Over the Hedge
I needed a movie for my "movies with something to say" list as (surprise, surprise) my "movies with nothing to say" was beginning to loom over it quite largely! What a nice surprise that I found a movie with something to say in the animated children's film Over the Hedge. This was actually one of the best animated features I have seen for quite some time.
Over the Hedge is based on a comic strip about animals whose woodland home is being taken over by a new suburb. Michael Fry and T Lewis who write and draw the comic were also credited on this CG adaptation along with 4 additional writers.
Normally whenever animated movies cast high-paid "stars" I get irritated because I can't recognize anyone's voice as being special. I wonder, why pay these people when a starving actor who has never gotten a break could do just as good of a job? However, remarkably Over the Hedge does a great job of actually making the viewer appreciate the involvement of said high-paid actors. The voices of the woodland creatures were done primarily by Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner. All of these actors did a fine job with their performances and voices and again to my surprise, were funny, believable and entertaining. I did not feel as though any of them were just going through the motions as I usually do with big name actors in animated films. Normally I can just see them in the recording studio in the most blase fashion, texting messages on their Blackberries and talking to their publicists between voice recordings.
I really liked the fact that Over the Hedge was funny, remarkably un-cliche and also involved environmentally related themes. Extra Bonus- the environmental themes are woven throughout the film in a way that will get through to children effectively, without hitting them over the head with preachiness. This is the method through which environmentally friendly themes can clearly have a lasting impact.
Originality/Innovation: B- (since this is based on a comic and not completely original to the movie, I cant rate it any higher than B-)