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Open Season 3D(2006)
Growing up can be a confusing journey fraught with difficult choices. Boog (Martin Lawrence) is a domesticated Grizzly Bear who leads a perfectly happy life inside of Park Ranger Beth's (Debra Messing) garage, but a chance meeting with an overly energetic mule deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) quickly changes everything and lands Boog high in the forest a few days before the opening of hunting season. Devoid of even the most basic survival skills, Boog and Elliot stumble through the woods and find themselves at the mercy of every forest animal from skunks to chipmunks as well as an evil hunter named Shaw (Gary Sinise). After unintentionally inciting and endangering an entire forest full of clever animals, Boog and Elliot come to the realization that only by banding together do the forest animals stand a chance of outsmarting the hunters and ensuring their own survival.
For more about Open Season 3D and the Open Season 3D Blu-ray release, see Open Season 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 16, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Gary Sinise, Debra Messing, Billy Connolly, Georgia Engel
Directors: Roger Allers, Jill Culton, Anthony Stacchi
» See full cast & crew
Open Season 3D Blu-ray Review
A scattershot picture earns a big-caliber 3D transfer that hits the bullseye.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 16, 2010
We're sitting ducks out here.
To take the hunting metaphor one step further, Open Season makes for an easy target for film critics. The filmmakers behind Sony's 2006 animated adventure have centered every genre cliché directly into the crosshairs, lined up what should have been an easy shot, but ended up missing the mark by quite a bit. Rightfully so, Open Season has taken some flak for being too much of the same-old, same-old; the picture is built around a tired formula and does nothing at all to spruce it up, counting on little more than a cute poster and a preview with cuddly talking animals to pull in a hefty chunk of change when little Johnny and sweet Suzy beg to see the latest big-screen animated adventure, caring only that a new crop of animals are ready to share their digital misadventures with the world. Still, the film can't really be criticized for following formula; other, better pictures -- Ice Age, Over the Hedge, Shrek -- follow similar plot lines but don't flounder around nearly as much as Open Season does. They manage to create memorable characters and worthwhile adventures that pack in plenty of action, drama, comedy, and heart along the way. Open Season, on the other hand, barely registers a blip when considering either the best computer animated films or the genre's most memorable characters.
Boog (voiced by Martin Lawrence) is a bear. He's also potty-trained. Boog is a domesticated bear who lives in the garage of a kindly park ranger named Beth (Debra Messing) who has raised the animal for most of its life and has incorporated it into her popular stage production. One day, Boog happens across a one-antlered deer named Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) who's been run over, presumed dead by a ferocious hunter named Shaw (Gary Sinise), and strapped to the hood of Shaw's beater pickup truck as a "trophy" meant for display in his home. Boog, taking pity on the hapless but not-quite-dead deer, frees him, angering Shaw and joining Elliot atop the hunter's most-wanted list. Elliot returns the favor, "rescuing" Boog from the captivity of his comfortable garage, warm bed, and the companionship of his favorite stuffed animal. Boog and Elliot discover the joys of the outside world together when they ransack a local convenience store, but the (sugar) high quickly turns sour when the two creatures are helicoptered miles from civilization both for their crimes against candy bars and to save them from Shaw's high-powered rifle. Missing the comforts of town and fearful of the start of hunting season, Boog and Elliot, with the help (and sometimes the hindrance) of their woodland brethren, set out on an adventure to return to civilization and, through their experiences, find out who they really are and where they truly belong in their topsy-turvy little corner of the world.
At its most base level, Open Season is a prototypical cute and cuddly kids movie that pairs a couple of wisecracking animals who are forced into a physical journey that morphs into a search for who they are and where they truly belong in the world. It's been done before and it's certainly a good enough idea, but Open Season fumbles at every turn with a fairly dismal and bland approach to the material that sucks every semblance of energy from the movie. The film follows a precise series of events whereby it establishes the identities of its main characters, pairs them up, sets them on a journey, splits them apart (with the requisite maudlin piano music), and once again pairs them up just in time for the big to-do at the end after which they'll reflect on their adventure and learn some lesson about life, who they really are, and where they truly belong. It's one of those movies where most every situation turns into trouble until trouble finally leads the characters to a better plane of existence on both physical and emotional levels. The picture attempts to mesh humor and heart to little success, and it forges good but elsewhere overused and, here, under-explored messages on the importance of responsibility, honesty, friendship, and being true to oneself, all of which have been centerpieces in the better films behind which Open Season settles on the list of best-to-worst genre pictures.
