Customer Reviews: Monkeybone [Blu-ray]
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on July 13, 2001
"Monkeybone" is the type of experimental, twisted movie that is destined to become a cult classic. Mixing shades of Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice" with an enormous variety of influences such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "All of Me," "Alice in Wonderland," and even "Regarding Henry," this movie is a stop-motion cartoon, a live-action love story, a dark comedy, a fantasy, a Freudian nightmare, and more. It contains an extremely diverse and unusual cast, including Brendan Fraser as a cartoonist in a coma, Bridget Fonda as his fiancee, Whoopi Goldberg as Death (yes, you read that right), Chris Kattan as the decomposing corpse of a gymnast, Megan Mullally as the cartoonist's sister who is very eager to pull the plug, Dave Foley as the cartoonist's manager, and Rose McGowan as a kitty cat (yes, once again, you read that right)! It also contains bizzare, strange, and cool animation by director Henry Selick, who also directed Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas."
Ostensibly, "Monkeybone" is the story about an artist's struggle between artistic integrity and cartoonish commercialism, about the difference between a work of art and a mere doodle, a satire about the consequences of "selling out." It is also a Freudian fairy tale about a man whose sexual id is represented by a cartoon monkey. Monkeybone is literally this man's erection. The story is an examination of what happens when one lets one's id take over his whole life. It is a psychological analysis of what nightmares are made of. It is a surrealistic comedy containing some of the most startling, visually stunning images you are likely to see on film for a long time, including strange representations of many classical, mythological creatures. It is a love story. While this might sound like the premise of an independant film, this is actually a big budget film that was marketed to look like a children's movie. Not a good idea.
It's no wonder this movie did so poorly at the box office. Believe it or not, this film is the type that should have been playing at small art houses, not mainstream movie theatres. Even the cover box says it's the crudest movie since "South Park." In short, the studio didn't know how to market its own movie.
This movie is an extremely likable one, hilariously funny at times, always seriously bizarre, and obviously the work of a demented genius. It is hard to deny the brilliant artistry involved, and the all-around great acting by the cast. In fact, I respect every actor in this film immensely, especially the big budget ones such as Whoopi Goldberg and Brendan Fraser. This is the type of weird movie they didn't have to do, but chose to do. It is a project they wanted to be involved in, and I respect them for that.
Typically, most of the reviewers, mostly in the middle of the country, panned this film. However, many major newspapers and publications, such as "The New York Times," and "Entertainment Weekly" gave it great reviews, despite its messy nature.
And this is one of the few movies in recent history in which its mess actually adds to its likability. A more polished version of this film would be not be half as enjoyable, brilliant, crazy, or maddening as this truly original, insane piece of filmmaking. As it is now, the viewer constantly wonders what strange happening will occur next, and, trust me, it is always stranger than you thought it would be.
I would not recommend this film to everyone. I would probably recommend it mostly to serious movie buffs or lovers of very original, non-mainstream film, who enjoy Tim Burton/Sam Raimiesque humor in their cinema. If you're in the most for something completely and utterly different in every way, buy this movie.
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on June 26, 2001
I have to say I'm surprised and glad to see the praise this movie is getting. I thought I'd have to come in and defend it, but I see you all have some taste ;)
I talked to two people at work about this movie after I saw it. All three of us have different tastes and all three got something different out of it. I am the animation fanatic, and was interested in seeing another film by the director of Nightmare before Christmas. I enjoy Henry Selick's style and vision, and saw it come through quite well at moments in the film. It's funny that the things I did not like so much about the movie were what my co-workers (and some reviewers here) liked best. Bill is an SNL and comedy lover, and watched purely for that aspect. He thought the movie was hilarious but a little too weird. And my film snobby assistant was impressed with the insider jokes and references, half of which I didn't even catch.
This is why I give the film four stars. It is very good. We all liked it. But none of us loved it 100%. Of course, if we had had, one of us would give it five stars and the others would pan it completely. I guess that's the problem with trying to please everyone all the time. At least Monkeybone comes close, and I recommend it equally to animation, cult film, and comedy lovers.
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on September 10, 2001
This was a weird movie and very funny. At one point I fell off of the couch laughing and we had to stop the DVD! We were both laughing so hard we couldn't hear what was going on so we had to play it again. We are going to buy this one for sure!
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It is amazing to me that every time Brendan Fraser does an edgy, risky movie, like this one, his audience bottoms out. Yet when he does work that I find barely watchable, like the two "Mummy" movies, he is a huge hit. This film drew few viewers, just like his "Still Breathing," "Gods and Monsters," and "Twilight of the Golds." Here Fraser plays cartoonist Stu who via a coma is transported to Down Town. Other people in comas and people who are created by others' imaginations live in Down Town. They all crave nightmares and dreams. It is a hyper surreal place. Stu's creation, Monkeybone, lives there too and Monkeybone plots to take Stu's place in the real world.

