Open Season

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Not recommended under 5, PG to 8 (Viol. Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Open Season
  • a review of Open Season completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 December 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-8 Parental guidance due to violence and disturbing scenes.
Children over the age of 8 Most children over the age of eight should be ok to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Open Season
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length: 86 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Boog (voiced by Martin Lawrence), is a loveable grizzly bear who has been hand reared by Beth (Debra Messing) since she rescued him as a cub. He lives an idyllic life and makes regular appearances with Beth on stage at a local wildlife park. However his nice life is challenged when he rescues Elliot (Ashton Kutcher), a young buck, from local hunter Shaw (Gary Sinise). Elliot points out that Boog is a ‘pet’ and needs to learn how to live in the wild. Elliot persuades Boog to leave the comfort of his home and take a trip into town where they break into the local store and totally trash the place. When Beth finds Boog the next day, the policeman tells her it’s time to return him to the wild.

Thus Boog is released into the wild with his sidekick Elliot just in time for open season. Boog has to learn how to fight both the elements and man, his natural enemy.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Animals in peril

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Shaw drives his truck erratically across the road causing children to scatter and scream
  • Shaw drives deliberately at the deer to knock him down
  • Elliot and Boog break into the store and smash everything in it
  • Beth fires tranquiliser darts at Elliot and Boog
  • a troop of squirrels pelt Elliot and Boog with acorns when they try to climb their trees
  • Boog falls over the edge of a mountain, landing heavily in a tree, then on a porcupine
  • Shaw attacks a little dog that bites him back
  • Shaw repeatedly fires at Boog and Elliot but always misses
  • Shaw throws a knife at Boog who manages to run away only to be nearly run down by cars
  • a war breaks out between hunters and animals in which the animals surround the hunters and all crash into them. The men fire at rabbits; animals send lit arrows at the men one of which hits a gas tank. This explodes and all the trucks get blown up
  • a fight breaks out between Boog and Shaw in which Shaw attacks him with a knife and Boog retaliates with a golf club
  • Shaw fires at Elliot.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Boog roars at Beth. It is in a game but still looks quite scary.
  • Shaw is a very scary looking man, large, hairy, big mouth with broken teeth and he’s always carrying a large rifle
  • Elliot is tied to the bonnet of Shaw’s truck with ropes
  • during one of his shows, Boog is shown behind the curtains chasing Elliot and confronting him. From the front of the curtain it looks like Boog is killing Elliot and the audience all scream and run away.
  • Boog is very frightened when he wakes up to find he’s alone in the mountains and doesn’t know how to get home
  • Elliot has to pull porcupine spikes out of Boog making him scream in pain
  • Boog and Elliot find Elliot’s herd but the leader has expelled Elliot from the pack. He looks very large and aggressive with yellow eyes and sends them away
  • Boog makes a beaver dam collapse. This causes a flood which washes Boog and Elliot into Shaw’s truck and they appear to be drowning.
  • Boog finds Shaw’s cottage in the woods. It is raining in this scene and the cottage looks very scary, as it is dark and creaky and full of animal heads. Boog is clearly frightened.
  • Elliot appears to die after being shot, and Boog becomes enraged, rears up and roars at Shaw.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Boog being abandoned by Beth
  • Shaw is a very aggressive hunter and a mean person
  • the hunters going out to shoot forest animals
  • the animals being threatened by men.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Sensitive children in this age group could still be scared by the threat and treatment of animals.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement


Sexual references

Boog and Elliot become business partners and some jokes are made about them being ‘partners’ in the personal relationship sense.

Nudity and sexual activity


Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Boog reacts badly to eating sugar and overdoses on confectionery and soft drinks in the shop. He appears to be drunk.
  • Shaw smokes.

Coarse language

There is some use of the word ‘crap’.

In a nutshell

Open Season is not particularly original, but might amuse some older children. The main message of the movie is that animals shouldn’t be hunted.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • respect for animals.

Parents could talk about the dangers of using violence to counter violence.