Monkeybone (2001) Poster

(2001)

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7/10
Deserved to do better
Spleen25 October 2001
Henry Selick's first feature, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", was a modern classic. His next, "James and the Giant Peach", had most of the things that made "Nightmare" great - heavily diluted. One thing that weakened Selick's second movie was his decision to begin and end with live action footage, when the glory of both "Nightmare" and "Peach" lay in skilful, sharp, gorgeous stop-motion animation.

In "Monkeybone" Selick has watered the original batch of Nightmare juice still more (note to Selick: it's time to stop mining this lode - if you make a fourth feature, get a new look), with at least half of the footage lacking the visual trademarks that were probably the reason for making the film in the first place. There WAS some stop-motion footage thrown in, probably it's for old time's sake.

Still, this is a better, more memorable movie than Selick's last one, and certainly not nearly as bad as the miserable box-office returns and scathing reviews would lead you to believe. Yes, the film has its flaws, but if you were to judge from its reception you'd think it didn't have ANY virtues - which simply isn't true. There's Brendan Fraser, for a start. How can you not like Stu Miley, or the way Fraser plays him? (If you want to see Fraser's charm wasted, see "Bedazzled".) At one point Stu is forced to temporarily occupy another body (Chris Kattan), and we instantly transfer our affections to the new actor without giving the matter a second thought - which is more remarkable than it sounds, and shows that Fraser really had been WORKING to get us to like Stu.

Then there's Downtown, which you must admit, looks good. It's more of a visual hodgepodge than Selick's previous two worlds (the first of which owes its look largely to Tim Burton), partly because it was realised through an ill-chosen mixture of costume, CGI, stop-motion and set design ... our eyes must constantly adjust, yet the overall look is strong enough to make it worth the effort.

As for the film's flaws, well, they've been greatly exaggerated. I suppose there were (as several American critics complained) some bodily-function-based jokes, but I can't recall that many - certainly not as many or as witless as in "Shrek", and besides, at least some of the jokes in "Monkeybone" are actually funny. That's because they're character-based, and not solely reliant on the alleged shock value of someone suddenly farting or burping.

All that's really wrong with "Monkeybone" is that it lacks the brilliance a premise this bizarre demands. Yeah, well, big deal. So unlike Selick's first feature it's not a masterpiece. It's still an entertaining, competently made film with a good, solid story, more than inventive enough to justify having been made.
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Bizarre, if slightly flawed, fun
zmaturin23 March 2001
I don't know how, but somehow Henry Selick got his hands on millions of dollars to make a movie that's going to appeal to only a small handful of odd movie goers. Monkeybone is a visually delightful, darkly humorous, and totally refreshing fantasy flick full of great special effects, likable characters, and a style that mixes everything from "Brazil" and "Cool World" to "Hellraiser" and "Eraserhead". It reminded me of "Dark City", "Freaked", "Forbidden Zone" and the work of Sid and Marty Krofft, but at the same time completely fresh and original.

"Monkeybone" does suffer from some flaws, but they seem like the manipulations of some behind-the-scenes tinkering to make the movie more "normal". The most visible scars occur when our hero Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser, who is quickly becoming a great comedic actor) first arrives in Monkeybone's nightmare land. These early scenes in the fantasy world seem rushed and poorly plotted. I hope there's a special edition DVD or something to see more stuff.

But the stuff that was left in is great. I couldn't believe what I was seeing sometimes- Stu's black and white surgery nightmare was one of the creepiest things I've seen on the big screen, and Bob Odenkirk appears as a organ-hungry doctor in scenes that seem to be taken right out of his HBO series "Mr. Show". Chris Kattan is outstanding, providing some hilarious, "Re-Animator"-style hi-jinx as "Organ Doner Stu", Dave Foley is also funny as Stu's manager, and Whoopie Goldberg is really good as Death, whose head explodes when she gets mad.

But the real stars here are the fantasy characters who inhabit the nightmare town. Like in "The Nightmare Before Christmas", the background characters are just as cool-looking and diverse as the leads. It's a shame that more time isn't spent dwelling in this world or in Death's land, and that most of the movie takes place in the "real" world.

Anyway, see this movie while you can- it'll probably be out of theaters by the time I finish writing thi- too late.
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6/10
Very surreal at times...and not nearly as bad as the critics said
Vigilante-4078 July 2001
Let's face it...Monkeybone is definitely not the greatest movie ever made, but it has it's points.

