Gnash your teeth in agony, because Cool World is definitely not the Greatest Movie EVER!
Click on the movie poster or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring guest cohost Gerald Rathkolb from AnimeWorldOrder.
Review in a Nutshell: Crippled by a wretched script, bad performances, and a non-stop deluge of animated nonsense, Cool World mutates from an interesting premise into a movie so bad that even its creator has disowned it. It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for Bakshi for foisting this kind of film upon the viewers of the world. Almost.
I’ve never seen this movie. I wonder if I should just to see it, like once?
Can you PLEASE not invite the Anime World Order guys over when doing animated movies? I get it. You guys don’t like Bakshi. Now go back to your anime podcast where you can talk about how nothing should ever be dubbed.
Paul, you were talking about a scene in the movie that you didn’t believe was rotoscoped, because the animation was too smooth. You can rotoscope something and then adjust the animation afterward to make it smoother. Rotoscoping is just a technique of using stock photos for reference. You can mix rotoscope and free-hand animation. There isn’t a wall between these two concepts.
And her name is pronounced Kim “Bay-SINGER”. Not “Bass-enjer”
This one was Gerald’s idea, so I couldn’t exactly not invite him. I tried to focus my criticisms on the film itself, and to avoid talking about rotoscoping since there’s a general lack of information regarding where and when it was used in the movie.
In my defense, I would like to point out that I personally have never reviewed ANY animated works on this podcast, nor has Clarissa.
Still, it’s a MASSIVE mis-characterization of us on your part to allege that we say “nothing should ever be dubbed.” Heck, the last Florida anime convention I attended was one where both Gerald and I did a tribute to Carl Macek in conjunction with actors and members of Harmony Gold who personally knew him.
I do however hate me some Ralph Bakshi, though not nearly as much as Gerald. It’s not usually my style to volunteer for doing reviews of things I don’t particularly care for. Interesting that Gee-Wrath (that’s his gangsta rap name) asked specifically to review Cool World given his intense disdain for it; in light of this, I request his next GME! appearance be for Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
Hey now Paul, let’s be fair. The first I heard about doing Cool World was your suggestion at AWA. I, however, DID bring up to you later that it was available on Netflix, so I don’t deny that I did pursue the idea since as much as I’m not a fan of Bakshi, his work intrigues me, perhaps in the same way I find rare jungle diseases intriguing.
My memory of discussing Bakshi at AWA was Rob Fenelon and Walter Amos jumping on me when I posed the question “did this really need to be animated?” in regards to some of Bakshi’s rotoscoping work. My whole point was that certain film media and techniques are advantageous to creating specific effects. I don’t remember suggesting Cool World in particular, except to say that it was unwatchable. Maybe the Devil made us do it?
Yes, Daryl, I am aware of your Bakshi hatred, even if not from this program.
Throughout this show, it seemed as though Goob would mount a fairly level defense of Bakshi’s work, one which acknowledged Bakshi’s integrity as an animator without necessarily approving of his work, and Gerald would come along and knock it down with his hate. And while that shtick is very amusing, but it’s a cheap laugh. And for someone to come over from an ANIME podcast and piss on someone else’s favorite niche animation style, I’ll be darned if that doesn’t grind my gears a little.
You’re essentially bashing someone who is very much a product of his time. Bakshi is a low-budget animator from the 1970s who was way out of his element by the time Cool World came along. I’m not even defending Bakshi on this one, since this film is so indefensible as it is.
“Still, it’s a MASSIVE mis-characterization…”
Oh, get off it. First of all, I can hear your smarmy, self-congratulatory voice SAYING that. Thanks for ruining my morning. I was EATING.
Second, It’s called caricature, that being mine for the typical ANIME SNOB. And I’m sure you’re not offended by that, since I believe your own program admits to that in some sort of disclaimer, if I’m not mistaken. And even though I was being mildly funny, I must say that of the three or four episodes of AWO I was able to stomach, I did hear a lot of dub-bashing.
I didn’t check. Did you guys have a five-hour celebration episode when ADV closed its doors?
Still, I guess I should thank you for your humanitarian tribute to Carl Macek, a man who, in my book, isn’t far removed from Bakshi. Both men are important figures in the history of animation and are reviled by people who are apparently ignorant of the good things they did.
With all that said, I’m sure that my perturbed responses will be rewarded with an all-AWO review of Wizards, right here on the Greatest Movie Ever. …boy, I can hardly wait.
Nice to have Gerald back for this one, don’t mind what others say, the AWO guys are tops in my book!
Reminded of that tagline on the poster pictured here (Holli Would If She Could) and thinking the movie was going to be about that, boy was I wrong! I didn’t see the movie though when it was first released but ended up seeing it when it aired on SciFi Channel sometime in the mid 90’s.
While Gerald mentioned Bakshi doing two Fritz movies, the second film wasn’t even directed by him, but by someone else (that film was “The Nine Lives of Fritz The Cat” by the way), as Bakshi had gone on to doing “Coonskin” by then. His first three films, and what most would recommend you watch to get a better understanding of Bakshi’s place in animation are his “Urban Trilogy” of “Fritz the Cat” (1972), “Heavy Traffic” (1973″ and “Coonskin” (a.k.a. “Street Fight”, 1975). I personally loved Heavy Traffic myself for it’s honest depictions of a young man coming to terms with his life and relationship (of course if it fell into the “Jew, in NY, in the [place decade here]” mold, then it was probably the first in that category).
