Happy 4th of July!

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] This has gotta be one of the most underrated movies we’ve ever seen.

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a coma, a cartoonist finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone.

PEOPLE: What talent involved in this one!

Directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, James & The Giant Peach).

With Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, John Turturro (Barton Fink from Barton Fink) as the voice of Monkeybone, Chris Kattan as the most hilarious corpse since Weekend At Burnie’s, Giancarlo Esposito (That’s right, bitches! GUS FROM BREAKING BAD!) as a red, horned, devlish creature with tiny legs, Rose McGowan with sexy kitty whiskers and outfits, Dave Foley with blonde hair as a smarmy agent, Megan Mullally (Children’s Hospital), Bob Odenkirk, Whoopi Goldberg as Death.

And a cameo by Stpehen King. Except it’s not really him. Looks JUST like him, though.

QUIRKS:

Fantasy dream adventure based on Kaja Blackley’s graphic novel “Dark Town”.

Creepy dreamworld. Coma dreams. Greek mythology.

The craziest organ donor doctors since Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.

Black, dark humor – ridiculously dark at times, without seeming dark.

The funniest corpse since Weekend At Burnie’s.

Similarities to Cool World, Beetlejuice, and Sucker Punch (which also used “Love Is A Drug” as a anesthesia-dream song, making me think this movie influenced Sucker Punch).

From IMDB: Comparisons between Monkeybone and Cool World: A cartoonist enters a strange world and meets his creation (Holli Would and Monkeybone). Vital scenes that take place in a night club (coma club/slash club). The cartoonist is offered a cigarette but refuses to smoke it. The cartoonist gets menaced by the strange world’s creatures when they first enter (road kill animals/Holli’s goons). The creation (holli would and monkeybone) both imitate Marylin Monroe. The creation plans to become human and enter the real world.

I’d love to see the (spoiler alert) alternate ending… In fact, the version we watched, while bluray in quality, lacked all the extra scenes described on that page.

VISUALS:

Did I mention who the director was? Same guy who did Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and James And The Giant Peach?

You don’t see as much animation in this one as in the others, but the visuals are pretty consistent with that. Darker than James And The Giant Peach, but not as dark as Nightmare Before Christmas. And not quite as creepy as Coraline. But definitely dark and creepy nonetheless.

SOUNDTRACK: “Love Is A Drug” – used both in this movie and Sucker Punch, which is also about coma/anesthesia dreams.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]ā†’ Careless driver’s erection-based character rapes his fiance. (oh man… oh man…)

BACKWARD PLOT SUMMARY: [highlight for spoilers]ā†’ Zombie gymnist scares the shit out of successful animator, causing him to go into a coma.

MORALS: I don’t think this movie had a real moral message to it — it’s just an adventure where some things happen. I guess you could say: Never give up.

POLITICS: Imagine if the main character in this movie was Terry Schiavo…

GOOD STUFF:

Great stop-motion animation — though you won’t see TOO much of it, as a lot of this movie takes place in the real world.

The movie kept getting better and better. By halfway through, I thought it would be a 4-star movie. But the plot and such kept going and going. It actually felt like the movie was done, but then we were only 38 minutes in! Stories that keep going after you think they are over are awesome — but stories that do this AND keep improving and getting better?!? EVEN MORE AWESOME!!

BAD STUFF: Brendan Fraser. We don’t mind him, but him being in a movie is an automatic turnoff for a lot of people. It’s also apparently too random for some people, even though IT’S A FUCKING COMA DREAM. It’s not SUPPOSED to all follow a sense of order!

CONCLUSION: We found this to be a brilliant comedy that was dark, morbid, AND lighthearted at the same time. With great fantasy visuals, and so many talented people involved, it’s hard to beleive this movie gets a 4.5 on IMDB, and only 20% on RottenTomatoes. What could everybody have missed?!? We both gave it a 9.

Apparently, if your inner child has died, you lack imagination, hate animation, or simply hate Brendan Fraser to the point of having it affect your ability to enjoy a movie, then this movie will just seem random, weird, and stupidly written. To which I say: Fuck you. This was great. What part of you had to die for you to not like it? And what do we have to do to re-awaken that part of you?

Anyway, while not as visually appealing as Selic’s other works, the appeal is still there, and it’s much more of a comedy than any of the others. This is like Cool World meets Beetlejuice, with a tiny dash of The Mask & Sucker Punch.

RATINGS:

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.5/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (but Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars–it definitely knew we’d disagree here).

RECOMMENDATION: If you love fantasy, aren’t a hater automatically turned off by certain things, still retain your sense of imagination, and love darkness (i.e. morbidity; goth sensibilities) — YOU SHOULD FUCKING WATCH THIS. A lot of people hate this, though.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Already mentioned: Cool World, Beetlejuice, and, to a lesser extent Sucker Punch. But also: The Mask, and maybe the movie Ink (but only for the love angle).

MOVIE QUOTE:

Stu: “The woman I love is living with a horny little monkey that looks like me.”
Kitty (Rose McGowan): “What a lucky girl!”

“Wait! We’re doctors! We don’t want to hurt you, we just want some organs!”

COINCIDENCES: (Journey To The Center Of The Earth [2006], Monkeybone [2001]) 2 Brendan Fraser movies 2 nights in a row with him riding a mineshaft car roller coaster, along with a reference to a currently-airing-when-we-watched-it adult cartoon [Family Guy in Journey…, South Park in Monkeybone]. TRIPLE COINCIDENCE TYPE! Very rare! Usually get 0-2 of these a year.

OTHER STUFF Monkeybone webisode – http://www.flinch.com/anim/monkeyboneroadrage.swf and http://www.thepixelvixen.bravehost.com/cartoons/mb.swf. Monkeybone poo game – http://www.flinch.com/sites/poogame.swf. ^^ Special thanks to Compn — who actually saw this in the theatre — for finding those.

Mood: good Music: Coroner – The Favorite Game