Stu's visit to "Downtown" while in his coma has some truly startling special effects and puppetry...there are many images and icons from popular culture that are transposed here with great comedic and nightmarish effect. The sequence in which Stu goes into the surrealist painting he himself made has an unsettling quality to it that I usually only feel with Dali or Bunuel.

Brendan Fraser is very adequate in this movie, and Chris Kattan's appearance was quite welcome, but Bridget Fonda's prodigious acting talents are wasted here.
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9/10
A Beautiful Nightmare
EmperorNortonII14 October 2001
"Monkeybone" is one of the most visually stimulating movies I've seen in quite a while! Its run in theaters was too brief, which doesn't do a movie like this justice. The imagery was surreal and disturbing, in a nice sort of way. It was interesting to see the strange denizens of Downtown, the mythological characters, the dead celebrities and so many others. The animated Monkeybone keeps the action and the comedy at a fever pitch. It all may have been too much for the average moviegoer. But I say this weird kaleidoscope is worth a look. You won't believe your eyes!
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10/10
Original,fascinating ,daring comedy.
davidwitkovic14 April 2002
I have recently viewed Monkeybone on VHS and DVD. I was happy to see Hollywood take artistic chances in a big budget film. Henry Selick is to be congratulated on getting most of his vision on screen. The DVD showed what it could have been if fully realised. The cast was excellent with two bravura performances by Brendan Fraser and Chris Kattan.They cemented the film into a wonderfully dark comic piece.This is a difficult balance to develop and maintain. The TOWNTOWN sets were very suggestive and multilayered as our subconscience is as well.More would have been even better. This reminded me of the Salvador Dali sets created for Alfred Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND. There,too, the producer,David O.Selznick, got cold feet in not using all the sets which would have made the film a landmark piece.Again,afraid what audiences will accept.Please continue in breaking new ground. Thank you.
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9/10
A dark, but very funny film, from the director of "Nightmare Before Christmas."
Doug Phillips23 February 2001
Starting and ending with cartoons about the titular character 'Monkey Bone' this is a hilarious and visually stunning film.

It is NOT a film for children – so don't let the television adverts fool you into thinking that it is a delightful animated romp in the park for kids. The first cartoon sequence explains – in graphic detail – how the character of 'Monkey Bone' got his name; and it is not something that can be repeated in this forum.

Unfortunately, when I went to the matinée the audience was primarily children.

When Stu Miley (S Miley – get it?) is tricked into staying in the 'Downunder' (the place where people in a coma go to) to provide nightmares for the denizens of 'Downunder' the film becomes much too frightening for children; but more visually elaborate and stimulating for adults.

The sound track starts out strong and only gets better.

Brendan Fraser is wonderful as Stu the comic book author who has a very dark side to him. Bridget Fonda is underutilized as Dr Julie McElroy the sweet and good-natured girlfriend of Stu. Megan Mullally as Kimmy, Stu's sister who wants to pull the plug on Stu (though it is never real clear why) essentially reprises her role as 'Karen' from the television show 'Will and Grace' – but she is always a delight to watch.

Rose McGowan ('Scream') is a visual treat as Kitty – the lone citizen of 'Downunder' that is willing to assist Stu in returning to the real world. Whoopi Goldberg is fabulous as Death – just the right amount of sly wickedness that you would expect of an embodied death.

But Chris Kattan does a real star turn as the Organ Doner – his physical comedy and outrageous antics as a recently deceased gymnast are truly riotous and quite different from the characters he has played in past films or currently plays on Saturday Night Live – it is worth seeing this film just for his performance.

