Over The Hedge (film)
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Over The Hedge is a computer-animated film based on the United Media comic strip of the same name. Directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick and produced by Bonnie Arnold, it was released in the United States on May 19, 2006.
Produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures (due to Viacom's -- the parent of Paramount -- acquisition of its former parent company DreamWorks SKG), the film was rated PG by the MPAA for some rude humor and mild comic action. The movie was made in Redwood City, California
Over the Hedge won the 2006 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture.
- Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
A raccoon named RJ (Bruce Willis), after unsuccessfully trying to get a snack item from a vending machine, ventures into the cave of a hibernating American black bear named Vincent (Nick Nolte). While trying to steal Vincent's cache of goods, as well as his red wagon and blue cooler, RJ accidentally wakes Vincent, who after realizing what RJ is doing, tries to scare him into giving his stuff back. RJ, in a panic, knocks the wagon of food into the street. It looks okay, and RJ and Vincent laugh about it, when it is run over by a truck and is destroyed. A furious Vincent gives RJ an ultimatum: Replace everything within a week, or get eaten. RJ finds the new suburban development El Rancho Camelot Estates in western Indiana where he can steal all the replacement items he needs. There, a community of foragers led by the practical turtle, Verne (Garry Shandling), awakens from hibernation. He immediately directs his charges — Hammy (RJ during the film calls him "Hamilton") the cookie-addicted, hyperactive squirrel (Steve Carell); Stella the skunk with attitude (Wanda Sykes); Ozzie the Shakespearian opossum (William Shatner) and his 16-year-old frequently embarrassed daughter Heather (Avril Lavigne); and Minnesota accented porcupines Lou (Eugene Levy) and Canadian-accented Penny (Catherine O'Hara), and their young offspring Spike, Bucky, and Quillo — to start their yearly search for food to store. To their surprise and trepidation, they discover a hedge: which they call 'Steve' until RJ directs them otherwise. RJ, coming onto the scene, prompts them to scavenge for the food treasures he promises they'll find beyond it, while Verne fears for what traps or predators also await. Yet a determined and desperate RJ gets the woodland creatures to explore. Using a combination of con artistry and caper movie antics, they successfully snatch a wagon full of Girl Scout-like cookies (which begins Hammy's addiction). Seeing this, the whole group except Verne joins in and begins to steal other foods from the neighborhood of overfed, SUV-driving humans, along with other items on the list RJ secretly keeps.
All this prompts the ire of home-owner association president Gladys Sharp (Allison Janney) , who hires a pest-control specialist Dwayne LaFontant, who calls himself The Verminator (Thomas Haden Church). Seeing this, and realizing that they might be in danger, Verne tries to return everything they've stolen as a bargain to the humans to spare their lives — leading to an action set-piece involving himself and RJ, a chasing, "play"-spouting dog, a wagon piled high with goods and goodies, and a canister of barbecue propane, and a backyard slide that launches the wagon, Verne and RJ into the sky. The sequence ends with the two animals falling, unhurt, to earth, while the errant, ad hoc rocket crashes in a stylized, mushroom-cloud fireball. When RJ and Verne are rocketed back over the hedge, RJ and the other animals get mad at Verne. While trying to warn the others of RJ's plan to use them, Verne turns on RJ, and claims that him is making his friends do whatever he likes because they're "too stupid and naiive to know any better". Verne then tries to take back what he said, but the damage has already been done, and circumstances get worse as Verne tries to come up with a less hurtful description, and says ignorant. But no one is more hearbroken then Hammy, as Verne's hand was unintentionally pointing at him during his outburst. Hammy tearfully says "I'm not stupid", and takes the comment seriously with him being very hyperactive and somewhat childlike. Angry and hurt, Verne's friends leave him, and the turtle is all alone. Verne is then by himself, as he wonders what is truly best for his family and whether he belongs in it any more. But Verne isn't the only one with problems.
During his time with the foragers, RJ can't resist but having a growing affection for all of them. They're so kind, soft, and even give him a spot for himself so he wouldn't need to sleep on a tree. He slowly realizes that he shouldn't be using them for his own selfish needs, but should he blurt them out his secret and break their hearts?
RJ then goes to Verne, cools down and cheers him up. With RJ's help, Verne apologizes to his reluctant friends, and they welcome him back. Now, RJ stages the biggest heist yet, from the supplies of the big "welcome to the neighborhood" party Gladys plans for the following day. With Stella disguised as a cat, in order to distract the haughty guard-cat Tiger, the others raid her kitchen. They're almost in the clear when RJ. spies a can of Spuddies — Vincent's favorite food, and the last item on the list — and in trying to retrieve it, like at the beginning, keeps the rest of the crew in the house long enough for Gladys to spot them. The Verminator's traps catch all of the animals — all except RJ, who escapes with the wagon of Vincent's replacement goods. As the caged others are driven away, RJ meets Vincent in the woods, where the bear congratulates RJ on successfully "conning the suckers" and getting what he needed. He paints himself and RJ as two of a kind. Realizing the path to which his unchecked drifting will lead, RJ turns on Vincent, who didn't deserve all the food, and uses the piled-high wagon to crash into the Verminator's van, launching a rescue attempt. The enraged Vincent goes after RJ, determined to kill him. While being chased by the bear, the young porcupines direct the Verminator's van into the home of Gladys Sharp, much to her dislike. Vincent is donked by a hammer, pricked by Penny, and is finally sent flying with a balloon — a scene which is a parody to the ending of Alien (film). All of the animals pull out of the van as the verminator regains consciousness.
