Quite frankly, this film rocked - I literally laughed until I cried, in at least two separate places (maybe three; the laughs kinda blended in there for awhile). Sure, we humans come off pretty badly, but this consummately animated film (based closely on the syndicated comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis, which already runs in the Portland Oregonian so I don't need to start a letter-writing campaign...) really does deserve the attention it's been getting.
It's funny for both kids and adults, without stooping (very often, anyway) to the sort of excretory jokes that are all too prevalent in kids' fare these days. The product placements are minimal - almost invisible, really; all of the corporate logos I saw were imaginary, made up for the film, even when they were obviously based on real consumer items and organizations (like the adorable "Trail Guides" in their maroon uniforms, selling boxes of cookies door to door).
The whole thrust of the movie is blessedly anti-consumer, in fact, despite its surface devotion to consumption of junk food and the suburban lifestyle. There are arch references to everything from The Matrix to A Streetcar Named Desire for the grownups. The CGI is utterly believable but unobtrusive... and absolutely necessary considering the amount of property damage these animals commit. Bill Shatner parodies himself mercilessly as an opossum faking his death scene ("Must. Go. Toward. The. Light...") and the other voice characterizations (such as Wanda Sykes as Stella the Skunk, and Gary Shandling as Vern the Turtle, to name just two) are as animated as the visuals themselves.
Highly recommended for the young'uns and their parents alike.
©2006 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.
Last updated August 3, 2006.