The plot is actually fairly complicated and the graphics and visual style are brilliant and mind-blowing; but again, this is not a film for children. However, most adults that can see the possibility of the humour that might actually lie in death will certainly get a kick out of it.
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7/10
Cool World with soul
An endearing young nebbish named Stu (Brendan Fraser) is a cartoonist whose main creation is the personification (or, if you will, the simianization) of his libido. The ornery Monkeybone represents all of Stu's repressed feelings, you see. This is not uncommon among cartoonists or comic-book artists (or, for that matter, any artist); the product on the page is often the result of the demons within the artist's tortured soul. Anyway, Stu has a lovely girlfriend named Julie (Bridget Fonda), who just happens to be a doctor. Monkeybone's about to hit big, and Stu's friend/agent (David Foley) is trying his damnedest to merchandise the hell out of the uncontrollable penis with legs. (There's a not-so-subtle symbolism at work here, of course; Stu represses his emotions, including all sexual feelings, and releases them only in the form of Monkeybone on the page.) The day that deals for the commercialization of Monkeybone (reluctantly by Stu, of course) are made, tragedy strikes. A freak car accident leaves Stu in a coma, although somehow his girlfriend escapes unharmed. So there he is, lying in a hospital bed. Trust me, folks, there's comedy afoot here. We're only now getting to it. While clinically dead, Stu finds himself in Hell. Everyone down there knows him, because he's suffered through nightmares for many, many years (and they've served to inspire him in his artistry, too). In 1991, there was a movie called Cool World that covered some of the same ground. In that film, cartoonist Gabriel Byrne ran into all of his old creations - in this one, Stu finds that the denizens down there have been audience to his nightmares since they began, and they've been counting on him to churn out more. Keeps 'em alive, apparently. Oh, but just to complicate things, Julie the doc has found out what causes nightmares. Actually, I guess that actually makes things nice and simple, not more complex. What's worse, down in Hell (actually, an offshoot of Hell called "Downtown"), Monkeybone is quite the center of attention, and even has a standup act that humiliates the reserved and introverted Stu. The movie really consists of two main parts: Stu down in Hell (although not quite dead yet in real life), trying to find a way back up; and Stu back on terra firma, trying to Save The Day. What connects the two parts is that the nefarious Monkeybone, who's ostensibly been helping Stu to get an "exit pass" has actually schemed to return to the land of the living himself - in Stu's body. So that's where the hijinks really begin; at least, that was the plan. Once Monkeybone gets back up there, things seem to fall into a familiar plotline, which is a shame. There are many scenes down in the underworld that are positively funny, including Whoopi Goldberg as the Lord of the Dead. Oh, and some good bits with Grim Reaper recruits. And the sets! VERY good, fascinating stuff. If you're a fan of scenes, how things look - set design, set decoration, the whole bit - then this movie has oodles of eye candy. It's very well designed. And here's a bit of praise for someone I thought I'd never give it to: Chris Kattan. See, after Monkeybone returns to Earth in Stu's body, Stu has to find a way back up there himself. He's sent back in the body of a gymnast who was just killed in a car wreck (broken neck). The scenes of Stu waking up on the dissection table then being pursued by a mob of angry pathology doctors anxious to get his organs (which, of course, were supposed to be donated) are priceless, as is the bit of how Stu quickly copes with his broken-neck problem. There's a lot to look at here, and although the characters themselves are rather cardboard (and Fraser himself, while amiable, might be a little miscast), I think this was an overlooked movie. It has everything Cool World had back in 1991, except it also has (pardon the pun) a soul. This one made you like Stu and root for him, which is (of course) essential to any silly comedy. This one's just a silly comedy with some bite to it.
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7/10
Provides enough positives to outweigh the negatives; worth a watch to experience the dazzling images-but I would not see it again for free. *** (out of four)
Movie-123 March 2001
MONKEYBONE / (2001) *** (out of four)

By Blake French:

"Monkeybone" takes us on an energetic and lively roller-coaster ride through the bizarre mind of a troubled cartoonist trapped inside a nightmare of his vary own imagination. The film is somewhat bad in its storytelling ability, but the filmmaking and creative juices save this otherwise preposterous picture. Henry Selick, the genius behind similar movies like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach," once again uses a variety of eye-popping, indulgent gimmickry to provide a delight for the senses. Model puppets, elaborate set designs, computer animation, stop-action photography, claymation, convincing and complex makeup, far out costumes and even some nifty voice effects preside the entertainment of "Monkey Bone." Selick creates a world so full of energy and inventive characters that it justifies the movie's existence.

Brendan Fraser makes another fool of himself as Stu Miley, a modest cartoonist who finally achieves success and does not know what to do with it. His long time girlfriend, Julie (Bridget Fonda), comforts, loves him and is ecstatic when Stu's cartoon primate creation, Monkeybone, a wisecracking and obscene libido portraiture, becomes a national television show. His manager wants to market the franchise big time, but Stu wants his simple life to stay simple with one major change: he wants to marry Julie.

