Well, after my "Country Bears" review, it was only a matter of time before I come across a monkey movie. And yet miraculously, this is the better film.
"Monkeybone" can give most children nightmares, pretty much what [[ASIN:B0000AUHQC "Cool World"]] did for me. But unlike Ralph Bakshi's unmerited trash, I sorta enjoyed this movie as well as admit to its disturbing atmosphere. Director Henry Selick has always been the go-to guy for scary designs based on a [[ASIN:B001AIRUOU couple of]] [[ASIN:B003L4Y5BW films]] he made, which is why he's Tim Burton's no.2 on his buddy list. His stop-motion works always appear so grim and yet so fascinating, filled with creative nuances in how the set pieces move. Therefore, I really like the visual treatment this live-action/stop-motion combo is going for.
It's about a cartoonist named Stu (Brendon Fraser) who successfully pitched a cartoon series based on his creation, Monkeybone. He was about to pitch to his scientific girlfriend (Bridget Fonda), until he somehow got into a coma from an inflatable animal-related car accident. His soul went into a purgatory-like place, Downtown. It's a vulgar, perverse surreal world he's in, and many frightening stop-motion animations cross his path; on the upside, it had Rose McGowan as cleavage-tastic catgirl. He meets his cancerous, unlikable imaginary simian, Monkeybone, and the two tried to escape from this world, but it was trick by Monkeybone who instead stole his body. Stu has to rely on the unlike force of Whoopi Goldberg as Death to get his body back and to stop a sinster plot to produce more nightmares from the living, because his girlfriend happened to make chemical compound called 'nightmare fuel' (which acts more like the toxin The Scarecrow used).
As interesting as the story is, it's not much to rave about. The director seems to be weak in the real world scenes, because they're not as fun as Downtown and the Monkeybone-possessed Stu's antics are more primal than clever. If there's one scene in the real world that I enjoyed, it's the part where Stu possessed a dead gymnast (Chris Kattan) and is being chased by doctors wanting his organs, probably because Bob Odenkirk was one of the doctors; normally, I would get annoyed wondering why the doctors are chasing a corpse without wondering why it's even alive, but since Bob and Chris delivered a good set of laughs, I let it slide. "Monkeybone" was fun by its artistic merits, because it sure isn't for Brendan's dull attempt at playing two characters, the title character's wisecracks, and people simply monkeying around.