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Toon Talk, From the Other Side: Over the Hedge
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(c) Dreamworks

Unlike most of DreamWorks’ previous films, which take a throw-it-all-at-you-and-see-what-sticks approach to screenwriting, Hedge offers a streamlined story with nary a pop culture reference in the mix. True, the story does stumble a bit whenever it pauses for an innocuous Ben Folds ballad or veers into surrealism (one too many trips into the stratosphere for a bird’s eye view of the “big wide world out there?), but directors Tim Johnson (Antz) and first-timer Karey Kirkpatrick (screenwriter of Chicken Run) keep it mostly grounded and at a fast clip.

With such an abundance of name actors in the cast, one might expect, as is usually the case in this studio’s films, that the star personalities would overwhelm the characters. But, in a first for a DreamWorks film, you will actually forget about the big name celebrities behind the microphone and focus on the characters onscreen, something that Disney and Pixar have been able to do for some time now. Animation of the human characters has also improved, and is top-notch all around on the cuddly cast of critters.

Cynics may scoff at the story’s satirical message against crass consumerism being tied to a film that has enough merchandise tie-ins to fill up a chain of Wal-Marts, but the movie (not the marketing plan) has enough going for it to warrant a peek over this Hedge.

Toon Talk Rating: B

In this ‘Toon Talk’ feature, I will briefly highlight a recommended film or DVD, outside of the Disney universe, of similar interest to the main subject.

Fast Food Frenzy

America as a country is getting fatter - and unhealthier - by the minute. That is the thesis explored by documentarian Morgan Spurlock in his Oscar-nominated feature expose, Super Size Me (2004, Roadside). As Spurlock dines on nothing but McDonald’s “cuisine? for thirty days, he examines our dependence - or is it addiction? - to what has made us a “Fast Food Nation?. Like all the best documentaries, Super Size Me is fascinatingly informative while still highly entertaining.

DVD available from Hart Sharp Entertainment. MPAA Rating: PG.

Coming Soon in Toon Talk:

  • The phenomenally successful Disney Channel movie High School Musical makes its Disney DVD debut on May 23.
  • Get your kicks on Route 66 with the newest Pixar release, Cars (June 9, Disney).
  • The “Stitch Saga? concludes with the new Disney DVD Leroy and Stitch (June 27) … wait, did you say “Leroy??

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-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics, http://www.cafepress.com/MagicBear

Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ...

Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.

The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted May 23, 2006

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