Cool World – 0 out of 5
I was just a little eleven year old boy when I saw Cool World for the first time. My father, sister and I rented it on VHS when it was released and all I remember about it was…well…not much. Other thank being a growing boy and some of the imagery making me feel funny, the film had no staying power with me over the years. The film was released 4 years after the ground-breaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit? so it was no surprise why I wouldn’t want to see another film where real-life people and cartoons interact with each other. Recently, I was reminded of its existence after a friend suffered through it for a sketch we had in one of our comedy shows and, in a show of solidarity, I decided to revisit the film so he wouldn’t suffer alone. It was quite the ordeal but sorta on brand for me because I only watch horror films in October and, while this wouldn’t necessarily fall within that genre, the film is terrifying in its own way—well, in a way that it was actually made and exists in our reality.
|Here's the quality of jokes you'll get in this film.|
|Holli Would...fire her manager after this film.|
In the mid-1940s, Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) returns from World War II and gets in a motorcycle accident with his mother. As she dies in his arms, he is transported to a cartoon world called Cool World by an animated scientist named Dr. Vincent (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) and there he stays to become a police detective in this animated world. Decades later in the real world, cartoonist Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne), who has become famous for making a comic book inspired by visions of Cool World, is released from a prison sentence. Not long after his release, Deebs finds himself sucked into Cool World and there he meets what he once thought was just a creation of his but turns out to actually exist; Holli Would (Kim Basinger). Holli desperately wants to get out of Cool World, become a real person, and get to the real world and, to do that, she must have sex with a real person (what the hell is this rated?). Naturally, Deebs doesn’t put up much of a fight and has doomed both their realities as this act has led Holli to unleash the cartoon world on the real world.
|In the modern era, Deebs would definitely have one of those life-size anime|
girl body pillows.
I’m not the biggest fan of Ralph Bakshi. Yes, there are films from him that I find interesting but rarely have I ever found his stuff to be entertaining. The production behind Cool World is an interesting one and it is quite the rollercoaster. Bakshi, no stranger to the more problematic features, originally wanted this film to be an animated horror film and then, after the studio was sold on the idea, went through rewrite after rewrite before it became the mess it is now. Additionally, Bakshi (not surprisingly) wanted the film to be a hard R-rated feature (probably so he can get even more misogynistic and racist) but the studio wanted a PG-13 film. Bakshi’s work is really gross, creepy and problematic, why the hell would the studio believe he could do a PG-13 film that wasn’t completely inappropriate? Well, he can’t and what we were left with was this really sloppy and aggravating feature that wants to be Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but for Edgelords but ended up with a film that just made my head hurt.
|I guess she doesn't have to worry about his eyes leering. His eyeline isn't|
even looking in her general direction.
It’s so hard to figure out exactly where to begin with Cool World because there is just so much wrong with it and so little right. First off, that story feels like it was conceived by a 14 year old Men’s Rights Activist. Seriously, the film’s story hinges on a cartoon main character desperately wanting to bed any human she can get her hands on because said bedding will turn her human. I don’t even want to start contemplating the internal logistics of that. I won’t even bother getting into the whole misogyny of it all—but that’s not really a surprise if you are familiar with Bakshi’s work.
|This movie would have been saved slightly if, when Holli became human, just |
started screaming and begging to be killed because she made
a huge mistake.
|A real car...did that get pulled in through the portal?|
Next up is the animation and character design. This feature has its usual racist undertones when it concerns character designs and the females are made to only be legs, tush, boobs and lips. There’s not much you can say in this department beyond “gross” and “This does not age well.” However, aside from the designs and terrible story, one of the worst aspect is how obnoxious the animation can be. For one, no animated character ever remains the same size when dealing with human performers. They constantly grow and shrink—and not in a perspective sorta way but rather there will be static scenes where you will literally watch Holli suddenly start to get smaller or larger for no reason. And then you have to deal with the random animations like some black and white underworld monster just come moaning its way into a scene or how a single second in Cool World can’t be without random cartoons just acting nutso. I guess it’s meant to constantly remind the viewer that you are in a cartoon world but it is so inane. Without a doubt, this was one of the hardest aspects of the film to sit through.
|These invasive toons would make Cool World an anxiety-inducing home.|
If there is a shining light in this film, it’s the soundtrack. Right as the movie started, it had this great dance track by the Thompson Twins. The song is killer and the rest of the soundtrack follows suit. Hell David Bowie literally did a song for the soundtrack! However, a fantastic soundtrack isn’t enough to save this terrible feature and it only serves as a golden nugget in an otherwise muddy and shit filled movie.
|Pitt's character didn't arrive with luggage so how often is he washing that suit?|
Cool World is a pretty infuriating film. My friend describes director Ralph Bakshi and his animation and design style as something that is only meant for those over 50 and white. I’d add to it they need to also be pretty misogynistic and racist as well. Despite somehow getting a really great soundtrack, the film is just a mess of chaotic and obnoxious animation, a pretty gross story and performances that are as cringe-y as the story is. However, I will say that the voice acting is fairly decent when it concerns the professional voice actors—it just sucks that most of them are having to voice sexual and racial stereotypes. Oh, and then you get the pain of watching performers unable to convincingly act and react with the animated characters. Although their wooden performances in this department are amusing. Overall, it was a really hard movie to revisit because of how atrocious it is and my face was literally worn with a mask of a wince throughout the entire time I viewed it. One might think I was in physical pain…which it at times felt like.