Monkeybone does emerge in the real world in Stu's body and Fraser does a superb job playing a monkey in the body of a man. In fact, his character is the most fun when Monkeybone takes over. I've never seen before "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Kattan. He plays a gymnast with a broken neck whose body Stu inhabits while trying to get his own body back from Monkeybone. He turns in an amazing performance as well and I'd like to see him in more. I do not know the technicalities of animation film making. However, the combination of animation characters with real world actors, like Fraser, is done superbly and seamlessly here. In fact, it might ruin the film for me to know how it is done so I'm just as glad that I don't know.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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on July 10, 2001
I have found that the people that like this movie are usually the ones with a stroke of creativity in their blood...people that can actually relate to Stu. Being an illustrator myself I found a lot of truth behind this film about a man and his psychological baggage. The characters real and fictional are very well developed and the movie moves along at a pace that really kept me interested and involved. If you liked the movie, the DVD is well worth acquiring for all the special features. My favorite extra's were the extended scenes, explaining a lot of plot development in further detail. The animation is great, the story is great, the characters are great. I don't know what creative person can sit through this movie without wanting to buy their own Monkeybone doll. I researched and found a copy of Kaja Blackley's graphic novel "Dark Town" upon which the movie is based, and found it just as fascinating. Only problem now is dealing with the fact that only #1 out of a 12 volume series was published...and I'm left with only the movie in its completion!
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on August 24, 2008
By weird I do truly mean weird, in a way that you can't possibly see what was going through writer, Sam Hamms mind when devising this film. The story itself is weird enough but when focusing on the land of nightmares, known as Downtown, I found myself looking at something resembling the world of Jim Henson creations.

The story focuses around artist and animator Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser), a man who struggles with nightmare problems and has just achieved success with his greatest cartoon creation, Monkeybone. One day after a preview showing of a pilot episode, Stu and his girlfriend Julie (Bridget Fonda) are involved in a car accident that lands Stu in a coma.
Stu wakes up on a roller coaster that takes him downtown to the land of nightmares, where he meets creatures like you have never seen before. Along with the insane looking creatures, Stu comes face to face with his own creation Monkeybone who, after finding out Stu's sister decides to help Stu get an exit pass out of his coma. In order to get this pass he must steal it from under the nose of Death (Whoopi Goldberg). All doesn't go to plan and Stu is betrayed by Monkeybone and instead of Stu going back, Monkeybone takes his place in Stu's body in a deal with the dream god Hypnos (Giancarlo Esposito) to give more people nightmares. Now Stu is in a race to get out of dream world to save Julie and stop Monkeybone from giving people the nightmares that entertain downtown.

If you thought the story was bizarre then I have to say that it really is, at times I found myself just thinking that this movie must have been created by some form of crazy person. With that aside we are still given a very good comedy movie with some very great slapstick moments that personally had me roaring with laughter.
One of the funniest parts of the movie is when Monkeybone has taken over Stu's body and is in the bedroom with Julie about to make love. The classic mating dance is something to be experience and genuinely had me in tears. Sure, Brendan Fraser isn't known as the greatest actor in the world, but he's great in roles that just require a silly actor willing to do anything that will give the audience a laugh and that's what Fraser does.

A very enjoyable movie that isn't for everyone, but if you're a fan of Fraser's ridiculous comedy work then this is surely for you.
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on August 24, 2001
If only I had the power to film some additional footage and then re-release this, I think "Monkeybone" would be a much bigger hit, and people would love it a lot more. Sadly, I'm just some punk kid from Maryland, so that's not possible. Yet. The story is very fun, very weird, and more original than most junk that has been released in the past couple of years. Everybody else has already wrote about it, and you can read about the story in the description, so I won't bother. All of the actors fit their roles pretty well, and there isn't anybody who is really irritating. The special effects are great and incredibly atmospheric. I almost want to see a TV series about Downtown, just because it's such an amazing thing to see. The dialogue is usually well-fitting, and there are some really great jokes, as well as some really horrible ones, but there's a very decent balance. So, why give this only 3 stars? Because the beginning was rushed way too much. To begin with, they open it with a cartoon that is meant to be a mood-setter, to show you what the Monkeybone character is like and what the comedy style is like. The cartoon fails miserably. It's not funny at all, and it's just embarrassing to watch. After the cartoon, there are a few attempts to develop Stu, the main character, and his girlfriend. Then they just skip the plot/character development entirely, and send Stu to Downtown. This would be great if they bothered to explain Downtown first, but they didn't, and you sort of have to guess based on what the description of the movie is and a short song that some talking lampposts sing. With maybe twenty minutes of additional footage at the beginning to ease us into the story, this movie would have been gold. I've been told that the deleted scenes/extended scenes on the DVD help the beginning, but I haven't seen them yet, so I can't tell. It's a good movie, but don't give up after the first bit. Stick with it, and you'll be rewarded with a wonderful story about the dream world, and one of the best movie climaxes in history (It reminds me of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from "Ghostbusters").
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on August 14, 2012
this movie almost has everything- comedy, horror dream scapes, nightmares, fantasies, and for the weirdest part, i think it could be for the family to watch? strangely, im suprised its not a clive barker or stephen king film- its just so weird and awesome all at the same time :)
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on March 12, 2013
Purchased this movie for my teenage daughter. We had rented this movie years ago and she fell in love but it's now hard to find. It's an older movie and contains "sick" humor but I was grateful to find it on Amazon so she can share it with her friends whenever they are looking for a laugh. Very funny if you like disgusting, sick humor. This also contains a sexual overtone which is probably apparent to most from the name, however, was lost on me the first time I rented it. While parts of this movie are animated, it is NOT a kids movie; teenagers and up!
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on June 5, 2014
I thought this was a funny movie! Yes its dumb funny
- which is a notch up from being dumb and not funny
(which is how I view any film with Pauly Shore (lol).

Deserves a Bluray release including the Soundtrack
(an Anniversary Edition) and a plus Monkeybone
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