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Monkeybone (2001)
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Review Date: February 21, 2001
Director: Henry Selick
Writer: Sam Hamm
Producers: Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe
Actors:
Brendan Fraser as Stu Miley
Bridget Fonda as Julie McElroy
Dave Foley as Herb
Plot:
A cartoon artist falls into a coma and drifts into a nether world of nightmares. In this place, the cartoonist meets the character that he created, called Monkeybone, and attempts to return to the real world.
Critique:
Take one part annoying monkey, one part Brendan Fraser playing his "goofy" character once again, one part cool nightmarish visuals and one part lame story and you pretty much get the gist of this picture. But let's not forget to mention Whoopie Goldberg as the character of "death" (or should I say...the "kiss of death"? hehehe). Anyway, it all adds up to something that's generally pretty interesting to look at, but ultimately unsatisfying and a little schytzophrenic. One of the film's main problems seems to be that it doesn't really know what it wants to be. Is it a movie for adults, kids, a tear-jerker, romance, comedy...a little bit of everything? Probably the latter, and trying to please everyone at the same time is generally not the best way to create a solid picture. For me, the whole thing just seemed a little off-kilter (and not necessarily the way in which they were trying to achieve off-kilterness). The first half of the film didn't particularly reserve any laughs for me or anything, but did display many an eye-catching item in the "nightmare" world (oh yeah, and Rose McGowan, too...growl!). But the second half of the film moved away from all that, and tried to slip some romance and broad comedy bits in there, and despite some of it being somewhat amusing, the general nature of it was pretty hum-drum.

And ironically, one of the last scenes from the movie featured one of the worst blue screen effects that I've seen in any film for some time. How is that even possible? It's almost as if they ran out of ideas or money in the second half, and relied more on Fraser's over-the-top monkey acting and Fonda's tears to keep things going (and I'm not insulting him here, dudes...he's supposed to act like a monkey!). Granted, Chris Kattan was really funny during his few moments on-screen (think D'Onofrio from MEN IN BLACK), but the overall product was just too confused and unsubstantial. It's especially sad when you consider that the movie does obviously have an original concept, a great visual style and a pretty cool soundtrack, but the characters aren't very developed and the story rather thin, so you really aren't left with much to chew on. Of course, if you like to smoke the cheeba and watch this kinda stuff, this might just be the movie for you, or even if you just wanna see one of the coolest rollercoaster rides in any movie, but for most, this picture will likely not entertain. An altogether dark movie or a lighter, fluffier all-out comedy might've worked, but as the film stands now, it's just too diluted to be appreciated by anyone.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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