furry vengeance DI
2010 Running time: 91 Certificate: pg Not yet rated
furry vengeance 1S

Synopsis

Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields lead the voice talent in this tale of a group of woodland animals who gang up on developers who want to build homes on their habitat in the Oregon wilderness. Anyone hungry for more animal antics of the Over The Hedge and Dr Doolittle variety just might take the bait.

Director

  • Roger Kumble

Cast

  • Brendan Fraser

  • Ken Jeong

  • Brooke Shields

  • Angela Kinsey

Review

Pixar, much as they'd hate to have you believe it, are evil geniuses.

With an apparent monopoly on the magical, sure-fire formula to making a great kids movie, their creative alchemy means that modern 'family' films are under increasing scrutiny.

Furry Vengeance is a terrible film, one that could have passed for 'average' back in the 90s, but which is nowadays easily overshadowed by hundreds of funnier, more entertaining and downright better kiddie flicks.

Brendan Fraser stars as (pause for sentence accompanying-audible groan) Dan Sanders, a hapless doofus Dad who's overseeing the development of a huge housing project in the heart of Oregon's woodland.

Spineless Dan instantly follows his crazy boss' orders for a second phase development, which just so happens to involve destroying the area's remaining forest.

Naturally, the surrounding woodland critters (and his rational family) aren't too keen on the idea and team-up for a co-ordinated offensive that they hope will drive Dan, and any potential successor, far far away.

Screenwriters Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert made a point of denying the non-human cast the power of speech and try to use as many live animals as possible (as opposed to CGI, not dead ones). But even with the occasional technologically aided facial expression and a cacophony of animal noises, none of the furry friends have any endearing personalities to warm to.

The opening (trailer-glimpsed) Rube Goldberg-esque trap - concocted by a unique partnership of woodland animals - is as inspired as the movie gets, and from there it's a succession of inane slapstick after badly timed pratfall in a boring downward slope.

The CGI is pretty laughable (aside from Fraser's increasingly-inflating face - how do they do that?) but the animal work is as cute as it needs to be, and while the championing of the eco-warrior message should be celebrated, it's underpinned by a succession of gaudy product placements that will rankle parents as easily as it confuses kids.

Children's movies don't need to be searing explorations of the inner psych (like Where The Wild Things Are), nor do they all need to be pitch-perfect, emotionally-charged pieces of modern cinema (like Up).

But when you throw furry animals, silly slapstick and rubber-faced, big-name stars at the screen, and you can still hear more children crying than laughing in the audience, you can't help but feel that they've missed the point somewhat.

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