When a car crash sends repressed cartoonist Stu Miley into
a coma, he finds himself in Downtown, the land of nightmares.
He is not pleased when he runs into one of Downtown's denizens
- his mischievous animated creation, Monkeybone. Stu is even
less pleased when Monkeybone takes possession of his body
and wreaks havoc in the real world...
live action and stop-motion animation, Monkeybone could
be described as Roger Rabbit meets Beetlejuice.
The bizarre characters who inhabit Downtown also bring to
mind The Nightmare Before Christmas. These Tim Burton
connections are scarcely surprising, since this movie is written
by Sam (Batman) Hamm and directed by Henry Selick,
the man behind The Nightmare Before Christmas (which,
contrary to a common misconception, was produced - but not
directed - by Tim Burton).
are some seriously disturbed images in this film, which depicts
an appropriately nightmarish realm within the limits of the
12 certificate. Some of the material, however, including the
gruesome fate of a deceased but reanimated organ donor's kidney,
actually seems a little too distasteful for the 12 rating,
but then I'm not a member of the BBFC, so what do I know?
It's also a pity that we don't spend as much time in the intriguing
and amusing Downtown during the second half of the movie.
when you consider the believable reactions he provided when
performing alongside CGI monsters in the two recent Mummy
movies, Brendan Fraser is not terribly good at reacting to
the stop-motion Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro). However,
Fraser does turn in an enjoyable dual role as both the normal
Stu and the Monkeybone-possessed version.
a leaf from the book of the DVD medium, the film is followed
by several deleted or extended scenes, which do make certain
aspects of the plot somewhat clearer. We discover, for example,
the origin of Stu's "back in the pack" catch phrase, and also
learn just how the grim reaper ends up with a juice stain
on his uniform. And, yes, for those of you who recall the
movie's trailer (sadly not included on this tape), it is
a falling drainpipe that ultimately results in Stu's coma.
There is also copious comparison footage showing the various
elements that comprise the movie's impressive special effects.
is certainly inventive and zany, but not quite as funny as
it thinks it is.
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