Cool World Reviews
The story in Cool World is just thoroughly awful. I'm saying that because there essentially isn't one. Characters develop randomly during the film, being pushed through unexplained and strange dynamics from start to finish with no sense of consistency whatsoever. No matter how hard I tried, I could not find a plot in Cool World whatsoever. I don't think I've ever seen a film so lacking in plot or consistency without ever being intentional. If Ralph Bakshi's intention was to make a plotless film then he easily succeded, but I don't think that was the case. The film's lack of plot is so stupid and thoughtless that the viewer is likely to lose a sense of following the film halfway through since that is exactly what happened with me. It eventually just dissolved into a trippy series of vignettes, some of which were animated and some of which were not. Whatever the hell it was, Cool World was not something I would classify as entertainment. People tend to talk about movies which have seneless and thin plots, but rarely would they mean it as intensively as if they were referring to Cool World. Cool World is bad for many reasons, but nothing beats the awful attempt at a story.
The cross between the live action universe and animated one in Cool World is clearly very derivative of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As it is the character Holli Would is nothing more than a cheap rendetion of Jessica Rabbit, only with lesser visual quality and indifferent acting from Kim Basinger. She has her sexual appeal, but it is very thin and the character itself is really cheaply constructed. All of the characters in the film are thinly scripted because the screenplay is a thoroughly dull one. The derivative nature of the film just makes it all the more worse when it already suffers from a lack of a story. But wait, there's more:
Cool World has a melodramatic sense which intereferes with the comic themes in the film. It wants to be a fantasy animated comedy and a gritty crime drama at the same time. It succeeds at none of these because Michael Grais and Mark Victor's screenplay is so poor that it fails to implement the best elements of any of these genres in. Cool World is not at all funny, it is not a film which viewers are likely to feel anything but contempt for. It is simply pathetic, and its atmosphere is all wrong. It isn't even trippy enough to be an experience that is worthwhile unless the viewer was on some pretty hardcore drugs.
The animation in the film is mostly good, but it is nevertheless flawed. As it follows Ralph Bakshi's style, it is very nostalgic to older animated films and particularly the style of animation that was prevalent on Nickelodeon films in the 1990's. It is interesting to look at for its camp value, and fans of his style are likely to get a sense of joy out of the surreal and colourful universe in the film. In parts, Cool World is decent for its colour and for some of the animation-related ambitions of Ralph Bakshi in his last feature film to date. The problem with the animation in the film is that it fails to interact with the live action universe all that well. It all looks iconic of Ralph Bakshi's work, and that is precisely the problem. His style of animation has its charm, but it is of a dated quality. The animation and live action do not cross over well at all. The interactions between them is poor, and so that is the downfall of Ralph Bakshi's animation in Cool World.
And due to Cool World being an amalgamation of live action and animation, it is very challenging for the cast to deliver strong acting performances. Everyone ends up giving a stiff effort due to such little to work with.
Gabriel Byrne gives a performance which is just wrong. It is subtle but attempting to be melodramatic, and that just doesn't make sense. Luckily enough his career bounced back three years later with The Usual Suspects, but Cool World could have easily killed his career. His performance is shallow and fails to have any sort of memorable aspect whatsoever. His performance demands no grit of him and no spirit, so he gives neither of them. He is just not cut out to work with material this low and still make it work.
Kim Basinger's voice acting in Cool World is painfully unverdeveloped. Kim Basinger cannot decide whether to make Holli Would a ditzy blond or a seductress, and so she goes at a half-assed angle at both of them. At the point in the film where she becomes a live action figure, it just gets more pathetic. She continues with her painfully inconsistent line delivery but loses almost all of her sex appeal, and so there is little value to add to her. The problem is that she is trying to play a physical version of an animated character which is challenging enough without the role being given to an actress as limited as Kim Basinger. Holli Would is an extremely cheaply crafterd character played y an inconsistent actress. Kim Basinger has rarely every been handed a character as weak as the one she gets in Cool World, and so the Golden Raspberry Award nominated calibre of her performance is unsurprisingly inevitable.
Brad Pitt is likable in the role simply because of the fact that it is him, but the fact is that even he cannot make it past the awful lack of quality in his role. Luckily enough his career would hit a peak many years after Cool World and remain consistent because he is a man with a lot of talent, yet viewers will not get any of that in Cool World. His role is weak and so his performance is too. I hardly blame him because he does give it some effort and he is a likable presence, but he is nevertheless in poor form just as the rest of them are.
So despite some flashy animation, the thing that kills Cool World is its lack of any plot. From there, it becomes more easy to notice the weak characters, lacklustre acting, laugh-free script and general sense of mediocrity in filmmaking.
With that said, it's a crazy movie and the plot's a little simplified. It's a little too different for my taste. The movie isn't fun enough to justify the Loony Tunes atmosphere. The ending was lacking and much too cute when compared to the rest of the film.
Amusing and interesting enough to be worth two hours of your life, but not going to be a timeless classic.