Before he has a chance to propose, a car accident leaves Stu in a coma and his spirit plunged into a weird, subconscious world called Downtown, a waiting place while a person is between life and death. The carnival-like realm inhabits a variety of unusual characters, like Kitty (Rose McGowan from "Jawbreaker") an attractive waitress dressed in a feline furnish, Hypnos (Giancarlo Esposito) the half-man, half-goat ruler of Downtown, Death (Whoopi Goldberg) the cynical head honcho who determines the visitor's fate, and even the concoction of his own imagination-the aggravating nuisance himself: Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro).

Back on planet earth, Julie struggles to keep Stu's fanatic sister (Megan Mullally) from pulling his plug. Stu conceives a plan to escape Downtown by stealing an exit pass from none other than Death herself. He tries, gets the pass, but Monkeybone betrays his crafty creator and takes it for himself. Now inhabiting the body of Stu, Monkeybone is free to wreak havoc on Stu's lifestyle. While Stu himself possesses the body of a dead gymnast (Chris Kattan from "House on Haunted Hill") to save what is left of his relationship with Julie.

The scenes depicting Stu's nightmare reality are absolutely extraordinary. The artful sets, special effects, costumes, animation, and makeup are some of the most intricate and tasty examples of effective eye-candy. It's like we've entered an imaginative dreamscape of zany and entertaining characters. Everyone involved feels alive and inexhaustible, especially Brendan Fraser in a very effective performance. Monkeybone himself is quite annoying-but in a fun kind of way. The involving and fresh atmosphere make this world a memorable movie experience.

There are several hilarious sequences, one involving a dog's nightmare where several of his feline nemeses secure him and prepare to detach his manhood, and another when a walking organ donor loses his guts during a fight sequence. By now you are probably realizing, despite the cartoon qualities, this movie is not intended for small children. "Monkeybone" contains all sorts of sexual innuendoes, horrific concepts, and suggestive situations. During the screening I attended, a woman instructed her three young children to leave the theater. However, the movie is clearly too goofy and comical for serious, mature audiences-so what is the target audience?

"Monkeybone" provides enough positives to outweigh the negatives. The production is worth a watch to experience some of the dazzling images-but I would not see it again for free.
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5/10
Could this movie get any stranger?
La Gremlin28 July 2001
Well, sadly, yes.

I had really high hopes for this one. I liked it, don't get me wrong. I just wish they'd pushed a lot farther with it. I was expecting something truly trippy and messed up with frightening and bizarre images. What I got was more like a frat party attended by the minor characters in "the Never-ending Story".

Come to think of it, that's one heck of an idea for a movie. I thought of it first, so hands off!

If you've already seen "Nightmare Before Christmas" and the highly underrated "James and the Giant Peach", you won't miss anything much by skipping "Monkeybone". If you haven't seen either of those two movies yet, well, check them out ASAP!
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1/10
For Lots of Laughs (Go Somewhere Else)
jhclues18 July 2001
The Fantasy genre is pretty much wide open, which allows a filmmaker to take an audience where he will, without the constraint of parameters of realism or any significant frames of reference. It's a kind of create-as-you-go market, and it's hard to go wrong, especially with the special effects and technology available today. Mixing fantasy and comedy, however, is a whole different thing, and even in the abstract it is bound to wind up in a very subjective arena, and to be successful it must be created and presented with great care, vision and an innate sense of what works by the filmmaker. `Monkeybone,' directed by Henry Selick and written by Sam Hamm is-- well-- none of those things, which is unfortunate for everyone involved with the project, but mostly for the unsuspecting audience upon which it is sprung.

The movie begins with a short `Monkeybone' cartoon, a pilot created from a popular comic strip written by Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser), which has just been picked up by Comedy Central and contracted for a number of episodes. The cartoon depicts the origins of Monkeybone himself, and the appeal is purely infantile (and that's being kind). After the premiere of this animated masterpiece, Stu attends the promo party with his girlfriend, Dr. Julie McElroy (Bridget Fonda), who is indirectly responsible for the existence of Monkeybone in the first place. Stu had suffered from a sleep disorder due to nightmares since he could remember, and it was Dr. Julie who turned his life around, treating him at the sleep clinic into which he checked himself when he finally couldn't take it anymore. At that point in his life, Stu's cartoons ranged from the gruesome to the downright disturbed-- all extensions of his nightmares; then Julie suggested drawing with his left hand instead of his right, and the result was the emergence of Monkeybone, who apparently is supposed to be the flip side of his nightmares. Which may be true for Stu, but not necessarily for the audience.