Vincent lands on the animal's side of the hedge, where he begins to claw furiously to get RJ, while the verminator activates his electric wand and attempts to poke out the animals, determined to finish the job. Suddenly, the back door to Gladys' home swings open, and she emerges and clicks on the dreaded weed whacker and begins to swing furiously at the hedge, exclaiming "Show your ratty little faces! Stay in the woods where you belong?!" Trapped between Vincent and the humans, RJ and Verne quickly concoct a plan. They give a highly caffeinated cola to the already adrenaline-rushing Hammy (notorious throughout the film for his ridiculously high levels of speed and uncontrolled energy), leading to a scene (reminiscent of others from U.S. TV's The Twilight Zone, Episode 70 of Futurama (Three Hundred Big Boys) and the DC Comics character The Flash) where his perceptions and motion are so sped up that the world appears to stand still, as if time has stopped. Hammy, strolling along but at super-speed with his power to travel through time itself, adjusts the trap controls (and collects one of his beloved cookies on the way). As he slows down back to normal speed (seen as the rest of the world gradually speeding up to him), RJ and Verne's plan succeeds, leading to Vincent getting trapped and set to be shipped to the Rockies, Gladys fighting with the authorities and being arrested not only for the illegal man trap she arranged, but also for assaulting a police officer, and the Verminator tiptoeing away from the scene, only to be chased by the playful dog from before. RJ, now a hero to the other animals in deed as well as in word, settles down and agrees to be a father figure to the animal community. They in turn explain that if they had been truthfully told about RJ's predicament in the beginning, they would have helped him settle his debt, "...because that’s what families do", says Verne.
After the credits, the characters return to the vending machine RJ visited during the opening scene, now fully stocked. The entire vending machine is emptied in one shot to the delight of all, but the PUSH bar cannot be moved and no food can be retrieved. Hammy comments, "Kinda anti-climactic."
The animals are shown to survive, as they appear in "Hammy's Boomerang Adventure", a short film exclusively for the DVD.
 Voice cast
- Bruce Willis - RJ a raccoon, and the main protagonist.
- Garry Shandling - Verne a Turtle, and the deurtagonist.
- Steve Carell - Hammy a energenic squirrel, and the triagonist.
- William Shatner - Ozzie Heather's father.
- Avril Lavigne - Heather Ozzie's daughter.
- Wanda Sykes - Stella a Skunk and the love interest of Tiger.
- Nick Nolte - Vincent a nasty American Black Bear, and the main antagonist of the film.
- Allison Janney - Gladys Sharp a woman who despises animals, and the tertiary antagonist.
- Thomas Haden Church - Dwayne La Fontant an exterminator, and the secondary antagonist.
- Eugene Levy - Lou
- Catherine O'Hara - Penny
- Sami Kirkpatrick — Bucky
- Shane Baumel — Spike
- Madison Davenport — Quillo
- Brian Stepanek - Nugent
- Omid Djalili - Tiger
- Zoe Randol — Mackenzie
- Jessica Di Cicco - Shelby
- Debra Wilson - Debbie
- Sean Bishop — Police Officer
- Jeannie Elias — Janis
- Kejon Kesse — Timmy
- Paul Butcher — Skeeter
- Frank Welker - Animals' vocal effects (uncredited)
- Sean Yazbeck - BBQ Barry
- Geoffrey Pomeroy — Ranger
- Joel McCrary — Dr. Dennis
- Lee Bienstock - Lunch Table Larry
- Additional Voices by Steve Alterman, Kirk Bailey, Jessie Flower, Nicholas Guest, David Hiller, Bridget Hoffman, Sandy Holt, Talula Holt, Erin Lander, Jordan Orr, Michelle Ruff, Greyson Spann, Marcelo Tubert, Ariel Winter
- Directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick
- Produced by Bonnie Arnold
- Executive producer Bill Damaschke
- Screenplay by Len Blum and Lorne Cameron & David Hoselton and Karey Kirkpatrick
- Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams
- Songs by Ben Folds
The film's opening weekend grossed $38,457,003 in 4,093 theaters. As of July 19, 2006, the film had earned $239,307,057 worldwide. Critical reaction was mostly positive with the film being rated 75% on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregate site. Critic Frank Lovece of Film Journal International found that, "DreamWorks' slapstick animated adaptation of the philosophically satiric comic strip ... is a lot of laughs and boasts a much tighter story than most animated features" Ken Fox of TVGuide.com called it "a sly satire of American 'enough is never enough' consumerism and blind progress at the expense of the environment. It's also very funny, and the little woodland critters that make up the cast are a kiddie-pleasing bunch". Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper of "Ebert & Roeper" gave the animated movie a "two thumbs up".   Michael Medved gave Over the Hedge three stars (out of four) saying even though "..the P.C. messages that families come in all shapes and sizes is a bit gratuitous and heavy-handed..", overall he found the movie "..surprisingly satisfying..". Jeffery Katzenberg is considering making a sequel to the movie, due to its success and the maker's love of the characters.
