Cool World (1992)


Cool World (1992)

Promotional movie poster

This was certainly interesting to watch (by that, I mean the animation and techniques). Ralph Bakshi delivers to us another one of his adult-oriented (although, this one’s rather toned down) side of cartoons, from a psychotic Craps bunny to howling pack of McWolf-esque bunch. It was not meant to be a direct rival with Roger Rabbit (4 years difference between each film’s release), the difference between the two being Cool World was originally a horror film with a plot, while Roger Rabbit adapted to suggestive (but nothing too dodgy) and had characters that were both appealing and interesting for the audience. Paramount wanted a PG-13 animation rather than the usual R-rated Bakshi creates; this did not fare well between him and the studio and predictably resulted in the final production. In 1945 Las Vegas, Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) just came home from his duties as a soldier to be greeted by Mom Harris (Janni Brenn-Lowen). At some point, he wins a motorbike in a gamble and decides to take his mother for a ride with him (she left the dinner cooking too. It makes you wonder…). Not far from the road, a drunk couple decides to take a stroll in their car in their tipsy state; tragic happened. Frank discovers his mother dead on the road whilst waking up from his sudden PTSD after the crash. The authorities and ambulance arrive to the scene, but shortly Frank is phased from the real world into Cool World, a world of toons, hardly having had time to grief over the incident. In 1991 Las Vegas, Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne), a comic artist, is on his last day before his release from prison (after killing a man found in bed with his ex-wife). He phases alternatively between the real world and his Cool World (he created it or did it exist before him?), being seduced by his femme fatale creation, Holli Would (Kim Basinger). Frank, now a cop of Cool Town, eventually hears of Jack’s presence and warns him that toons and noids (a term they use for ‘real’ people) cannot make ‘doodle’ together, for reasons. Holli and Jack disregards this and dooms Cool World’s stability. It’s up to Frank to make things right again by bringing Holli back to Cool World.

Ralph Bakshi’s success was more known with Fritz the Cat (1972), but he has made several other works since not including the less successful sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) (Bakshi was not involved with the film), but Heavy Traffic (1973), Coonskin (1975) and American Pop (1981). It’s not actually a bad film, the only problem is that the story itself is really nothing new from Bakshi and his other works (all are, of course, adult themed and consisting of drugs, sex, more women-chasing and occasional random violence between cartoons to emphasize the chaos). Basinger’s nymphomaniac character of Holli Would possessed nothing beneath her uncontrollable lust for noids; her live action counterpart was uninteresting and not really as stunning in physique as her animated self. In fact, almost all the animated characters on the screen were obnoxious and annoying. The film was aimed for the wrong audiences (PG-13) obviously, but Bakshi also was to blame for not giving his animators a screenplay to work with. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of Ralph Bakshi but even then, there are better works from him than Cool World.

Oh yeah, did I mention a cameo by Frank Sinatra Jr. in one scene?

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