The new style in animation these days seems to have less emphasis on the cute and childish and more about the complex themes in real life. Over the Hedge you say? It is easy to see how a movie like Hoodwinked is more sophisticated than previous versions of Little Red Riding Hood. But Over the Hedge? Well sure.
It’s got the cute & furry animals, to be sure, but is there more? More than the amazing halted time section with Hammy hyped up on caffeine (an interesting alternate view of the Twitchy on coffee scene from Hoodwinked, n’est-ce pas?) And, of course, William Shatner’s wonderful self-parody as Ozzie the Possum. Is there more than the story about the importance of family? More than some Dreamworks animators looking through their office windows at their own hedge? Well sure. For starters it is based on a comic strip by Michael Fry and T Lewis began in 1995.
But I think there’s a real green conspiracy afoot here. At its core this movie is about nature fighting back from the wretchedness of human marginalization. Am I going too far? I don’t think so.
We’ve built our naked ape suburbs so that they surround wee pockets of ‘nature’ and call these wonderful human zones: Shady Acres, Pine Ridge, Forest Estates and, more realistically, Cedar Mill showing what happens to the Pines, forests and cedars! But if we look at the natural pockets they are usually parks with grass and a few token trees, a very manufactured and sanitized landscape. But if you have been lucky enough (as I was from age 8 to about 13 while my family lived near the mighty Speed river) to grow up close to some ‘real’ wilderness then you know how precious and rare and wonderful these are. They’re great for us lucky humans. But what about the animals? Over the Hedge shows the animal’s perspective and even if it is a warped-Hollywood-armchair-environmentalist perspective on an interesting cartoon strip, it will hopefully make more than just me think about the clash.
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