Cool World

Cool World. Paramount Pictures 1992.

Before watching the movie:

It’s my understanding that this film is Roger Rabbit, if Roger Rabbit stopped beating around the bush and said what it was hinting at. It’s adult oriented, and apparently only PG-13 because the producer wouldn’t let Bakshi publish the R-rated cut.

Also there are no familiar characters. So one should have an easier time hiding it from their kids. I figure it’s more like the book Roger Rabbit was based on.

After Watching the Movie:

Frank Harris is accidentally transported from our world to a cartoon reality known as “Cool World,”  a name that is as lame as it is nonindicative, since it’s nothing but the seamy underbelly of some slum city. He becomes their chief detective policing interactions between the “doodles” that populate it and the “noids” that occasionally cross over, while angsting with his doodle girlfriend about the noid/doodle sexual taboo. Making his job difficult is femme fatale Holli Would, who wants so desperately to go to the real world that she throws herself at any Noid she can find, in order to sleep with them and become a human herself. She finally finds one who will do it with her in one Jack Deebs, a comic book artist who based his successful comic book series on his frequent brief crossovers.

I saw a commercial for this movie when I was fairly young, and I always thought that the protagonist was the cartoonist who sleeps with his creation. As you can see above, it’s a lot more complicated than that. For most of the movie, Harris is the protagonist, but sometimes Deebs takes over. Mostly, Deebs is just a pawn in Holli’s schemes, though still more interesting as a character than Harris, who is essentially a pastiche of a noir detective. I only really cared about Harris in the context of his relationship with his doodle sweetheart.

There’s no getting around discussing the animation. It was visually interesting, usually in the 70s acid style of cartoons, but the interaction between humans and animations will bother pretty much anybody. I mainly disliked the live action side, since there’s a lot of times humans are touching drawings and the viewer can clearly tell there was nothing there. I would have liked it better if there were a mannequin or a model present that was traced over.

In the course of this picture, Doodles turn into Noids and Noids turn into Doodles. The degree of faithfulness to Kim Basinger’s body in the animation set my expectations high for the Noid-to-doodle transformations, and I was let down by severe charicatures. Not only that, but their characterization changes even more drastically when they change, while Holli is the same no matter what she looks like.

I’ve seen some significantly worse attempts at animation/live action hybrids, and some significantly better ones. This very much doesn’t look like a 90s film, but the subject couldn’t have been broached much earlier, especially not with cartoons.

 

Watch this film: with parental guidance if under 13.

Don’t watch this film: with parental presence if over 18.

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