Saturday, November 29, 2014

Movie Review: Monkeybone (2001)








Starring:  Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Rose McGowan, and Chris Kattan

Genre: Fantasy / Black Comedy / Animals / Death

Company:  Twentieth Century Fox

Directed by: Henry Selick

Year: 2001

MPAA Rating / TV Rating: Rated PG-13 – For
Crude Humor and Some Nudity


The film starts off with Stu Miley being honored for his work on his cartoon series "Monkeybone," which stars an extremely crude and perverted cartoon monkey wrecking havoc on everyone else's lives.  After the celebration however, Stu ends up in a car accident and is thrown into a coma where he ends up in another world called Downtown, where his creation Monkeybone resides in.  In order to get out of Downtown, Stu has to try and steal Death's exit pass to get back to the world of the living; but unfortunately, his creation Monkeybone ends up betraying him and ends up stealing Stu's body when he comes to the world of the living.  Not only that, but it turns out that Hypnos, Death's brother, was planning on giving everyone in the world of the living nightmares by having Monkeybone inject everyone with nightmare juice.  Now Stu must find a way to get back into his own body before Monkeybone injects everyone with nightmare juice!


I had watched almost all the movies directed by Henry Selick at this point and I had enjoyed almost all of them!  However, "Monkeybone" was that one case that I could have enjoyed it much better if the plot and the characters were handled a bit better, but I'll get into that later.  What I did like about this movie was the fact that the world of Downtown was so creative to look at as all the characters look like they came out of various mythologies and fantasy works and seeing them interact with each other was brilliant to see!  I also loved how all the actors and actresses in this film gave their all by acting so hammy yet convincing towards the audience in detailing the characters' plight throughout this movie.  Probably the actors and actresses in this film that I really enjoyed their performances were Whoopi Goldberg and Brendan Fraser as they really made their characters truly stand out in this film!  I loved the way that Brendan Fraser was able to balance between being hammy and being emotional as Stu Miley and it really made me get into Stu's predicament of trying to confess his love towards Julie and try to find his way out of Downtown so he could tell Julie he loves her.  Whoopi Goldberg was also fantastic as Death as she made Death into a truly hilarious and sympathetic character and I really liked the relationship she develops with Stu.  I also loved the fact that Stu truly does care about Julie and is willing to do anything to get back to her and confess his love to her.


Some problems that I had with this film was that I felt that the story could have been much better if the characters and the story were developed better. Now, I did look at the deleted scenes for this movie and I realized that the creative team were forced to cut out a lot of parts to help this film retain a PG-13 rating, but in doing that, they cut out a lot of parts that were essential to the plot of the story, even if they probably wouldn't make the movie any better than it is.  I would have liked this movie better if we actually got to know more about the characters themselves, especially about the pact between Stu and his sister Kimmy where Kimmy will pull the plug on Stu if Stu goes into a coma, which the movie failed to go into more detail about.  Also, there were times where the movie was forcing in crude humor where they didn't need to be and it made viewing this movie a bit awkward since one moment I would be enjoying the story of the film and then the next moment, they introduce a crude moment that involves toilet humor that kind of ruins the scenes for me.

Overall, while "Monkeybone" does have a lot of creative moments, especially during the Downtown sequences, the movie suffers from lack of character development that makes viewing this movie a bit hard at times.




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