Film Review: The Banana Splits Movie (2019)

Also known as: The Banana Splits (working title)
Release Date: July 17th, 2019 (San Diego Comic-Con)
Directed by: Danishka Esterhazy
Written by: Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas
Based on: Aaa by Hanna-Barbera Productions, Sid and Marty Krofft
Music by: Patrick Stump
Cast: Dani Kind, Steve Lund, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Sara Canning, Eric Bauza

Blue Ice Pictures, Blue Ribbon Content, Warner Bros., 89 Minutes

Review:

“Hey kids, put on your happiest faces, because The Banana Splits Show is about to begin.” – Drooper

When I heard that a movie was being made as a horror styled reboot of a Hanna-Barbera and Sid and Marty Krofft creation, I was one part intrigued and one part worried that it would be some shitty try hard edgy boi bullshit.

Well, this was the latter. Except it was directed by a female so I guess it was some shitty try hard edgy gurl bullshit.

This was something I wanted to like and it’s not a complete train wreck but it’s far from good, way too formulaic and pretty derivative, even if the idea initially comes off as fairly original. But I’ve heard some say that this rips off the video game series Five Nights at Freddy’s. I haven’t played those games but from what I know of them, that statement doesn’t just seem like a hollow one.

As dumb as this movie is, which is fine – I love dumb horror, I still can’t wrap my head around these Banana Splits characters being actual robots. Especially, since they were created in 1969 within the continuity established by this film. We didn’t even have personal computing back then. So maybe they’ve been upgraded a lot since 1969 and eventually were given some form of A.I. but it’s still a baffling concept even in an absurd movie.

But suspending disbelief as much as I can, this is really just Chopping Mall in a much crappier setting, as the majority of the film takes place on massive sound stages that are mostly empty despite a few small sets that look worse than booths I’ve seen at local church fundraisers.

The film’s visual tone is presented through a poor man’s bronze-y Fincher like filter without any real effort at cinematography or good lighting. It’s not an ugly film but it’s certainly not an appealing one to look at.

There is a decent amount of violence and gore but it’s done in the cheapest way possible with quick cuts and gory reveals after an offscreen act of violence and a splatter of blood.

Additionally, none of the characters are likable. The mom is okay by the end of the film but I would’ve been fine with everyone dying and the Splits leaving the studio to murder the rest of the world. But whatever, that means I probably would’ve had a sequel to watch and I don’t think that this movie deserves one.

Ultimately, this just feels like some studio exec proclaimed proudly, “Hey, you guys remember The Banana Splits? Yeah? Well, we’re bringing them back as killer robots!” And then the exec was applauded because he surrounds himself with yes-men that actually hope he fails so that they can take his job.

Rating: 4/10
Pairs well with: a trip to Chuck E. Cheese with bad drugs.