When a film is successful enough, it’s a relatively natural assumption today that a sequel will follow. In that sequel we expect more of the same and hopefully something new as well. Unfortunately there is a disturbing sideline for the animation sequel. Because the actors aren’t really on camera at all, there is the temptation to replace them so that you can do a much cheaper, often direct to video sequel. The folks who did Madagascar didn’t go that route, but the folks who did Open Season did. Gone are the likes of Martin Lawrence, Gary Sinise, Ashton Kutcher, and Debra Messing. These voices are replaced by Joel McHale, Mike Epps, and Jane Krakowski. Who? You might ask. That’s the problem. In an attempt to bridge the two films, Billy Connolly remains as the voice of McSquizzy. Crispin Glover is the biggest name actor in the new voice cast, playing the somewhat villainous Fifi. The result is a decidedly inferior film that was relegated to the Wal-Mart bins instead of the box office.
Just as Elliot and Giselle are about to get hitched, Weenie is discovered by his former masters and taken away. When Elliot sees the event he decides that Weenie has been captured and is being tortured. So the wedding is suspended and the gang sets off to rescue Weenie. They arrive at a pet campground where pets and their owners are pampered in a resort community for a week or two vacation. There is a prejudice among the domesticated pets against the animals of the wild. Our forest friends must infiltrate the resort compound and face down the domesticated pets in order to pull off their rescue. The pets are led by a conniving poodle named Fifi who is particularly hateful of the wilds. After a few slightly amusing sight gags and a predictable story and outcome, the wilds defeat Fifi and find that they and the pets have more in common than not. “Why can’t we just all get along” is the message of the day.
Everything about this effort screams cutbacks. The animation is not nearly as good as the original. That means corners were cut not only with the cast, but with the film’s entire production. I’d love to know if the likes of Martin Lawrence were cut because of budget or they just refused to be a part of this stupid affair. Keep your memories of the original intact and skip this unnecessary sequel. There are a few far better efforts out there that will more than fill the missing time for you and your kids in front of the set.
Open Season 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. In spite of the inferior animation, the colors of this film do a remarkable job. The picture is sharp and solid in every way possible, at least as far as the transfer is concerned. The animation is not as smooth, but we’re talking transfer here and not the animation. Black levels are rock solid. There are no compression problems here. It looks as good as this source material can.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is extremely average. There are some fun moments that allow for an expanded surround mix, but 90% of this presentation is fixed solidly front and center. That means you get great dialog but not much else here. The kids probably won’t really care, and that’s what they’re counting on here.
The Game Zone: You get 5 very young kid games here to play. Most of your kids won’t have the patience.
Going Wild With The Voice Cast: This 15 minute feature will try hard to convince you that the voice cast was an essential piece of the film and they worked hard to get just the right voices. What they don’t really talk about is that “just right” meant willing to work cheap. There’s no attention paid to the changes. You get to see the actors having loads of fun, and they each talk about their characters a bit.
Deleted Scenes: There are 3 scenes you can select individually or use the handy play all feature. It totals about 6 minutes. These scenes are not fully animated, which is normal for this kind of production and DVD. You get animated storyboards.
Music Video: It’s a Jamaican version of Who Let The Dogs Out.
I have no idea why you would want to pick this inferior sequel up when there are some fine higher budget efforts out there at the same time. I suspect this one will soon end up in the $1 bins, and that’s how it will end up in most of the homes it gets to. I understand the reason behind sequels. I also understand that this is a business that has as its first objective to make a profit. What we have here is material simply for material’s sake. Like the famous GNDN markings on the pipes of The Enterprise, this sequel goes nowhere does nothing. “I don’t really see the point.”