I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but these computer-generated animation films are really starting to flood the silver screen. Sure, a few years ago, you may have gotten an odd one here or there, and for the most part, they were quite enjoyable if only for their relative novelty. I had a
thoroughly good time watching the first Toy Story. I couldn’t help but chuckle at Woody Allen as an insect in Antz. And like just about everyone else on the planet, I couldn’t get enough of Mike Myers as an ugly green ogre in Shrek.

This spring and summer, however, it seems like Hollywood has gone into overdrive with these flicks and they’re all starting to look a little generic. Between Ice Age 2, The Wild, Cars, and Ant Bully, it seems like we can’t go a week without a new computer animated film hitting up the local Silvercity, Colossus, Paramount, or the like.

Well, although the girlfriend has been catching these technological marvels religiously, the first that I’ve watched this season is Over The Hedge, based on the syndicated comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis who also wrote the screenplay.

As expected, they’ve cast a good number of “real actors” to do the voices for this Dreamworks production, and I must say, I’m particularly pleased by the performances by Wanda Sykes (as a cheeky skunk), Steve Carrell (as a hyperactive squirrel), and Garry Shandling (as a traditionalist turtle… that’s a reptile, not an amphibian). The premise of the movie is quite simple. A group of forest dwellers emerge from their winter slumber to discover a huge hedge surrounding their grass and tree-filled home. Little do they realize that suburbia has popped up on the other side of that hedge.

They explore this brave new world filled with pizza delivery, automatic sprinklers, and Girl Scout cookies led on by a savvy, if somewhat dishonest, raccoon voiced by Bruce Willis. The animation may not be completely cutting edge anymore, but I found it to be colourful, vibrant, and quite suiting. There was just enough detail: not too much as to make it overwhelming, but not so little as to make it too simple or amateur-ish.

Along the way in Over the Hedge, you’ll forget that you’re listening to the voices of Avril Lavigne, Eugene Levy, and Nick Nolte, and will be much more interested in the hijinks of Heather the Possum, Lou the porcupine, and Vincent the Bear (who happens to be one of two main
“villians” in the movie).

While I wouldn’t put Over the Hedge in the same league as Shrek, there are several jokes and references for the older set to keep them entertained as they accompany the imminent flood of youngsters heading to the theatre to watch this movie.

Recommended? Sure, why not.