Monkeybone himself (with voice provided by John Turturro sounding like he's been inhaling helium), is-- far from being funny, cute or endearing in any way, shape or form-- an annoying little spud who grates on the senses from the moment he appears on screen, which beyond the opening cartoon, begins with Stu's descent into `Down Town,' the land of nightmares residing within his own mind into which he slips when a freak accident puts him in a coma. It's a freakish place, a kind of demented `Toon Town,' populated by (besides the ever-present and irritating Monkeybone) such illustrious nightmare mongers as Edgar Allan Poe, Jack the Ripper, Lizzy Borden, Attila the Hun and Stephen King (yes, the real King, in a cameo appearance). The crux of Stu's problem is that he has to get his hands on an `Exit Pass,' in order to defy Death (Whoopi Goldberg), and make his escape back into the land of the living.

Brendan Fraser has to be given credit for not being afraid to take on challenging (some would say questionable) roles; from the comic antics of `George of the Jungle,' to the comedy/drama of `With Honors,' to the action-packed `Mummy' films that have been so successful. Overall, he's made a career out of taking chances and ferreting out parts that have quite effectively showcased his versatility and talent as an actor. And it's easy to understand why this vehicle would've appealed to him. On paper, at least, it probably looked like it would work; and Stu, as written, probably seemed like a character that would give him another opportunity to spread his wings and show some range. Unfortunately, it's a long, long journey from script to screen, as they say. And even an Oscar worthy performance in this case (and it wasn't) couldn't have saved the day. The best that can be said is that Fraser did as well as anyone could have with the material he was given.

As for Bridget Fonda, one has to ask how an actor of her caliber gets caught up in such a thankless, generic role as this, which served the story as little more than fancy window dressing. Fonda is simply too good and too deserving of better than to wind up in a part as forgettable as this. But then again, it may have looked good on paper. We'll call it that.

The supporting cast includes Chris Kattan (Organ Donor Stu), Giancarlo Esposito (Hypnos), Rose McGowan (Kitty), Dave Foley (Herb), Megan Mullally (Kimmy) and Lisa Zane (Medusa). Sometimes it's fun to just relax and watch a movie that doesn't require much effort or thought and just lets you roll with the flow, but `Monkeybone' isn't one of them. This is the one that never should have made it past the first draft of the screenplay, and Fraser and Fonda should invest in some white-out to try and expunge this from their respective filmographies. There's magic in the movies, but not when the wires are exposed and you can see the trap door in the stage. So file this one under `Sorry-- but try again,' and we can all move on to bigger, better and happier times. I rate this one 1/10.
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4/10
Goofy, only mildly funny unique movie...
dwpollar4 June 2005
Monkeybone(2001) 4 out of 10, 1st watched 6/4/05 Dir-Henry Selick:

