to the chagrin of his surrogate father, Ben (Sam Elliott), who is the leader of a barnyard full of more hard-partying animals. One night, Ben gets killed by coyotes while protecting the henhouse, and Otis has to find his inner Simba to be the new leader, and learn life lessons...yawwwwwwwnnnn....

Even though the name Steve Oedekerk conjures a variety of mixed feelings, mostly bad, considering Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, the script for Bruce Almighty, with that one gem of Nothing to Lose thrown in, what shocked me a bit was how tame this movie is considering Oedekerk's past efforts. I expected, at the very least, a well-meaning creative effort whether it hit home or not. Something a little bit zanier. More pizzazz. But now, these movies, more than ever, are a true mass-produced confection--very little in the way of thought, character development, solid story, etc.

I knew we were in trouble when the studios started claiming 2-D animation was dead--it opened the door for 3-D animation with the same sorry-ass ideas to be pushed through. "Oh, Joe Blow doesn't like Brother Bear or Sinbad...let's make those same movies in 3-D! No one will notice!" And we now have seen the results of that "thinking." Idiotic, force-fed crap. You'll love it because "you asked for it," regardless of whether it's distinguishable from what opened last week or not.


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