Additionally, Open Season is a mixed bag of visual goodies. The characters look great -- Boog's fur flows well and never looks clumpy -- but backgrounds, particularly woodland areas, sometimes appear chunky and lacking in a flowing, realistic appearance. The picture was made in 2006, so it's not that old, even if four-plus years can be an eternity in technology time. Still, Open Season just doesn't look quite as good as its contemporaries. Worse, the voice acting seems completely miscast for the movie. Martin Lawrence's schtick doesn't seem to fit Boog well at all, but part of the problem is that Boog just isn't a very well-realized character to begin with. Lawrence gives a commendable effort to add another dimension to the relatively flat domesticated bear, but with much of the film's humor falling flat, he can only do so much. Kutcher doesn't fare any better as the voice of Elliot, and Gary Sinise seems miscast as the voice of the film's antagonist, the hunter Shaw. No doubt Open Season was a picture with some potential; the dynamic that is an extra-large bear living a domesticated life who loves his stuffed bear and the convenience of modern plumbing but is suddenly thrust into his natural environment and threatened by a hunter is a good idea on paper; it's too bad that in most every area the film just can't capitalize on the promise of the premise.
Open Season 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Open Season's 3D Blu-ray presentation, courtesy of Sony, is the best of the limited 3D releases, wide or exclusive, currently available. Sony's done a remarkable job with this animated release, delivering a practically seamless 3D image that's packed with immeasurable and highly realistic depth alongside fabulous detailing and superb color reproduction, all of which are evident even as the movie begins with the beautiful Columbia Pictures logo and on through the rest of the 86-minute film. Indeed, fine details amaze with every passing scene, limited not by the transfer but instead the source and the quality of the original digital elements. Open Season sports detailing that's amazing in both primary foreground objects and secondary and tertiary background elements; whether Boog's incredibly lifelike fur or the frays and texture of the rope holding Elliot down on Shaw's beater of a pickup truck, the transfer exhibits a breathtaking array of imagery throughout. Likewise, building textures in town or individual blades of grass in the woodland sequences are perfectly realized. Colors, too, dazzle with a scrumptious array of hues that never seem over-boosted or underdeveloped; for all the gorgeous shades that appear almost incessantly throughout, the best comes during the scene featuring Boog and Elliot raiding a local convenience store. As they enjoy the fruits of their robbery, a screenful of multicolored cereal O's leap towards the screen, filling the frame with impeccably-colored foods that also sport incredible textures to boot. Better yet, blacks are steady in every scene, never overpowering fine details, and the image exhibits no signs of unwanted artifacts or negative digital manipulation. Open Season looks great, and the added third dimension only makes an already jaw-dropping image even better.
Hands down, Open Season is the current reference-standard for Blu-ray 3D discs not only for the above-praised attributes, but for what is 86 minutes of 3D bliss that delivers constant third dimension goodness. Indeed, viewers will never mistake Open Season for a half-hearted 3D presentation; every frame offers something that's bound to make even the most ardent 3D fans sing the transfer's praises, and one look should be enough to convert even the most skeptical audience members as to the quality and benefits of a great Blu-ray 3D image. The transfer simply yields too many great scenes to list here; best to just give it a watch to see just how stunning Blu-ray 3D can be, but there are a few things that stand out from the rest. First, the transfer handles depth of field to a level not yet matched by any other disc. Even simple things like looking over the hood of a truck gives the impression of actually standing near it and gazing off in its direction, with the vehicle stretching back several feet and followed by the various backgrounds that frame it. There's always an unmistakable awareness as to almost the exact spacing between objects, whether they're separated by two feet or, in great distance shots, two miles. Open Season's 3D digital world is about the closest thing to creating a virtual reality as there is today; whether being able to appreciate the full size of a character not only in terms of height and width but depth and volume or simply staring in amazement at the way individual blades of grass seem to extend from the ground in a countable and perceptibly deep and realistic way, this transfer delivers a visual feast for the eyes that's one of the defining Blu-ray transfers out there, and not just amongst other 3D images. Best of all, "ghosting" is virtually nonexistent. It's seen in scant amounts here and there, but it's not enough to knock the transfer considering just how amazing it is in every other area. No doubt about it, Sony's 3D Blu-ray transfer of Open Season is a technological marvel of modern technology.
