CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"Open Season" opens the renovated Museum of Discovery

It seems appropriate that "Open Season" is the first IMAX movie to open at the recently renovated Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery. With new carpet and a polished sixty foot screen, the museum has added more exhibitions with plans for a new permanent exhibition, the Aviation Station.

"Open Season" is one of the better animated talking
animal movies of recent years, far surpassing last
year's animated box office hit, "Madagascar." The leading
character, Boog the Bear (voiced by Martin Lawrence) is a
pampered, but charming, domesticated beast who may be
experiencing the call of the wild. This urge to be
free is prompted by a bison named (Ashton Kutcher),
a bison who lost an antler to the deranged animal
conspiracy theorist hunter, Shaw (Gary Sinise). Shaw
believes that animals are plotting world domination.

When it is perceived the grizzly is having a nervous
breakdown during a stage show for children, Boog's
caretaker (Debra Messing) decides it is time to return
Boog to the wild. For a domesticated bear who is used
to lullabies and special biscuit treats for his
bedtime, Boog wakes up in a forest with crabby
squirrels and bigoted beavers. Fortunately for the
bear, he has Elliot and a slow witted porcupine to
help with the Boog's displacement issues.

With the exception of the female characters and the
sheriff, most human characters are depicted as
buffoons. During the climatic battle between hunters
and animals, the animals are presented as methodical
and cunning, while the hunters are presented as inept
and shortsighted. Perhaps screenwriters Steve Benich
and Ron J. Friedman were so deeply influenced by the
original "Bambi" and wanted revenge for the demise of Bambi's
mother. With the exception of some scatological
humor, parents will not have to explain awkward and
serious concepts to preschool aged children.

Visually, the IMAX presentation can not be beat on a
60 foot screen. "Open Season" is a 3 D presentation with the Museum
of Discovery's new, lightweight glasses that fit over
regular eye glasses. Parents and children applauded
this visual treat, despite "Open Season" being
hammered by most mainstream critics.

The details of "Open Season" are better than the
overall story arc. Georgia Engel voices an
eccentric, overweight character that eventually
becomes an unwitting foil to Gary Sinise crazed
conspiracy theorist hunter. As Shaw mounts an
outrageous and often comical monologue about animal
supremacy, Engel's Bobby goes about her business
tracking Bigfoot with her word weary husband. In some cases,
these scenes are more lively than the slapstick
actions in the forest. Scottish comedian Billy
Connolly voices McSquizzy, the commander of the
squirrel army with a resemblance Scottish hero,
William Wallace, AKA Braveheart.

While Ashton Kutcher does an adequate job as the
sometimes annoying friend, Martin Lawrence steals the
vocal show. Lawrence's voice provides the proper mesh
between the animated computer character and the
emotions of a 900 pound grizzly bear. Given the
passing of Jackson Weaver in 1992, Lawrence should
volunteer his time and start a whole new series of
public service announcements as the mod voice of
Smokey the Bear. "Open Season" is an entertaining
public service announcement promoting the academic
study of nature and nurture. For more information, please visit

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