Scoob! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Tony Cervone
With releases being what they are and LIFE being what it is, I’ve certainly fallen into a bit of a funk lately which is perhaps the biggest reason I was really looking forward to this movie; something that I can put on my calendar and look forward to instead of just the endless pile of stuff that’s already here but I couldn’t muster up the energy to work on. Now Warner Bros’ recent output of the Hanna-Barbara licenses has certainly been interesting to see, particularly those comic books they released a few years back, and so bringing Scooby-Doo back to the big screen in the midst of all this… shall we say CREATIVITY, does have a certain amount of appeal. I don’t know how popular it is right now, but the Scooby franchise has proven to be remarkably resilient and is in constant flux with new and drastically different series coming out every few years, so perhaps with such a rock-solid property to work with, Warner Bros can do something truly unique! Is this the start of Scooby-Doo’s resurgence to the peak of popular culture, or will the concepts prove to outdated for modern audiences to latch onto outside of Saturday morning cartoon reruns? Let’s find out!!
Shaggy Rogers (Iain Armitage and Will Forte) is a lonely kid with no friends… for some reason, until he finds a stray dog who can talk but no one seems to have much of a problem with. He names the dog Scooby (Frank Welker) and eventually meets three other kids named Fred, Daphne, and Velma (Pierce Gagnon and Zac Efron, Mckenna Grace and Amanda Seyfried, and Ariana Greenblatt and Gina Rodriguez) who by happenstance they end up solving a mystery with. And thus the origin story has been told, in less than ten minutes! What do they fill the remaining eighty with? Well it turns out that The Blue Falcon, or at least his son Brian (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to stop the evil Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) from doing… something, and it somehow involves Scooby (presumably because he’s SUCH a good boy) which means he snatches Shaggy and Scooby away from whatever it was they were doing and are now sidekicks on a superhero adventure! Blue Falcon is helped by his female pilot Dee Dee (Kiersey Clemons) and his dad’s robot dog Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) who are basically the two keeping this operation afloat while Brian stumbles his way through the adventure, and with the help of Scooby being… so very important I guess, they will race Dick Dastardly across the globe from collecting the Magical MacGuffins that will spell doom for the world! Meanwhile, Fred, Daphne, and Velma are wondering why they aren’t a part of this movie and so try to “solve the mystery” of where Scooby and Shaggy went, only to wind up in a larger than life adventure far beyond investigating a ghost who’ll end up being a guy in a Halloween mask! Will our heroes overcome the pure malevolent evil of a man named Dick with a beautiful mustache? Will Scooby’s new status as BEST DOG EVER make Shaggy into a jealous jerk for half the movie for extremely petty reasons? If we’re gonna do this cinematic universe stuff with Hanna-Barbera, can we at least put Harvey Birdman into it? Better yet, Phil Ken Sebben! At least that would be SOMETHING about this movie worth talking about!
The Banana Splits Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Directed by Danishka Esterhazy
Well… I guess we’re finally here. After months of speculation and a couple of pieces by yours truly, we finally find out if this horror themed Banana Splits movie can justify its ludicrous premise. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’m not looking forward to this, especially when it’s so blatantly trying to jump on the Five Nights at Freddy’s bandwagon with a property that isn’t even REMOTELY applicable (a Country Bear Jamboree horror film would make WAY more sense), but maybe the filmmakers know something I don’t and have found an angle to tell this story from that will make it an interesting examination of these characters and their place in popular culture instead of just a cheap attention grabbing cash in. Yeah, it’s probably the latter but let’s find out!!