 Animals featured
- Raccoon (RJ)
- Box Turtle (Verne)
- North American Red Squirrel (Hammy)
- Striped Skunk (Stella)
- North American Porcupine (Penny, Lou, Bucky, Quillo and Spike)
- Virginia Opossum (Ozzie and Heather)
- Black Bear (Vincent)
- Firefly (Seen above RJ's head twice and once above Verne's head, resembling the lightbulb gag in cartoons)
- Bee (Used by Hammy to make honey on a piece of wood, mentioned in the upcoming Bee Movie, an animated film set for November 2007)
- Dragonfly (Seen caught in bug zapper)
- Dog (Nugent)
- Cat (Tiger)
- Human (Gladys, Verminator, and various others)
- Some retail chains offered different promotional items with purchase of the DVD. Target: Bonus full length CD called "Rockin Rj's From Suburbia," Best Buy: Bonus book of the comic strips called "Stuffed Animals," Wal-Mart: Bonus DVD called "Hammy's Nutty-Fun DVD," K-Mart: Hammy Plush. Blockbuster Video: Included an exclusive metal tin for storing the DVD Case.
- The film is the first from DreamWorks Animation SKG to be based on a comic strip.
- Jim Carrey was originally announced to voice RJ.
- The film has certain similarities to the Isao Takahata movie Pom Poko. Over the Hedge does not, however, develop the themes of environmentalism or anti-urbanization, and focuses on the animals' harmless preying on the bumbling humans, making the similarities between the two movies contextual rather than substantive. As the critic for Film Journal International suggested (link under "References"), a closer comparison might be to Meredith Willson's The Music Man, which also centers on a slick con artist redeemed by his marks, and finding a surrogate family. The commentary track on the DVD confirms that the movie version of RJ (right down to his habit of carrying a bag) was partially inspired by Professor Harold Hill.
- During the scene where Ozzie plays dead, he spies a rose bush and mutters, "Rosebud." That's a reference to Citizen Kane in which Charles Foster Kane mutters a cryptic "Rosebud" before he passes away.
- Nugnet is actually not named in the film.
- When Verne is in his shell, he has a short, stubby tail. However, when out of his shell, he has a human-styled butt. This continuity flub is necessitated by two sight-gags involving butts, as well as dialogue referencing the tail.
- The logo of Dwayne LaFontaine, the Verminator's pest and vermin control company, featuring a man resembling himself hitting a rabbit with a hammer, is a spoof of a pest control company in California, Nevada, and Arizona; namely one Western Extermination Company, whose logo features a man named Kernel Kleenup with a top hat and suit about to squash a rat with his hammer.
- During the rolling end credits, the Over the Hedge comic strip can be seen three times — once, the porcupine kids are being taught to read with one; Hammy paints a portrait of RJ and Verne in the style of the strip, and finally, RJ shows three panels of a strip, and Verne, reluctantly, displays the final frame on his back. Also during the credits, Hammy references Khan Noonien Singh's plot against Captain Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (which was also distributed by Paramount Pictures and also stars William Shatner, as Kirk).
- The child who plays one of the porcupine triplets, Bucky, is Sami Kirkpatrick, the son of Karey Kirkpatrick, one of the directors of the film.
- Both Eugene Levy (Lou) and Catherine O'Hara (Penny) were once regulars on SCTV.
- The infamous THX Deep Note is used in a scene late in the film, and the famous "The usual, sir?" Maxell commercial is parodied as well. Also noted is that the movie itself is THX enhanced.
- In the scene where the animals are in the hedge and Dwayne is shooting his ray into the hedge, it is a parody of 2005's movie adaptation of War of the Worlds (a Paramount/DreamWorks co-production) when the tripods are firing the heat-rays onto the street.
- In this film, Thomas Hayden Church plays an exterminator. In another animated summer release of 2006, The Ant Bully, Paul Giamatti plays an exterminator. Both actors had leading roles in the film Sideways.
- Both Hoodwinked and Over the Hedge feature a hyperactive squirrel who climatically drinks a caffeinated beverage to save the day.
- In the beginning of the movie the Hedge is called 'Steve' by Hammy during his first encounter of the Hedge. This is a direct take from the comic strip in which the character says the same thing and also Steve Carrell is the actor that voices Hammy.
- ↑ Box Office Mojo: Over the Hedge
- ↑ Film Journal Internationl: Over the Hedge review by Frank Lovece
- ↑ TV Guide Online Over the Hedge review by Ken Fox
- ↑ RogerEbert.com: Chicago Sun-Times (May 19, 2006): Over the Hedge review by Roger Ebert
- ↑ Rottentomatoes.com: Richard Roeper
- ↑ 
|Some of this page is derived from Wikipedia. The original article was at Over the Hedge (film). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WikiFur, the text of Wikipedia is available under CC-BY-SA and the GFDL.|
|Ursa Major Awards winners|