Warning, this is a spoiler based review
I'd never heard of this movie, I stumbled across it whilst doing some research into another movie and had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Why is Brad Pitt in a cheap Roger Rabbit rip off and why does he look photoshopped? I guess I'm about to find out, but that woman on the cover has nothing on Jessica Rabbit.
As the Paramount logo pops up we get a funky electro-pop song and a woman with a throaty voice singing, "Play with me", I sincerely hope this isn't setting the tone for the movie. The blue titles slide in and out on a plain, black background. When these finally finish, we're told we're in Las Vegas in 1945 and we see a plane going into a hanger as Jazz music plays and a crowd gathers to greet some service men and women and we see Brad Pitt hugging a woman who looks to be in her forties, probably his mother.
|A ride in which their hair doesn't move, they can have a perfectly audible conversation and no safety equipment.|
The bike flies off the road and Brad starts having a war flashback and starts crawling through the dirt, then he sees his mother sprawled on the dust who is looking surprisingly neat for having been thrown from a speeding motorcycle, hit by a car, into a dirt road, with only a thick coat and a knee length skirt for safety equipment. We transition and see the woman of the couple sitting on their car, crying as a police officer takes notes whilst talking to the man.
An ambulance loads Brad's mother into the back in a body bag and to transition from this moving death scene, we get this:
|All right, it wasn't that moving, but this is still inappropriate.|
Brad starts shouting for his mother, and he is squared off by two large cartoony guys, the little science guy starts muttering to himself about what happened, then hears Brad screaming. The little science guy comes over and says that the large guys are doodles and Brad says, "cartoons?" I must say he's taking this rather well for someone in the forties who very, very likely has never seen a full colour toon in the style of which these are drawn. These are very much Warner Brothers, Loony Tunes style, if it was 1945 and colour TV was introduced to America till the 50's and we'll assume he signed up at the point that America finally decided to join in around 1941/1942 or so, his only experience with full colour cartoon characters would be with Disney animated features such as Snow White or Fantasia. So really, he's taking this very well indeed.
|So we're ripping off Roger Rabbit, but with poor animation and no big studio backing? Why did I agree to this movie?|
The little guy says he's sorry about Brad's mother and Brad gets a sadistic look over his face and says, "You're cartoons." Thanks, Brad, I think we've established that. Brad says that the cartoons aren't real, the little guy says they are, and inter-world travel has been an obsession of his for many years, he turns Brad around and tells the other two guys that Brad isn't for them, he's a man of mystery and science and a hero.
Brad says he's not a hero, the little guy introduces himself as Doc Whiskers, Brad's character is called Frank Harris, but we'll continue to call him Brad. They walk off into blackness, Brad tells Whiskers he was a soldier, Whiskers says that might be useful when he's gone, the screen fades to black and we get a card saying "Las Vegas 1992".
The camera sweeps quickly through the desert and into the window of a prison, it travels past a bunch of cells then we see Gabriel Byrne sat at a lighting table. He turns on a desk lamp and begins narrating exposition in his head.
He tells the drawing that they'll be out of there tomorrow, he addresses it as Holly saying that even though she's a drawing, without her he'd never have made it through prison. The drawing says, "It's time you came to me, Jack" and Jack jumps up from the table as a pair of hands come out of the lighting table and reach for him. He shakes his head and then is taken by a lightning effect into the cartoon world.
Jack begins falling into the cartoon world, falling hundreds of feel and eventually handing in a badly animated club, where lots of wolf/dog creatures watch Holly dance. It's pretty jarring when you see the badly animated crowd and an obviously rotoscoped dancing girl. Jack looks up, seeing the cartoon creatures on one side and then a a flat, 2D drawing on the other, I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a drawing or if it's supposed to be more crowd.