The Williams Family wanted nothing more than for little Harley’s birthday (Finlay Wotjak-Hissong) to go perfectly and the best way to do that would be to take him to see a live taping of his FAVORITE show; The Banana Splits; a quartet of singing animals made up of Fleegle the beagle, Bingo the ape, Drooper the lion, and Snorky the elephant (voiced by Eric Bauza). In this universe however, I guess the Banana Splits are the entire half hour instead of the bumper between cartoons and they use a retro-sixties aesthetic… ironically maybe? Well whatever the case may be, his mother Beth (Dani Kind) managed to score five tickets to take the both of them along with his dad Mitch (Steve Lund) and his step brother Austin (Romeo Carere) along with a friend from school Zoe (Maria Nash) who’s too cool for the Splits but has to go anyway. Once they get to the studio where it’s filmed which is located WAY in the back of the lot, we learn that The Banana Splits, while successful (somehow) is a production of many frustrations. The stage manager Rebecca (Sara Canning) has to manage the incompetent staff as well as the overly dramatic Stevie (Richard White) who’s the only human in the cast and drinks his sorrows away on a daily basis. Fortunately The Splits themselves aren’t as troublesome as they are LITERALLY ADVANCED ROBOTIC ENTERTAINERS that this studio can somehow afford and are regularly maintained by the overly enthusiastic programmer Karl (Lionel Newton), and most everything else is managed by the page Paige (Naledi Majola) who is way sicker of that joke than you are. Well in case you weren’t sure what movie we were watching, the robotic Splits end up getting a crappy firmware update and start to go on a murdering rampage as soon as the taping is over and the only ones left in the studio are a few employees and the lucky few who were chosen to meet The Splits in person; including the Williams family. Will anyone be left alive after The Splits enact whatever horrifying machinations they are dead set on enacting? Are the true Splits still somewhere within those cold metal shells, and is there a way that Harley can reach them? Even if he could though, who would WANT to reach them? Bunch of dead eyed Chuck-E-Cheese rejects. Back in my day, The Banana Splits had life and personality; not circuits and microchips con-sarn-it!
Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special (2017) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by DC Comics
Remember when I talked about that Banana Splits Movie trailer as well as the current state of Hannah-Barbara properties? Remember how I said I’d review the Suicide Squad/Banana Splits crossover comic? Oh to be so young and so naïve as I was… two months ago. Seriously, I was CERTAIN that I already reviewed this thing, but as the release date for that Banana Splits movie started to get closer and closer, I tried to find the review on this website and nothing! Nada! Zilch and so on! Well better late the never, I suppose, and I still managed to finish this blasted thing before the movie came out, so I’ll take my small victories where I can! ANYWAY! Does this comic capture the spirit of the original series and make the Banana Splits relevant again? Well no, because I already told you that when I talked about it back in June, but let’s take a look anyway!!
The issue begins with The Banana Splits (Fleegle the beagle, Bingo the ape, Drooper the lion, and Snorky the elephant, though the issue doesn’t even bother with introductions) being pulled over for what I can only assume is speeding, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me if it was for driving while furry considering what happens next. You’d think the cops of the DC Universe would be used to non-humanoids by now, but it seems like the writers are trying to make some sort of cultural critique here about police brutality and the criminalization of non-white bodies. I mean I GUESS I can appreciate the effort but I don’t think THE BANANA SPLITS are the best vehicle for it.
All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Do any of you even know who The Banana Splits are? Of course not! They were on the lower tier of Hanna-Barbera creations and because they were live action characters they never got that extra bump of popularity that many of their other creations did when they started randomly pairing them up on shows like Yogi’s Gang where they flew around in a giant flying ark. Yeah, Hanna-Barbera is weird like that, but the thing about The Banana Splits is… I actually really like them! I remember watching a marathon of episode back when you had to actually watch TV on a TV, and I thought it was a fun little slice of sixties nonsense! A bunch of dudes in animal costumes playing bubblegum pop and doing slapstick? What’s not to like!? And guess what? THEY’RE MAKING A MOVIE ABOUT THEM!! OH BOY! It looks like someone has finally realized how groovy these cats (and dogs and monkeys and elephants) are and are giving them the big screen treatment they deserve, right? RIGHT!?
So it turns out that SOMEONE thought it would be brilliant and edgy to take lovable characters aimed at children… and turn them into monsters in a horror movie; straight up. I mean yeah, they’re clearly playing up the absurdity of it but it just looks like a miserable experience outside of how senseless its UNIQUE SELLING POINT is. Actually, even more blatant than the simple “shock” value of taking character aimed at kids and making them creepy (congratulations; you’re where Creepy Pasta was twenty years ago) is that they are only doing this to beat the Five Nights at Freddy movie to the punch. I mean they weren’t robots in the original series either within the fiction of the show (they were anthropomorphic animals in a band) or the reality of its production which was done by people in costumes which is CLEARLY the case here as well.