Goofy, only mildly funny unique movie about a cartoonist who goes into a comma and comes back as his cartoon character(his alter ego), monkeybone, with disastrous results. This is a kind of like two movies in one. You have, Downtown, the pre-death nightmare land filled with goofy creatures coming out of his dreams, and then the live-action world of real life that he first comes into as Monkeybone in his own body and then later as himself in a practically dead corpse of a prior gymnast's body played by Chris Katten. The funniest parts are with Kattan's character in which he's perfectly cast for this role with his physical humor perfected on Saturday Night Live, but he's just a small portion of the movie. The rest of it kind of labors under it's own goofiness and what we have is kind of a timburtonesque, rogerrabbitesque, nothingness. Bridget Fonda is cute as ever and Brendan Fraser is Brendan Fraser, but nobody really has enough to carry this movie into something worthwhile. Nice try, but a lot of money spent without a whole lot of satisfaction back to the viewer.
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This TICKLED my MONKEYBONE.
DJAkin13 January 2002
I loved this movie! Than again, ANY movie with BF is good. This is a great movie with a DARK OVERTONE. It was very much like BEETLEJUICE in terms of it's daring plot. I love the scenes where that one corpse is throwing body parts. It was a good movie and great for a Friday night if you have no other plans. I suggest you see MONKEY BONE!
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1/10
I hated this
saint4052 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Monkeybone is a stupid wacky comedy twist love story with a cartoonist who is put into a coma and his creation of a cartoon monkey possess his body and plans to drug the world of nightmares for ghouls in mystical lands to enjoy for all eternity. Now this comedy is flat out lame, nothing cool here. Brendan Fraiser as cartoonist Stu Miley was embarrassing and Cris Katan as the possessed corpse was low. The monkey looks like clay, clay animation, but he's nothing but a perverted primate. The mystical creatures look like rubber costumes with people underneath them. The love interest is a whine bag and the sister of Stu was a total jerk wanting to kill her brother in a coma. Whoopi Goldberg is mildly amusing as Death but she gets boring along with her pet pug. The only funny cast member is the guy playing Stephen King, he got a laugh out of me. Yes that's only one laugh out of the whole film! Now the story is stupid and cheesy. The special affects are horrible, not even good enough for the Sci Fi channel. No good jokes except for a few good one liners. "We don't want to hurt you we just want your organs!" Now skip this film, it's an order! Stupid film, bad cast, horrid affects, lame acting, and what the heck was with the directing? Monkeybone gets the 1 out of 10, lame-o. Skip this one at command, it reeks. You won't regret it for sure.
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1/10
Not worth the money (and I saw it for free)
weymo17 September 2001
An unfortunate blend of "Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Cool World," this film seems to have been invented from the cutting room floor. The plot is ill-conceived and fully un-funny. Brendan Fraser (and I like him typically) is hopelessly miscast and direction-free. Poor beautiful Bridget Fonda will hope this movie is quietly forgotten. And Whoopi should know better by now. There is no redeeming performance in this movie. It is an utter waste of celluloid not fit for kid or adult. I don't know who the target audience was supposed to be. It isn't tame enough for children's fare, mod enough for teen fare, or clever enough for adults. Skip it.
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1/10
What a waste of time.
lori-112 May 2001
I expected more from Henry Selick since I rented " The Nightmare Before Christmas" and loved it. But Monkebone was dumb and not very funny. The film focuses on dreams and the afterlife a subject I prefer not to see in a comedy or even a film like this. The film also moved slower than a snail and was too long for my tastes. Plus the sexual comments made by Monkeybone were offensive and crude. So if you have time to kill and need to sleep for a little while go see Monkeybone and take a nap.
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1/10
Insulting and unfunny
oecobius26 December 2012
Even if you watch this flick in hope of a creative visual style alone, it's one ugly film. The color scheme of both reality and fantasy worlds in the film is full of bright, obnoxious, oversaturated colors. (The film even teases viewers with a minute or two of merciful black-and- white scenes.) You could count the legitimately creative character/background designs on one hand; most of the "surreal" scenes in the movie revolve around shuffling actors in lame, embarrassing costumes. This complements the complete lack of subtlety in the film's concepts and humor in general; the film relies heavily on its "jokes" but none of them provoked even the tiniest smirk in my audience. Apparently the filmmakers decided they needed to hit their viewers over the head with even the most elementary-school-level butt jokes.

The stop-motion animation is competent, but the direction of the human actors is constantly stilted and flat. I guess it's intended to be "cartoonish" but instead it comes across as amateurish and pandering, as if Selick and co. assumed audiences wouldn't recognize comedy unless everyone in the movie acted like spastic, one-dimensional clowns. There is no attempt to make any character relatable or likable; even the "mild-mannered nice guy" protagonist is a wormy, self-pitying loser from the get-go.

Lastly, the film is painfully sexist as well, with constant portrayal of woman as sex objects in a pathetic effort to add some adult appeal. Again, the film can't attract viewers with anything clever, original or meaningful but instead uses the most pandering and insulting methods possible. Only watch this mess if you're terribly easily-amused or possibly if you haven't aged 15 yet.
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1/10
Straight from the world of nightmares
popcorninhell25 October 2011
Their are many reasons for a movie to be in the running for worst film ever made. Movies like "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "The Beast From Yucca Flats" are often mentioned because of their overall low quality. Once I sat down and watch them however, I either saw them as unintentionally funny, surprisingly earnest or otherwise undeserving of such an abysmal reputation. Monkeybone on the other-hand remains one of only a handful of movies that has left me simultaneously awestruck and angry; stupefied and seething. A cringe and groan inducing mess that is certainly my official pick for worst movie ever made.

