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Director: Henry Selick
review by Michael Lohr
Something went terribly wrong somewhere on the road between creative inspiration and actual execution. Monkeybone, if done right could be a wondrous and funny movie. And still is to a degree, but unfortunately what I see here is a wonderful idea that was victimised in the editing room, and by budgetary contraints and the ability of the medium.
The concept of the movie is that Brendan Fraser, who plays a cartoonist named Stu, creates an animated character named Monkeybone. The origins of Monkeybone seemingly sprang from Stu's subdued sexual anxiety. Stu finds his life hitting an upturn, as he has just sold his animated series to a television cable channel and is being bombarded with big money proposals for toys and other royalty producing paraphernalia. And just as things start to become peachy, he trips into a spiraling decent of chaos. He and his girlfriend Julie, played by Bridget Fonda, get into a car wreck where Stu, after suffering a head injury, falls into a coma. While in this deep sleep he finds himself traveling to 'Down Town' - a unique place inhabited by other people in comas as well as various figments of these same people's imaginations. While there, Stu stumbles across his character, Monkeybone and all hell breaks loose as they brawl all over Down Town. After awhile, it dawns on Stu that his sister, due to a pact they once made, is preparing to pull the plug on him. In a rush, Stu makes a deal with Hypnos, the god of sleep, to help him steal a golden ticket of return from Death (played by Whoopi Goldberg). Further chaos ensues from there. One thing is for sure this movie is never boring and does have some inspired moments. It has a Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the famous Star Wars bar scene meets Discworld kind of vibe to it, but its unique vision is stifled by a lethargic script that essentially does nothing with the otherwise very interesting characters.
On a side note I really enjoyed Rose McGowan as Miss Kitty. McGowan was definitely one of the few dazzling parts of the movie, and as usual she has the propensity for playing odd characters very well. She is only a solo star role, like a Tomb Raider or Beetlejuice, away from being a major star.
I would suggest that viewing Monkeybone should be saved for times when a cheap rental will do or for one of those dreaded late night, insomnia attacks when nothing else is on the telly.
Actually, they should redo this movie as a major length animae movie or in a Shrek style computer-generated movie, then and only then would the total concept be captured and harvested to its full potential.
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