David and Lara’s Reviews of Cool World

5 Oct


Cool World is an interesting experience. And I say that as a huge Ralph Bakshi fan. If I didn’t know who this director was, or if I hadn’t seen any of his other movies, then I would just be completely baffled. As it is, I love Ralph Bakshi, and I still don’t think this a good movie.

But that’s why it’s so interesting. Ralph Bakshi doesn’t think it’s good either. In 1990 he decided to make another movie and wrote the screenplay to Cool World. Paramount approved the movie as an animated horror film, in which a human and a cartoon have a child who tries to murder the human father who abandoned her. So far, so good. Problems began when the producer assigned to the movie ended up being Frank Mancuso, Jr., the son of Paramount president Frank Mancuso. Frank Jr. waited till Bakshi went to Las Vegas to begin pre-production and then had the entire screenplay re-written behind his back. Bakshi was understandably upset when it was time to begin production and the story being filmed was not the one he had written or prepared for. Words were exchanged, and Frank Jr. was punched in the face. That eliminated any possibility of Bakshi leaving the production. Paramount threatened to sue if he didn’t finish the movie. Their movie, not his.

And so we have a movie directed by Ralph Bakshi that he didn’t want to make. He did not show the animators the screenplay, he simply told them to make some stuff they thought was funny. He told himself that he could at least have fun doing the animation, and if he did that right some people might enjoy it. That was, sadly, not the case. The movie failed horribly, and Paramount has recently canceled the DVD, making it almost impossible to find.

I enjoy the animation. Granted, it is all completely over the top. It’s like watching an animator’s nightmare. But I enjoy it. It’s the acting and the rewritten script that are so bad. So very, very bad.

This was the last movie Ralph Bakshi made. That is the true tragedy here.

Cool World

Cool World


I first came across Cool World in January of 2006. I was looking at the local Wal*Mart for some things to buy my friend, Andy, for his birthday when I spotted it. Cool World. I had no prior knowledge of its existence, but an early ’90s Brad Pitt and a sexy cartoon character donned the cover– what more could I ask for? And only four dollars?! Score. Fast-forward to a few nights later, post-birthday parties and well wishes, and Andy and I, along with a few others (all of whom have expressed their disgust at my ability to finally write this review) sat down and took a crack at Cool World.

Half an hour later, when the hilarity of how terrible it was had worn off, we all unanimously decided to quit watching. It was too awful. Despite this awfulness, Andy and I still felt a pull to finish it, so a couple of months later we tried to watch it again. To no avail. This time we got almost an hour into the film before the feelings of nausea really sunk in. We turned it off. I thought that would be the end of my Cool World life, but one can never know what fate has in store for them. I went to Austin recently to visit my friends, and there some of us began discussing the movie in question. You see, David wanted Andy to give him his copy of Cool World because it has been discontinued by the manufacturer (though why David actually wants it is lost on me), and I told Andy it might seem rude for him to give away a present that I had originally given him for his birthday. Andy remarked that  he might as well give the movie to someone who likes it, seeing as we had never had the nerve to finish it. A challenge! So three and a half years later I have finally conquered Cool World. And here’s what I think.

Cool World is probably the worst movie of all time. And while my comrade will try to tell you that its badness stems from the director’s hate for the project, I say that is inexcusable. Not only that, but I think that even if Ralph Bakshi had been able to make the movie he originally wanted to it would be equally terrible, if not worse. You see, it’s not the cheesy dialogue nor the storyline, which follows a cartoonist back and forth between reality and the dark cartoon land of “Cool World,” which place the movie at the top of my hate list; it is the whole atmosphere. Cool World is a place filled with poorly made cartoons who are super violent and over-sexed. The aesthetics of the world, the claustrophobia that the darkness creates, makes it especially horrifying to me. It leaves such a sickening feeling in my stomach that it makes me wonder if it is what my nightmares are made up of. It is this nightmarish aspect that makes me dislike the film so much, and I think that, whether Bakshi had been allowed to make his movie about a half-doodle or not, this would still be the over all aura.

I almost recommend Cool World because it is so much fun to complain about. We verbally abused it for about half an hour after finishing it and I’m sure the whining wouldn’t have stopped there. So watch it if you have a stomach of iron, an impenetrable psyche, and a lot of friends who can help you rip it to shreds.


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