Friday, October 11, 2019

The Banana Splits Movie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! One banana, two banana, three banana BORE!  There's your hacky one-line review that critics are so fond of using!

The Banana Splits Movie – 2 out of 5

My familiarity with The Banana Splits is fairly limited.  I saw reruns of the variety show when I was younger on Cartoon Network and absolutely loved Liz Phair’s cover of the theme song in the mid-90s.  However, when it was announced they would make a horror film based on the characters, I was instantly interested.  Let’s face it, Sid and Marty Krofft’s unique costume designs from the 60s and 70s were already kinda frightening and with the popularity of Five Nights at Freddy’s, there is the real potential this film could work or, at the very least, be a fun dark comedy.  Sadly, I felt it didn’t work on any level and was just bored with The Banana Splits Movie.

When the rights to Five Nights at Freddy's are too expensive...
You go with Plan B...or whatever is cheapest.

The characters keep saying he's too old for the show
but he kinda looks the right age for The Banana Splits
to me.
Harley Williams (Finlay Wotjak-Hissong) absolutely loves the show The Banana Splits and, for his birthday, his mother Beth (Dani Kind) has gotten the family tickets to see a taping of the show.  They set out with Harley’s brother Austin (Romeo Carere), Harley’s father and Austin’s step-father Mitch (Steve Lund) and Harley’s friend Zoe (Maria Nash), to see the show; however, a new network head has declared that this show is the final one and the series is set to be cancelled.  The stars—Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky—all of them super advanced animatronic characters, aren’t happy to learn this and are out for blood and to keep the show going at whatever costs.

Why were they built with their eyes able to change to red?

I admire taking a children’s show property and taking a big gamble with it by putting into a genre that it so clearly doesn’t belong in (although, a case can be made that Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky are inherently terrifying) but the novelty that is The Banana Splits Movie wears off very quickly as it feels like it doesn’t lean enough into its potential and ultimately feels very generic and mundane.  Take out any reference to the Hanna-Barbera characters and this movie plays like a cheaply made slasher film.  Sadly, having The Banana Splits as the antagonists feels very much like an afterthought due to a story that kinda feels like it is going through the motions and kills that, unfortunately, feel very uninspired.It only lends credence to the rumor that the product was based on a failed attempt to make Five Nights at Freddy’s because there is no denying The Banana Splits feel like they were put in at the last minute.

So...were the Banana Splits robots programmed to know how to do this?

"Come with me if you want to live...I mean die.
I meant to say die."
The cast, overall, isn’t too bad in the film but few performers are ever really given a time to shine due to very weak writing.  The story tries to develop backstories for a lot of the characters but, sadly, they are all one-dimensional individuals.  You have the father who is an obvious asshole who cheats on his wife (seriously, this character never misses an opportunity to be unlikable—we get it, movie, you are going to kill him and you want us to love it), there’s the alcoholic human co-star of the show who is angry he plays second fiddle to robots, there’s the “well actually” fan of The Banana Splits who is also a social media star with his girlfriend and you got the stage dad who is using the taping as a way to get his daughter discovered.  While some of these characters are slightly obnoxious, the film presents them like they are terrible and deserving of the massacre that is about to happen.  Having unlikeable characters around for the sake of slaughter is not uncommon in the world of slashers but the characters are just cardboard cutouts and with their lack of depth it was hard to really get behind them dying.  I wasn’t rooting for them to live but with being such one-dimensional characters made the film feel even cheaper than it looked…add in a production that already feels very “by-the-numbers” and all this does is create the feel this film was just farted out.

Drunk acting is hard.  It's rare to see it done well and when it is done
badly, like here, it is painful to watch.  But, at the very least, it made you
want to see Stevie bite the dust even more.

The Banana Splits Movie contains a ton of potential and I liked the concept far more than the uninspired execution.  Despite the blood and guts, the writing felt so sterile and the utilization of The Banana Splits lacked creativity that the product was a bit of a chore to get through.  It starts fine enough and the buildup is serviceable but the moment I realize that this film will never really push itself to be something special and memorable, the whole thing just felt generic and even a bit sad as it could have been a fun dark comedy.  Hell, the movie could have even been a fun bad movie but even the genuinely bad aspects just weren’t that interesting and couldn't make this one entertaining even in a "so bad it is good" way.

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