Holly continues to rotoscope around the dance floor, it's pretty bad when you know how very, very badly they wanted this character to be the next Jessica Rabbit and you know they have failed completely. Jessica Rabbit was sultry, sophisticated, yes she had the ridiculous body, but if she was just a flat drawing I don't think she'd be half as iconic as the character is.
|Dressing Holly like a Hooker and having her boobs impossibly held in, does not make her sexy.|
Jack stands up and reaches for Holly as she walks towards him, then the camera changes position and the editor fails at editing because he reaches for her again. The world flips and Jack is returned to his prison cell. Back in the cartoon world, we see some characters drawn as early nineties style Nicktoons digging through a bin and a guy in a purple suit passes them, one of them jumps out of the bin and asks what he's doing, the guy says he won't tell them and continues on. Another toon jumps out of the bin and says that he's gone soft as he's been seeing Holly, the purple suit guy picks up the toon and slaps him around a bit and then throws him on the floor.
The purple suit guy throws the toons a handful of wooden nickels, the wooden nickels then jump up and start attacking the toons, they grow mouths and evil red eyes and start biting the toons and the purple suit guy walks away and the coins bounce back after him and he pockets them.
We then see Brad pull up to a building in an animated car, which then turns into a real car, as he walks up to the building it becomes a fail cardboard cut out, then a different angled one as he turns around and sees two toons trying to steal the wheel from his car. He tells them to get lost and they run away, the door to the building slides back and he enters, getting his foot caught up in the door, as a safe falls from the sky, missing him. The purple suit guy sees this and says that he hates when Holly sees guys without telling him.
I really have to say at this point that it's shocking how poor the animation is, I've seen better animated pop up ads. That could be forgiven if Brad blended into the world, but he doesn't, he interacts with painted backdrops instead of animated ones. Even if you're a crazy person who doesn't like Roger Rabbit, you at least have to admit that it looked like the toons and the people were interacting with one another. This is not the case in Cool World.
Inside the building Holly is rotoscoping again to some film footage played through a gramophone of Marilyn Monroe. She greets Brad as Dectective Harris, so I guess Brad's been not very busy in the 47 years he's been hanging around Cool World if he's only a detective.
And again, this is where the movie fails, we can clearly see the painted walls and backdrop are merely painted walls instead of animation, Holly has just been animated on top and the gramophone and bar in the foreground are real props. The movie doesn't allow you to immerse yourself in its world as you are too busy looking at the mishmash of a set.
Holly tells Brad that her dress is a copy of a Marilyn Monroe dress and she knows the movie by heart, Holly likes the movie because the girl gets everything she ever wanted by the end. Holly says she knows it's real because it has a copyright date on it. They then start talking nonsense as Brad says there's a rumour she had a noid visitation at the club the previous night, Holly says it was a mind slip, nothing special. Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.
Brad interacts with the cardboard cut out sets and goes to leave, Holly says she has something to show him and takes him to a cardboard cut out wall where she talks about Vegas Vinnie, a toon who crossed over and took over a Vegas hotel. Brad tells her that Vegas Vinnie is a doodle fairytale, I think this movie is trying to say their toons are called doodles, but I'm still going to call them toons. Brad looks at himself in the mirror and Holly asks if he could make it to the toon world, why she couldn't make it to the real world.
|Then a pencil sketch flies in for no reason|
|Yeah, totally sexy. /end sarcasm|
Jack pulls up to a comic book shop which bears a large poster on the side featuring Joker, Wonder Woman and Superman as well as three scantily clad ladies I'm not really familiar with. In the shop Jack grabs an armful of comic books of Cool World, the girl at the counter recognises Jack and fan girls out. Jack notices they are selling autographed comic books for $140, then a bunch of fans start circling and he signs some comics. Jack signs a book for the girls boss and the girl invites him out to a coffee/jazz place, he politely declines as he's just come back to town. Then a smart ass asks him if he'll do a book about the guy he murdered, who he found in bed with his wife, subtle exposition, movie.
The girl lets Jack take his comic books for free, and he signs an autograph for an old man as he is leaving. Jack returns home and does the tortured artist bit, then Holly brings him into Cool World again, though first we have to see more zany toon action. Jack lands in cardboard cut out city and is approached by a toon he recognises from his comics. He goes to shake the toons hand, but the toon pokes him in the eye and then more toons gather and begin to attack him.
|Totally not trying to rip off Lena Hyena|
We get some more zany toon action, then return to Holly and Jack, Holly takes Jack to her car as the toon police are heading in their direction.