Open Season 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Open Season's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is just fine, but don't expect anything that goes above and beyond the call of duty of modern day soundtracks. This is a technically sound and quality presentation, but much like the film it accompanies, it never moves beyond that "meat and potatoes" feel, rarely extending beyond the bare minimum of what makes a "good" soundtrack. This one's got all the bases covered; music is well balanced across the front and accompanied by good fidelity and nearly infinite clarity. Meanwhile, dialogue is centered straight up the middle and sounds clear as a bell in every scene. The surround channels are used somewhat sparsely but generally effectively when called upon; voices echo and thunder booms in a few scenes, while a gunshot heard in chapter four reverberates nicely around the listening area, though it lacks that extra oomph that would have really sold the effect of a dangerous weapon discharging a high-powered round. Indeed, Open Season's DTS soundtrack often lacks a substantial power output but the end result should satisfy younger listeners. Open Season's lossless soundtrack is understandably overshadowed by the wonder of Sony's 1080p 3D transfer, but this audio presentation should nevertheless satisfy, but not overly excite, veteran audiophiles.
Open Season 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Open Season sights in a host of extra content for this Blu-ray 3D release. First is an audio commentary track with Producer Michelle Murdocca, Directors Jill Culton and Roger Allers, and Co-Director Anthony Stacchi. This quartet offers an affable and informative commentary that's never dry and always lively. They discuss the picture's roots, the look of the characters, the performances of the voice actors, the tone of the film's humor, the film's varied soundtrack, and plenty more. Fans interested in the process of creating an animated movie will want to give this one a listen. Also listed under "commentaries" in the main menu is Inside the Animals Studio which offers humorous "mini commentaries" with several of the animals as they analyze certain scenes. Included are Mr. Weenie (480p, 1:31), Porcupine (480p, 0:42), and Maria the Skunk (480p, 0:49). Next up is a pair of featurettes. Behind the Trees (480p, 15:14) takes viewers into Sony Pictures Animation for a glimpse into the process of crafting an animated picture, including character creation and design, the physical and digital processes of bringing them to life, the demanding and precise process of making every environmental nuance live up to the filmmakers' demanding standards, the challenges of creating several of the more complex scenes, and more. The second featurette, The Voices Behind the Stars (480p, 7:35), looks at the process of casting the right voice actors for the right part and the qualities each actor brought to the final product.
Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run (1080p, 4:31) is an animated short featuring the film's stars. Next up is a pair of deleted scenes (480p, 2:03) and the music video "I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh)" by Deathray (480p, 2:19). Three "Activities" are next. Wheel of Fortune: Forest Edition (1080p) is an interactive feature that allows audience to play a unique version of the popular game show. Voice-O-Rama (1080p) allows users to hear various characters voiced in different dialects and languages. Swept Away Scene Deconstruction (480p) shows one of the film's scenes broken down into four different stages of completion. RingTales (480p, 0:55) delivers a series of several and very brief Open Season animated shorts. Three galleries (1080p) -- Environments, Characters, and Beat Boards -- are next. Also included is BD-Live functionality and special 1080p 3D previews for Monster House 3D (1:09), Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3D (1:32), and The Smurfs 3D (0:55). The main menu is also in 3D. Excellent.
Open Season 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Open Season isn't necessarily a victim of genre overexposure, but instead a victim of a lackadaisical script, bland characters, mediocre voice acting, and what may be seen as an apparent lack of interest on the part of the filmmakers in terms of making a movie that could do more than blend into a crowded field, all of which play a much bigger role in killing the movie in the long run than does its reliance on what is undoubtedly a tried-and-true recipe for cuddly computer-animated success. It seems clear that Open Season was more about banking on younger audiences' blind allegiance to anything and everything computer-animated talking animal movies than ensuring that there's actually a good picture behind the smiling herd of woodland denizens that make up Open Season's forgettable roster of characters. This isn't an awful movie, just an inconsequential one, and if nothing else it serves as an example of a movie that gives every indication that it was made for no other reason than to bank on the success of its similarly-plotted predecessors. Fortunately, there's still a reason to watch. Sony's Blu-ray 3D release of Open Season delivers what is the best high def 3D experience yet; flanked by a good lossless soundtrack and a nice array of extras, the disc comes recommended as the current reference Blu-ray 3D release.
Open Season: Other Editions
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Open Season 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Open Season 3D Blu-ray Announced - September 17, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the 3D Blu-ray edition of the CG animated movie Open Season, which will be available for all to purchase on November 16. Two of the disc's bonus features (Wheel of Fortune: Forest Edition and Voice-a-Rama) have also ...
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