Brendan Fraser stars as a successful cartoonist who falls into a coma after an accident, the details of which are too stupid to mention, and ends up in a parallel universe inside his mind where he meets his creation Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro). Monkeybone, a lascivious little monkey with a penchant for chaos takes over his body and wreaks havoc on his relationship with his girlfriend/psychiatrist. Fraser (still in his own head we think), makes a plea to Death, played by Whoopi Goldberg and is loaned a body to win back his girl before Monkeybone gets his dirty ape hands on her.

Co-stars Bridget Fonda, Megan Mullally, Dave Foley, Rose McGowan and Chris Kattan round-up an unremarkable list of "talent" that were hired to stand behind stop-motion models and in front of rejected Beetlejuice sets. The dark atmosphere of the movie struggles to integrate its scatological humor, most of which is provided by an obnoxious cartoon monkey. Its obvious the film was edited into oblivion in post-production which would account for the lion's share of the plot holes but my question is to what end? Sure it made the movie shorter (thank god!) but the plot still took two acts to actually get moving. Once it did it sprightly rushed into the last 15 minutes like a morbid Tom and Jerry cartoon.

What was the prime demographic for this movie? I think the David Lynch crowd is a bit beyond poop jokes at this point and its far too dark for children. Arguably the saddest thing about this film however is the lost potential in director Henry Selick, whose previous work includes "Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach." While Selick has since redeemed himself with 2009's "Coraline," "Monkeybone" presents the director at his nadir.

Monkeybone truly bats and misses on all points. Its An ugly looking hatchback with no engine, a busy yet boring quagmire. At its very best its a slap-dashed movie that is literally all dressed up with no where to go. It showcases bad direction, bad acting, bad editing, bad cinematography, bad script, bad story. I honestly would be ashamed to be this film's boom mic operator (which is visible in one scene). The failure of this film is actually quite spectacular when you think about it. Watch it if you're masochistic, otherwise stay far away from Monkeybone!

http://theyservepopcorninhell.blogspot.com/
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3/10
Am I in terrible land, or what?
OriginalMovieBuff2117 October 2004
Monkeybone got me really furious on the director of how he could make a film like this one. Brendan Fraser needs to start making more better films and funnier ones like he did in Bedazzled. The story couldn't have gone any worse and the acting couldn't have been any dull and it is worse than the story. Out of those negatives that I have given you, there are a few positives. One is that the animation was crisp and had barely any flaws in that and the other is that some scenes were funny like when Brendan Fraser is making out with that girl on the bed and others but that was it. Don't really see this movie because it will kind of ruin you day and waste your time

Hedeen's outlook: 3/10 No Stars F
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Visually stunning, creative, bizarre, effects-heavy.....but as a comedy.......
willywants16 September 2004
Life couldn't be better for cartoonist Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser). He has created a hit comic strip featuring Monkeybone, a petulant rascal with a penchant for wise cracks and racy antics. Stu, happy and in love with his beautiful girlfriend Julie (Bridget Fonda) is on the verge of big success, as his comic strip is about to become a national television show. But on the night Stu is to propose to Julie, he is struck down in a freak accident. While Stu's body lies comatose - and Julie maintains a constant bedside vigil - his conscious spirit is transported to Downtown, a purgatory-like limbo existing between life and death. Downtown has a carnival landscape populated by mythical gods and creatures who revel in the nightmares of the living. Upon his arrival, Stu learns his ominous fate: There's no turning back. And just as things seem like they couldn't get any worse, Stu's alter ego, Monkeybone, springs to life to stir up some trouble. Now, Stu must outwit Death (Whoopi Goldberg) in order to return to the world of the living before the doctors pull the plug on Stu's body. But Monkeybone has hatched his own plot that could thwart Stu's plans...

"Monkeybone" is a very strange, bizarre film. As a comedy, it only works to a certain extent--there are a couple of laughs, but that's it, really. However, as an effect-laden film, it works beautifully. The special effects are amazing--The surreal images, the stop-motion animation, the various creatures featured in downtown,and the production design are all simply incredible, creative, different.... The film is mostly a showcase for these effects, and they definitely made it a more enjoyable experience.

Director Henry Selick has several other bizarre flick on him resume as well, including the excellent "Nightmare before Christmas" and "james and the giant peach". Selick clearly doesn't make people flicks--this is especially obvious by the awkwardness of the scenes featuring actors and large amounts of dialouge. Both "Nightmare" and "Giant peach" shows that given a screenplay that requires lots of effects and creativity, he can work wonders. With a film that tries to be funny, though.....

