If a certain filmmaker is just plain old BAD, and consistently so, it's easy to dismiss their movies as the product of a clueless mind. But when you see three or four atrocious films that come from someone who's clearly a talented guy, things start to get a lot more interesting. One such case in point would be the filmography of Mr. Ralph Bakshi.Longtime animator and no stranger to truly bizarre movies, Mr. Bakshi has indeed presented several fascinating flicks over the years (like Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, Wizards and American Pop) yet is also known for being behind the ill-fated Lord of the Rings cartoon, the amazingly bad (live action) cable flick Cool and the Crazy, and this one: Cool World, easily one of the most unreleasable movies ever released.
Much has been written on the overwhelming stench surrounding Cool World's production and release, but 14 years after the fact the movie remains. And it's recently been released on DVD. Consider yourself warned.
Critics often use the word 'incomprehensible' when referring to a poorly constructed movie, but nowhere is such an assessment more accurate than in the case of Cool World. Try watching the movie with your DVD player's "chapter shuffle" capability, and then go back and watch it straight through. I challenge you to describe which version makes more sense.
Allegedly the plot is about a cartoonist (Gabriel Byrne, looking lost and entirely humiliated) who gets pulled into the universe of his own comic book and pines for sex with animated lass Holli Would (Kim Basinger). Human detective Frank Harris (as played by the overwhelmed Brad Pitt, whom I expect would pay 5 million bucks for this movie to vanish off the face of the earth) has something to do with this nonsense; he's there to stop humans and cartoon characters from having sexual intercourse, or something equally unseemly.
Coming along not too far removed from the brilliant Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Cool World works desperately hard to be mentioned in the same breath as Zemeckis' groundbreaking feature...but only five minutes worth of Cool World is enough to eliminate any comparisons between the two.
The animation is woefully poor (Bakshi's always been known for his enjoyably 'rustic' animation, but this flick feels like it needed about six more months worth of post-production work), the narrative is completely fractured and irretrievable, the acting ranges from hilariously bad to sadly inept, the production design looks like something from Tim Burton's worst pepperoni-induced nightmares, the overall tone is that of smugness and overt ugliness...
The whole sorry thing feels like it was a poor idea from the beginning (at best) or a resoundingly shoddy attempt to ride the back of Roger Rabbit in the name of Gimmick Filmmaking. Either way, Cool World still represents a true curiosity to any intrepid movie fan. It's one of those movies you know is horrible going in, but it's also one you simply have to experience for yourself.But by no means should you consider that any sort of legitimate recommendation.