Brad takes the lady out whilst toons bounce around the screen, a spider toon comes up to Brad and tells him that Holly has Jack in Cool World again so he has to leave his date and go with the spider toon to the club to find Holly. We see more zany toon antics, and if this point you feel like I've over using the word, zany, then be thankful you aren't watching this crap. Outside the club we see a bunch of multicoloured dancing skeletons and Holly arrives, rotoscoping her way to the door along with her crew.
Jack recognises the doorman, who tells him that noids aren't allowed inside, Holly's muscle throws the doorman away and they enter the club. Brad approaches Jack and tells him to freeze and pulls out his police badge, Jack looks shocked and Brad pushes him up against a wall and asks what he's doing there, confiscating a pen from Jack.
Brad tells Jack that Holly is obsessed with noids and she's tried it on with every person who has come through and that he should stay away from Holly because she's bad news. He returns the pen to Jack and tells him to get out of there, Jack returns to Holly and she sends him back to the Real World. Brad goes to see his toon girlfriend again who is bitter about the no sex thing.
She starts kissing him and he tells her to stop because they can't finish, he says he's like a plug without a socket, so does that mean that lady toons don't have lady parts? She asks him if he ever thought about going back to the real world so he can do it, he says he would never do it because he can't live without her, but there he can't be with her and it's frustrating. It's nice to know he cares so much about this character who's yet to be given a name so for the sake of clarity, *wikipedia*, she's called Lonette.
Brad and spider toon arrive at Holly's place and the door won't let them in so the spider toon scales the side of the building with Brad attached to a rope around his waist. They reach some clouds, to which the spider toon is allergic and they drop off the side of the building but the spider toon catches the side of the building, preventing them from falling. They get into Holly's place where Holly is rotoscoping of course, Brad steals a cigarette from the purple suit guy and blows out some cartoon smoke and Holly notices Brad has arrived. The purple suit guy is called Sparks. Brad asks where Jack is, Holly plays dumb, Brad tells her to stay away from Jack or he'll close her down.
Holly tells Brad that he could go back to the real world any time he wants, but he doesn't because he hasn't got the guts and doesn't have what it takes to be real. Brad says she might be right, then looks like he's forgot his lines for a moment and looks all over the place, then walks off.
Jack reminds her of Brad's warning, but Holly isn't one to follow the rules, so we see the toons climbing up the side of the building, then back to Holly biting her glove off, then back to the toons again, back to Holly, back to the toons, you see how this is going. No one wants to see the toons, they aren't funny, but for some reason we keep seeing them. Then we see Holly has successfully mounted Jack and she seems to have enjoyed herself.
We then see Holly transition from this:
We see Holly's arm flicker between real and toon, then Holly pulls her white dress on and real version of Holly has much smaller, but more plausible boobs and a completely different haircut, guess it's a pretty traumatic conversion.
Brad pulls up outside with spider toon in tow, Brad tells spider toon to keep working and call him when he's done. We see more toons inside the club and so far Lonette and Holly have been the only toons I've seen that look anything close to a real person. At the Cool World police station, Sparks the purple suit guy calls spider toon to tell him that Jack and Holly just did it and are heading to the real world.
Spider toon calls the club and the phone runs around looking for Brad as an excuse to add some more bad animation. Spider toon decides not to tell Brad about Jack and Holly, Holly meanwhile keeps flicking between real and toon, but she's shaking and can't seem to believe she's turned real. Then we get an uneeded scene of spider toon loading a gun, look, movie, if you're going to force me to watch bad animation, at least make it relevant to the plot.
Jack asks Holly why they have to go back to the real world when Cool World is so much fun, Holly tells him that they can't do all the things she wants to do in the toon world, but she has to say goodbye to her gang first, so she hugs Jack and steals his pen by sliding it up her sleeve.
Her gang freak out when they see Holly has become real, spider toon arrives and Kim Basinger does some truly terrible acting, then sticks the pen into spider toon and draws him into her pen. Then Holly grabs Jack and they return to the real world. Two of Jack's neighbours see the commotion at Jack's house and go to see if he's ok and Jack introduces his neighbours to Holly, saying that she's from out of town, while Holly sexually assaults Jack.
