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Directors: Tim Johnson & Karey Kirkpatrick
Release Date: May 19, 2006
Rating: ★★★½

Over The Hedge © DreamworksBased on a comic strip, ‘Over the Hedge’, Dreamworks’s sixth computer animated feature, is a charming, if unassuming film, which belongs to the better half of the Dreamworks features, if barely so.

Unlike the unappealing movie ‘Shark Tale’ (2004) for example, all the actions of the characters have their origin in real animal behavior: they hibernate, they forage and they’re threatened by a human environment to which they have to adapt.

The film’s story is original in that it’s not found in the comic strip on which the movie is based. However, at the same time the story is not too original as it contains some standard, almost obligatory scenes, a feature that hampered more and more American animated feature films from 2005 on.

Nevertheless, the film’s story is well executed: the storytelling is lean, the contrast between the two likable protagonists, the brazen raccoon RJ and the cautious turtle Verne, is well-played, as are the two villains: the mafia-like bear Vincent and the Verminator. Even the side-characters are developed enough to like and to care for them (unlike the many personas in Blue Sky’s ‘Robots‘ (2005), for example).

Even though it contains some very realistic effects, like the animation of fur, the animation generally is not very lifelike, and more akin to the jerky animation of Tex Avery films than to the flow of Disney. Especially, the animation of the ADHD-squirrel Hammy is frantic. This character is also responsible for the highlight of the film, in which Hammy, on caffeine, has sped so much that he sees the world practically motionless.

‘Over The Hedge’ is by no means a classic, but it’s entertaining and well-told. In the world of American computer animated features this is already a plus.

Watch the tailer for ‘Over the Hedge’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Art Davis
Release Date:
 February 12, 1949
 Porky Pig

Porky Chops © Warner BrothersIn ‘Porky Chops’ a squirrel from Brooklyn is having a holiday in a forest where Porky is working as a lumberjack.

This outlandish idea creates a rather routinely conflict with loads of dialogue. The result is one of Art Davis’s weaker cartoons, particularly because of the squirrel’s rather unpleasant character. This makes it difficult to sympathize with either protagonist.

The cartoon shows an interesting mixture of styles: the squirrel looks vaguely like a Robert McKimson-character, while Porky is designed and animated in a toned-down Clampettian style.

Watch ‘Porky Chops’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Porky Chops’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 123
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Awful Orphan
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Paying the Piper

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