There is a genuine offbeat moment in the film, however. Early on, Shaw the hunter sees Boog rescue Elliot, who is tied down to the front of the hunter's truck. Enraged, Shaw swears vengeance. This segment is a treat to the audience because it breaks away from the conventional "humans don't notice the animals interacting" context that is present in a lot of animation. This sort of feat between two animals is not something we see in everyday life, and having a human notice that in an animated film makes us smile in acknowledgement. This type of ingenuity is what could have given Open Season an edge, if only it was sustained. I was hoping for the clever interaction between Shaw and the film's duo to continue, but unfortunately the film resorts to an uninteresting grand battle between the forest animals and the hunters.
The theme suggested by the title of this film, animals surviving in the wild and hiding from hunters, is barely touched upon. When the actual hunting season part of the film begins (more than half way through the film; a bit too late, in my opinion), the audience doesn't feel any sense of danger for the animals. The audience knows by this point that this is not really a movie about animal survival; it's merely an excuse to rehash anthropomorphic humour, such as with a military squirrel with a Scottish accent and two talkative Latina skunks.
Perhaps it's Open Season's unexpanded themes that make it fall short or maybe it's the clichés. Either way, Sony entranced audiences this summer with Monster House, but does not offer them something refreshing with its outdoorsy Open Season.