Back in Cool world Brad finds out that Holly did it with Jack and became real and also erased spider toon. Jack takes Holly to a bar and Holly goes crazy smelling people and acting badly. Holly gets up on stage and Jack tries to stop her but is thrown out of the bar. Jack puts his hand on the bouncer who throws him out and transfer a weird blue light and as he touches his car, he flickers between himself and a toon.
|Because that's totally the same thing as Gabriel Byrne.|
Meanwhile Brad and Lonette argue because he has to go to the real world to stop Jack and Holly, Brad assures Lonette that he doesn't want to go back, but has to stop Jack and Holly and for him Cool World is the real world.
Holly starts flickering between her real self and a clown, because that totally makes sense.
The audience are impressed and think it's all part of the show, Holly runs out of the bar and steals a cigarette on her way out, she asks Jack what was going on, but Jack obviously doesn't know. Brad starts flashbacking to his motorcycle accident and uses the pain of that to send himself back to the real world. Jack and Holly drive, but as Jack's hands turn into toon hands he freaks out and also crashes.
Holly sees a sign for the vegas hotel she admired earlier in the movie and starts going on about the Spike of Power and how it can heal her. Jack says she's crazy and thinking like a toon and there is no Spike of Power so Holly kicks him in the face a couple of times, causing them to almost crash again and Holly throws Jack out of his car.
Jack's neighbour flicks through a Cool World comic book and hears strange sounds again, which is Brad materialising at Jack's house. Jack comes back and asks what Brad is doing in his house, he asks why Brad couldn't just shoot him and the two argue because Brad can't believe that Jack fucked everything up for a nympho like Holly, and Jack, well I'm not sure what Jack's argument is supposed to be.
Brad sees Jack flicker in-between real and toon and Jack confesses that it's happening to Holly as well. Jack's neighbour turns up and says she saw the weird stuff happening to his house again, then notices Brad who's looking a bit dishevelled.
Jack tells Brad that Holly is heading for the hotel of the legendary Vegas Vinnie, but they don't have a car so Jack's neighbour offers to drive them. Holly skids up at the hotel and a valet arrives to park her car, but she hasn't left the keys inside so he asks if he can help. Holly asks to see Vegas Vinnie, but he has never heard of him so Holly goes inside and starts asking random people if they've heard of Vegas Vinnie.
Brad tells Jack and his neighbour that the legend of Vegas Vinnie is based on Doc Whiskers, he and the Doc mapped out the passage between both worlds and they saw how easily the balance between the two worlds could be broken. Holly is thrown out of the hotel/casino place for having no money.
|What are we looking at?|
The little person, who is obviously Doc Whiskers, he tells her tha she won't find what she's looking for around the hotel/casino, he tries to run away from Holly, but trips over and she picks him up and shakes him about until Doc Whiskers falls out.
Doc Whiskers tells her that the spike won't help her and she jabs him with the pen, causing him to explode into pieces, Jack tries to chase after Holly, Brad stops him and asks him to put Whiskers back together and then chases after Holly himself.
Brad chases Holly up several flights of stairs, as he closes in on her, she pushes him over the edge, but he climbs back up as she turns toon and jumps through a wall. Brad feels the spot where she jumped through and Holly kicks him through the door in the balls, making this the one funny moment in the entire film.
Brad enters the hotel room that Holly entered, he doesn't see Holly at first, but she pops up from behind a table, he tells her he'll take her back to Cool world and Holly tries to grab a painting and Brad shoots at her. Holly backs up onto a balcony. Downstairs, Jack and his neighbour have put Doc Whiskers back together. Holly climbs up the balcony and Brad tells her to get down or she'll screw everything up, Holly climbs into an awkward position and gets stuck and asks for Brad's help, he climbs up to help her and she pushes him off the building.
Brad falls to his death and the pen falls to the floor as well, Doc Whiskers tells Jack it's his chance to make things right and Jacks hands turn to toon hands. They stretch up to the top of the building and Jack pulls himself up, his neighbour worries that he'll kill himself, but Doc Whiskers tells her he's a hero. Holly trends carefully atop the roof, but keeps being zapped by loose electricity cables and keeps flickering to her toon self.
