Summit Entertainment // 2010 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 17th, 2010
Like a broadsword colonic, just with more screaming.
What do you get when you cross the shrill condescension of an environmentalist screed with the nuanced, sophisticated humor of a grown man getting kicked in the testicles by a bear? Furry Vengeance, the reason terrorists hate us.
Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser, The Mummy) is a project manager for an ambitious new development that will clear-cut hundreds of acres of forest and replace them with gated communities. His family is unsettled by the ecological disaster he's about to bring down, but Dan is so focused on his career he doesn't heed their warnings and lays plans to deforest the hell out of the place.
The animals that live in the woods aren't impressed and decide to fight back, launching a series of attacks on Dan, forcing him to scrunch up his face like a cauliflower and run around in his underwear. Meanwhile, I now hate cute chipmunks.
Furry Vengeance will eat your soul. It is a film with no redeeming qualities; the opposite of art, the opposite of entertainment, the opposite of funny, a monolithic achievement in the world of "family friendly" crap. Forget "family friendly," actually. This experience is so malignant, it requires no modifier for the word "crap"; in fact, it's unfair to compare Furry Vengeance to crap. Crap serves a purpose. It is waste expelled by an organism; a necessary biological function. Crap stinks because of the compounds produced by bacterial action within the intestinal tract, actions that aid in the digestion of food.
Measured against crap, Furry Vengeance falls short. It serves no purpose. The putrid stench it emits is not the result of microscopic organisms engaged in a symbiotic mechanism. There is no one who benefits from Furry Vengeance. It is a parasite. An insidious burrower into the lives of all who are connected with it -- actors, producers, crew members, audience members. You will be less than having partaken in Furry Vengeance.
Brendan Fraser, however, appears to be more than. At first, I thought the animals were seeking vengeance because Fraser may have eaten an entire family of raccoons. Pudgy, sallow, and incessantly contorting his face into geometric shapes that would have befuddled Archimedes, Fraser jettisons his dignity in the name of cartoonish slapstick that not once -- not once! -- elicited the faintest smile from me or anyone in the immediate vicinity. He tried. He fell a lot, bathed himself in tomato juice, got squirted by a fake skunk, ran around with a raccoon latched onto his junk, dressed in tiny pink pajamas after animals stole his clothes (how is that better than going outside in a towel?), rolled around in a Porta-Potty, and constantly crossed his eyes and screamed (read: deft physical comedy!). Yet for all that effort, the sole reaction he elicited from me was disgust, the kind of antipathy typically reserved for newspaper articles about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed complaining of Guantanamo Bay's pillow fluffiness.
On the periphery is Dan's son, a miserable a-hole who bitches endlessly about how much it sucks to live in the middle of pristine wilderness in a mini-mansion. He becomes the "serious" character at the end, acting as Dan's conscience, belting out half-baked eco-drivel and lecturing his father about the moral wrongs of putting forest creatures in a concentration camp. Brooke Shields is in this movie too, playing Dan's wife, but her main purpose is to show mild cleavage and roll her eyes at the elderly woman with dementia (old people losing their minds is comic gold!).
Finally, the animals. I suppose we're supposed to side with them, but it's not easy, especially when the very first scene involves a bunch of squirrels triggering a booby-trap that launches a boulder at a man driving a Porsche, which falls off a cliff, likely sending the victim to his death. Is this a Dove Family Approved kids movie or Saw V? (It is, alas, Dove Family Approved, which calls into question the potential malevolent intentions those at the Dove Foundation harbor towards your family.) As Furry Vengeance marches on, the animals step up their attacks, taking malicious joy in the bodily harm they cause to Dan. Granted, I took a modicum of joy at his suffering, but it didn't last because he healed way too quickly. Listen, animals, if you really want to do the job right, send some bobcats in to tear the s -- -- out of this guy. Or get a few of your rabid pals out there, biting away.
Obviously, Dan has an epiphany at the end of the film, realizing that maybe there's something wrong with a) cluster developing on a wildlife preserve, and b) executing a bunch of animals. What turns him around? The heart-warming sight of his raccoon nemesis and family. Who knew raccoons were so loving and monogamous?! This ultimately leads to a heartfelt apology to his son, the release of the animals (who can carjack an SUV, but can't negotiate a cage door latch), a rebuke of his boss, and a career change. See, at the end, Dan becomes a forest ranger, trading away his comfortable lifestyle for a career that will no doubt come to an unceremonial end with the next round of state budget cuts.
If you are intent on subjecting yourself, your family, or even the guy you have bound and gagged in your crawl-space to this horror, the Blu-ray at least holds its own technically (the flipside includes the DVD version of the film, ensuring that whatever format you have access to, someone is going to hate you). The 1.78:1 1080p widescreen transfer is clean and bright throughout, pushing out solid visuals; the forest stuff looks great and Fraser's enormous gut will pop out of the screen. An increased clarity betrays some shifty visual effects towards the end, particularly when a bunch of the CGI animals are on screen at the same time. For audio, the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is adequate, though the front channels sometimes struck me as muted. Which may a blessing...
Extras: a commentary with director Roger Kimble and the cast where they take far too much pride in the offal they collectively vomit forth; deleted scenes; featurettes on the slapstick and the animal work; and finally a gag reel.
A while back, Time magazine ran a cover image that Photoshopped a tree in the place of the American flag in the iconic Iwo Jima picture for a big global warming story. That was incredibly dumb, like the geniuses behind this sucking chest wound of a movie, and, as such, it's no surprise that they make a similarly moronic move, cutting actual footage of soldiers on D-Day into a raccoon's animated thought balloon. You stay classy, Furry Vengeance.
Thanks to this movie, I will now start aiming for animals in the
middle of the road with my Camry.
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Summit Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* DVD Copy