6/10.
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1/10
Banal "wallpaper" comedy
wiztwas13 January 2002
If your idea of a good night is to watch sport on TV, get drunk and then watch a movie and you don't know what banal means then this film may be good for you.

For the rest of us, it is a dreary recipe of formulaic comedy aimed at appealing to the masses. There are too many films like this, dumbed down to appeal to everyone, inoffensive and unstimulating.

The plot is predictable as are the jokes, there is nothing new, the good guy wins and there is a happy ending, a load of "hilariously funny" sketches fill in the gaps.

The film had potential to explore the dark side of the plot but, they just kept it up beat and bouncy all the way to the end. As a result it failed to engage me at any time at any level.
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5/10
Lynchian styling met with dumbed down stuff
MisterWhiplash24 February 2001
Much of Monkey Bone doesn't seem like it's for kids. While it does have Brendan Fraser and Chris Kattan, in the down town land, there are creatures and vibes that speak of Eraserhead, which is cool considering Eraserhead to be one of the most (if not most) disturbing films ever. However, the film is met with some dumb plot points and characters, and even if some segments were funny (Kattan himself is hilarious), it doesn't get right and is at points dead in the water. Visually, a creepy treat, yet overall, it's a near miss. Factoid- the voice of Monekybone is John Tuturro of the Coen Bros. movies. C+
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4/10
This movie was directed by an idiot. (oops meant Monkey)
Lee Bartholomew11 October 2001
SPOLIERS??)

I really mean this. Also if your reviewing this movie gave a great review, then your kinda slanted.

I loved the movie after watching the deleted scenes. My thought was that this movie was too short. It didn't have to be. The editing on this movie was so horrible, that they decided to include the deleted scene's on the dvd. Basically the dvd show how much more obvious an idiot the director was. Deleting scene's that were necessary to the story so we could understand what's going on. I only feel he was rushed. Because he really couldn't come up as to why they were deleted. We can't say he was short on cash either. The scene's were shot. And what up with the censored blurs on the deleted scene's? He doesn't explain that either. If this movie had come out in it's entirety, I'd give it a 7. But as it stands with those scene's taken out. It's at a measly 4/10. All I can say to the director is "Stand up and take a flipping chance man!!!!"

4/10 Quality: 1/10 (bad editing) Entertainment: 8/10 (with the deleted scene's) Replayable: 9/10 (DVD only) 2/10 (VHS)
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3/10
Henry Selick You Idiot!
bbSouthstreet18 July 2001
OK, when I first heard about this film being directed by Henry Selick, the director of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas I was hyped up. The story sounded original, the animation was creative but when I saw the movie it was a bomber. This movie was supposed be dark and artsy since it was directed by the man who brought us Nightmare but instead it turned out to be a stupid teen comedy movie. Where does Henry Selick get the gall to use the amazing artistics used in the Nightmare Before Christmas to make an unintelligent movie of pure dribble like this? It's inhuman I tell you and I'm sure I'm not alone here. People, please save your money for something useful like a book or a better movie.
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1/10
The subtitles where the best.
JoostB22 May 2001
This movie lacked everything. A real poor script, a guy who gets in a coma. A monkey takes his body and screws around. And in a true Hollywood tradition the guy gets its body back to mary and live happily ever after.

YUCK. I wished it was worse so it could become cult. But it wasn't. :(

The only positive thing about it where some special effects. But even thís wasn't great. For instance most of the laughs in the full theater were the laughs from the special effect tapes.

It simply is a poor, poor, poor movie. Sorry crew better luck next time.
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1/10
Horrible... Disgracefully bad. A waste of brilliant actors and my time!
bopdog23 February 2001
I was so excited to see this movie. And I was sooooo disappointed! It stank. It was mean spirited, ugly, poorly written,... oh why bother to go on? Suffice it to say that I am outraged and really angry at how genuinely crappy this movie is. I LOVE the actors in it... Brendan Fraser and Bridget Fonda have been in some wonderful stuff. I treasure even their light hearted fare, such as Fraser's "George of the Jungle" or "Blast From the Past." Fonda is always good too. I enjoyed her in "Camilla" (Jessica Tandy's last movie), and even in the cumbersome "Little Buddha" (however you spell it). But this clunker stunk! Shame on the whomevers who wrote it or directed it or edited it-- someone owes me $8 and two hours of my life back. I gave this a 1 out of 10, because IMdb doesn't allow voting with negative numbers.
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