She makes it to the top and reaches for the spike, pulling it free and releasing hundreds of toon pencil sketches and dead toons into the real world.
|A totally accurate cartoon version of Gabriel Byrne|
Spider toon escapes from the pen and sees Brad laying on the pavement and starts crying while SuperJack battles the toons. Holly tells Jack that they'll be staying in the real world, she asks for the spike and he goes to give it to her because his toon self is a moron of massive proportions. He realises however that it's a trick and returns the spike of power to it's proper place, send Holly hurtling back to the real world and reverting all the people back to their real selves.
Jack's neighbour cries as she realises that he has gone, Doc Whiskers tells her that the spike probably protected those sucked back into Cool World, then goes to comfort spider toon who says he should take Brad back to Cool World so his girlfriend can see his body.
Jack's neighbour walks away. Lonette wanders alone as the toons celebrate whatever it is they are celebrating. She sees Brad's body lying on the pavement which magically changes position between shots. Lonette cries over Brad's body and she asks who killed him, spider toon tells her that Holly did in her toon form. Lonette says that when a human is killed by a toon, they become a toon themselves. So Brad comes back to life as a toon.
|It's like Tin Tin's head on superman's body.|
|Stop playing David Bowie over the credits, movie, he's far too good for you.|
Oh my god, thank god that's over. I've said it many times before, I'm willing to forgive a movie for being bad or having bad effects as long as it's entertaining, this just isn't. The fact that it's trying so very hard to be Roger Rabbit and fails so spectacularly makes it even worse.
The acting from everyone is pretty much terrible Brad Pitt is ok, but it's not really a role that's vastly outside his range, Gabriel Byrne is bad so much as he's just phoning it in the entire time. Kim Basinger is just awful, it's painful to watch I'm telling you, it's just embarrassing and I'm embarrassed for her.
The animation is awful. It's hard to convey in screen caps but it's really shoddy and they keep throwing random foreground stuff into scenes instead of getting rid of that crap and just animating the backgrounds. The real characters and the toon characters do not interact well at all, aside from the aforementioned problem of the cardboard cut out sets, whenever a toon is touching something real or vice versa, it jumps all over and it looks really odd. Again, it's hard to show in screencaps because it's the movement itself and sometimes characters or objects just disappear into the real characers.
The plot is stupid. Why does Brad Pitt have to come from 1945? Or alternatively, why does Gabriel Byrne have to come from 1992? The fact that Brad was a soldier in World War 2 has no plot significance, the fact that Jack was in prison has no plot significance, the fact that he was in jail for killing a person is never mentioned again after the comic book shop scene. Who is this Doc Whiskers anyway, why and how did he build a portal to the real world? Why did he decide to go live there and why does he pop up at the end of the movie? Why does toon/human sex play havoc with the persons real/toonness? Why did Jack and Holly turn into clown toons? Why hasn't Brad aged in 47 years? Is he aware of the passage of time? Why doesn't 1992 Las Vegas completely freak him out? Why did Jack need a neighbour? Her purpose in the movie was to drive him to the hotel. Why did Jack go to a comic shop to buy arm fulls of his own comics? He should have shitloads of the things. Why are Lonette and Holly the only ones who look like real people toons? The rest of the toon world in comparison is severely deformed, so why aren't Holly and Lonette treated as the strange ones? Why at one point did I see Porky Pig's head on a woman's body?
THIS MOVIE MAKES NO GODDAMN SENSE!
The real shame, is that the plot which was originally pitched kinda sounded awesome. Originally, it was pitched as an animated horror film about an underground cartoonist, who fathers an illegitimate half-human/half-cartoon daughter, who hates herself for what she is and tries to kill him. Why we got this piece of shit instead, I don't know.
I'm actually now struggling to think of favourable things to say about this movie and I'm finding it hard to come up with anything at all. It's the kind of film which a huge Brad Pitt or Ralph Bakshi fan should see, but no one else. I struggle to think of how one could gain any enjoyment from this film other than mocking it relentlessly.
2 out of 10
p.s this took three days to post because my internet got cut off, it's back on now.