Elliot, Boog and all your favorite woodland creatures are back in a brand new, comedy adventure, Open Season: Scared Silly. When a case of mistaken identity leads both humans and animals to believe there is a monstrous werewolf on the prowl in Timberline National Forest, former hunter Shaw seizes on the opportunity to re-open open season. With Shaw on the loose and all the animals at risk, it's now up to Boog, Elliot, and Mr. Weenie to face their fears, track down the elusive werewolf, and get open season closed permanently.
Sometimes it's a good thing when a franchise realizes what it actually is and doesn't try to force itself into an uncomfortable position of being more. After three theatrical sequels, the adventures of Boog and Elliot have made the leap to Direct to Video with 'Open Season: Scared Silly.' The film is an obvious tie into the Halloween season that was probably intended to be shown in theaters but the effort was abandoned in favor of a direct to Blu-ray release. As the film itself is only just okay, it still proves there are a few laughs to be mined from this CGI animated series - especially if you're a kid.
Domesticated big bear Boog (voiced by Donny Lucas) and his boisterous deer pal Elliot (voiced by William Townsend) are about to go on a big camping trip - which is kinda funny because they already live in the woods. But just as they're about to head out on to their adventure, Elliot tells a campfire story to all the woodland critters about the terrifying, diabolical, and deadly Wailing Wampus Werewolf! While most of the critters listening to the story know that Elliot is making it all up, but are none the less entertained, poor cowardly Boog falls for the story tooth and nail. Gathering up his bunny friends and his trusty stuffed teddy bear, Boog calls off the trip and runs away to hide. Elliot, convinced that he can help his friend overcome his fears, conspires with the other woodland critters to get Boog to go on the trip so they can literally scare the fear out of him! Just like any great adventure, Boog, Elliot, and Mr. Weenie (also voiced by William Townsend) get more than they bargained for when the mad hunter Shaw (voiced by Trevor Devall) shows up!
'Open Season: Scared Silly' is one of those movies that knows it's primary audience is probably under the age of 10 and just goes for jokes that appeal to that age group. That isn't to say that there isn't any fun to be had by adults because there is some, but 'Open Season: Scared Silly' is just far more intent on keeping itself tuned to the needs of the younger audience. Part of the genuine fun of this movie are the numerous visual gags. My favorite moments where whenever Boog would scoop up his pile of bunnies and squeeze them for security, drop them, and then watch as they try to crawl away. It's a fun visual gag that gave me some consistent laughs. For the most part, the jokes are flying off almost too fast.
Taken as a whole, 'Open Season: Scared Silly' is still pretty good. As the fourth feature-length film in this series, the direct to video format serves it well. it still has its traditional exaggerated animal character animations and shows that it can still look like a quality production. How much mileage does this series have left in its tank is a better question to ask. While I admit to having some fun with this one, and I'm sure the kids will eat it up, it also does feel like your average episode of 'Scooby-Doo: Where Are You?' stretched out to 84 minutes. Maybe a weekly animated kids show is the better format for Boog, Elliot, and the rest of the woodland critters?
Considering the release date of this title, I would suggest that parents or awesome uncles like me who enjoy entertaining their nieces pick this one up, but save it for the Halloween season. When so many parents try to find age-appropriate entertainment for their little ones during that time of year, 'Open Season: Scared Silly' is actually a great one to serve to the little kids while they devour their sack full of candy. The fast running jokes may play well with their sugar high and the story should give them just enough spooks to entertain them without scaring them half to death!
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Open Season: Scared Silly' arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This Blu-ray and DVD set comes packed in a traditional two-disc Blu-ray case with identical slip cover. The Blu-ray is a Region Free BD50 disc that opens to trailers for upcoming Sony Releases before arriving at he main menu. Also included in this set is a Digital HD voucher with a flyer for the National Forest Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
With a bright and colorful 1.78:1 1080p transfer, 'Open Season: Scared Silly' makes for a pleasing Blu-ray debut. The animation is detailed and shows some fine rendering that is in keeping with the series' signature look. Primaries are bold and beautiful allowing for plenty of pop and presence while also allowing harder black outlines and shadows to play up the three-dimensional aspects of the image quality. Finer details like fur and tree leaves stand out nicely and give the image an appealing textural appearance. All around this is a pleasing and colorful image that should meet most fans' expectations for what this series has previously brought to the screen.
'Open Season: Scared Silly' comes packed with a strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track that plays to the movie's comedic strengths. All of the voices come through crystal clear and allow all of the different nationality inflections to have their own distinguishable strengths. Something about a Scottish Squirrel makes me laugh. Voice acting clarity is important because so many of the jokes fly so fast that if you lost the dialogue the punchline wouldn't land. Sound effects, dialogue and the nice moody cartoony sounding score have equal spacing giving the mix a nice sense of dimension. This is especially the case when the animals work to frighten Boog in the forests as the music builds slowly, the sounds of creaking tree branches and then a fright gag from the animals pops up. The mix handles these elements perfectly without any issues with levels or overlapping sounds. All around a clean mix.
Audio Commentary: Director David Feiss and writer Carlos Kotkin provide a fun commentary track for this film. It's nice that it's here because I don't really see too many kids listening to it, but if you're adult interested in animation and what it takes to produce a production like this, this commentary is a pretty great listen.
Super Speedy Recap: (HD 4:50) This is a recap of the series of movies this far.
Director Profile: David Feiss: (HD 6:26) This is a pretty solid interview with the director covering what got him interested in animation.
While some may be wondering why another 'Open Season' movie was made at all, 'Open Season: Scared Silly' proves that there are a few laughs to be had at the wild adventures of Boog and Elliot. That said, this one isn't as sharp as the previous movies, but is still some fun and should be a hit during the Halloween season. Sony has brought the movie to Blu-ray in fine order with a solid A/V presentation and some entertaining extra features. 'Open Season: Scared Silly' is worth a look.