The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I dig the Banana Splits. Always have. No I’m not that old to have watched them on Saturday morning. But I remember watching them on Boomerang because I was fascinated (and an older age) by the serial that aired during each episode. It was called Danger Island and featured a young Jan Michael Vincent, and was actually directed by a young Richard Donner. It was awesome. But that is for a different review. Anyway The Banana Splits were these giant Muppets (guys in costume) that were in a rock band. They would sing and do skits throughout the entire show. They were Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky. Created by Hanna-Barbera Productions they were a big hit during the 1968-1970 seasons. They got a revival in 2008 on the Cartoon Network, and again in 2019 only this time as a horror movie.
The Banana Splits movie takes place in present time where the show is still airing and is quiet popular. The Splits this time are actually robots as opposed to guys in costume. There biggest fan is a kid named Harley. He has a great mom, a loving brother, a duce bag dad, and basically zero friends. For his Birthday his family takes him to a taping of the Banana Split’s show. His mom gets one of her friends daughters to go with them, as Harley has no friends who want to go. Actually he seems to have no friends period. He’s incredibly excited to be seeing his heroes.
As fate would have it two things happen on this day of the tapings. The Banana Splits are getting an update downloaded into them by their creator, and a new television executive has been hired. He informs the crew that he’s cancelling the show so he can go with edgier programing. Today will be the final taping of the show. As this is going on Harleys brother is able to sweet talk one of the stagehands into getting them backstage with another group after the tapings. Things go smoothly until the Splits find out they have been canceled. They don’t really like that so they flip out and start murdering people.
They take out a few dads, some workers, the VP of course, heck they even have tons of kids locked up. There are deaths by flamethrower, hammer, car, sawing in half, lollypop, you name it. And I don’t mean off screen kills. There are very bloody and gory murders. The film definitely deserved the R rating it got. It’s a treat for horror fans looking for something different that’s for sure. The update of taking these goofy looking giant puppets and making them killer robots is a great idea. I hope they make more of these.
The film has a cheesy, almost cheap look about it, but its designed that way on purpose. It takes place on the set of a kids show nothing fancy, plus if it was a big CG fest it would not be right. It runs a short 88min, that unfortunately could have still had about 10min trimmed off it. I personally cared less about the mom and dads relationship issues as it did not do much in terms of advancing anything.
The acting was great, the effects were well done and Warner Brothers did a great job on the transfer. The audio and visuals are great. Bright in all the children’s spots and ominously dark in others. Plus the fact you hear the “Tra la la” song in your surround sound is great.
Warner is releasing this on Blu-ray on August 27 and its definitely one to pick up. The idea of turning old children’s characters into an R rated horror film was a great idea. The film is fun, and it sure as hell is different. I for one hope it hits big and they not only make a part two but possibly develop other old properties into horror films as well. I would love to see Jabber Jaw eat a beach full of people. Pick this one up
Overall 3out of 5 Stars!