Critic Consensus: Though original and full of bizarre visuals, Monkeybone is too shapeless a movie, with unengaging characters and random situations that fail to build up laughs.
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Critic Reviews for Monkeybone
You can almost see money dripping off the walls of the sets and cybersets in this special-effects extravaganza.
The design is often brilliant, although the film is nowhere near as tasteless or funny as it ought to be.
Why do I still have a soft spot for this flick? Because there are glimmers of intelligence in the mess, because it must have driven the marketing department crazy, and because it fails so differently than all those run-of-the-mill failures.
Audience Reviews for Monkeybone
Based on the comic Dark Town but slightly twisted somewhat, resulting in this film from Selick, which by no means is a bad thing as the film is great fun. When I first saw this it was a straight to video release but I was enticed by the unusual title and colourful film cover, but I must admit after seeing it I didn't really like it that much. The film did bomb heavily in the US and this is why the UK only saw it at the videoshop which is a shame. I think the odd casting of Brendan Fraser (never been a big name really) and Bridget Fonda didn't help as the you don't tend to think of these two for a surreal 'Burton-esq' life after death flick as this. I also think Fraser gave the film a childish outlook due to his previous films plus he's not a great actor anyway so this may have detracted from the film.
Upon watching again I must say I've warmed up to this fantasy now big time, it does show tremendous imagination and originality throughout which is unique in itself, add to that some marvellous stop motion animation, cartoon animation and a whole host loony toon rubber masks and suits equalling many strange and bizarre creatures. Selick being the master behind 'Nightmare Before Christmas' shows us again here how that wasn't a fluke, much like 'Beetlejuice' the characters are all suppose to be dead or with this film imaginatively created also. Most of the film is set in a limbo land and this allows Selick to run riot with the creations and utilize his skills in stop motion perfectly, all of which is really nicely done.
You really could be forgiven for thinking this was a Burton/Selick collaboration as the film is very dark and off the wall highlighting their fascination of the afterlife being basically a pain in the ass. The whole film is highly colourful, vivid and shows great artistic merit with some nice alternative takes on the look for limbo, death, passing over etc...its not morbid but nicely ghoulish.
Must applaud Chris Kattan for a brilliant little role as a dead body that Fraser's character inhabits towards the end, really nicely played and quite believeable as a corpse with a broken neck haha kudos. Worst choice is easily casting Whoopi Goldberg as 'Death', who's decision was that!!?.
This was an enjoyable ride. It was just funny how the main act was holding his head on with anything he could find. I laughed every time he came up with something new and original to hold it up.
I watched this because of Brendan Fraser. But this was stupid.
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