Bakshi really wasn’t known before Fritz The Cat however as he got his start as a drone in a NY animation studio called “Terrytoons” in the 50’s, starting out as a cel painter, working his way eventually to becoming a director in the mid 60’s. At one point he ended up working for a number of venues including Paramount Pictures during the final days of it’s cartoon studio, and for Steve Krantz on the last season of the Spider-Man TV cartoon series (often the episode “Revolt in the Fifth Dimension” is sighted by fans as one of Bakshi’s best of that era despite ABC having removed the episode from rotation until it was syndicated later). There’s one cartoon short he did for Paramount I sorta enjoyed, though Ralph thinks otherwise involving a hippie character who turns his dad’s mind around to his way of thinking in “Marvin Digs” (which I’m bothering to stick here anyway)…
It wasn’t until the late 70’s when that rotoscoping crept into his work such as on “Wizards” and to a larger extent, “Lord of the Rings”. From then on, it seemed like he couldn’t quite handle drawing human movement properly without relying on live-action footage as a crutch. I often blame much of that on how he handled the budget on his films, and his insistence on no pencil testing that is common in regular studio procedures. He felt he was capable enough to see that the drawings were adequately timed after they were drawn and then pass it along to ink & paint without a check through photographing those drawings on film and checking that way. It is that lack of assistance that probably lends itself well to the bizarre nature of his work.
Of course what made Roger Rabbit work was the extra planning that had to be done before they even animated the characters for the live-action. Apart from the puppets and other stand-ins used during the live-action filming, the animators also had to work with blown photo-stills of every frame for each sequence they worked on where they could overlay a paper over the photo to draw their characters on so that they could also keep the characters placed well within the action and to interact with the live-action folks accordingly. Possibly Bakshi didn’t have that extra frivolity to work with in his production, and I do remember thinking it was cheap even by the previews alone back when it was out.
Apart from the weird French cartoons mentioned at the end, I could recommend watching an Italian film that came out in 1991 that might be up someone’s alley. It’s called “Volere Volare” and was from the mind of actor Maurizio Nichetti and animator Guido Manuli, and certainly raised some eyebrows if only for it’s story of a foley artist who turns into a cartoon character towards the end of the film (yet still gets to bag his girlfriend anyway since she’s into screwing around in bizarre ways).
Thinking some more about it, it’s rather odd Bakshi finds it difficult to get a new movie off the ground when he bothers to give speeches acting like the future of animation today can be done by a single person with his computer as he puts it in this vid…
And yet he can’t seem to get funding for such a project when guys like Bill Plympton could self-fund his own feature films out of his own pocket (and from other shorts films obviously). It’s all talk but no show for him in his later years.
I’ll leave a better comment after watching Cool World and listening to this episode.
Ralph Bakski films are something that’s always better in theory but in execution it always misses the mark.
I did enjoy Fire and Ice but still, it could have been better. Fritz the Cat and Coonskin were interesting, but definitely not appealing.
John K gets closer but he was too late to the game to have anything made theatrically.
In my fantasy world we’ll have an Animation industry in America that produced expressive and appealing Animation like golden age Warner Brothers and Disney but have interesting stories like we do with, well, the good Anime anyway.
If neither of you have seen HEAVY TRAFFIC or COONSKIN, the former easily being Bakshi’s best work, on par with early Scorsese (oh wait, Goob doesn’t like him much either) — then I don’t see how you can justify the hate. You’re entitled to your opinions of course, but it helps if they’re educated opinions.
I think I need to clarify: I don’t hate Bakshi. I hate Cool World. It’s an awful film. I sympathize with Bakshi from an artistic standpoint. And I think I made it abundantly clear at the beginning of the episode that as I’ve not seen a large chunk of the man’s work, I’m not trying to judge the totality of his endeavors.
As for the informed opinion thing, you can only carry that line of reasoning so far. Exactly how many pieces of an artist’s work must you experience in order to judge whether you yourself do or do not like what they are doing? People give me flak for not particularly liking Danny Boyle, for example, but every film of his that I have seen (with the exception of Shallow Grave) was a film that I didn’t like. How many more am I supposed to watch before it’s okay for me to conclude that I just don’t care for what the guy is producing?
I’m amazed at the amount of response this has gotten so far. Why can’t we get this level of discussion when talking about a John Carpenter film? 😀
Obviously, I don’t need to see *everything* in a filmmaker’s body of work in order to play film critic. But I really think that in order to be taken seriously, it helps to at least viewed the major works in the cannon, especially when approaching the stuff on the lower end of the scale. Like, what if you did a We Hate Coppola podcast having only seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Or Eyes Wide Shut instead of 2001?
I got that Goob was trying to be as fair as possible with the always-problematic Bakshi (who has only gotten more problematic and in need of defense since a newer generation has discovered him), but Gerald just generally hits those “hate” buttons a little too quickly for my taste.
I still love him, tho.
I just listened to the Prince of Darkness podcast and I loved how you and Sean defended Carpenter. I haven’t seen Ghosts of Mars but I also liked “Vampires”. Maybe nobody comments on the Carpenter movies for the same reason that nobody comments on my podcast. They are too good and speak for themselves. So there is a ’nuff said element.
In terms of your question about artists Paul I’d say that if you have seen at least 3 of their pieces (movies, paintings, blah blah blah) and maybe read a little about the artist interviews, podcasts; then it’s perfectly fine to dislike somebodies work. I would however be weary of writing off new work by previously unimpressive people as the whole point of making art is to keep learning and getting better as I’m sure you know.
This is also why I enjoy listening to podcasts like GME, Film Junk, AWO, etc. Though I might not share the opinions 100% of the time there is a somewhat consistent approach to criticism that helps me explore the works of other artists I myself might have ignored or written off. Your show got me to check out “Space Truckers” so thanks.
Well Horace, I’ve seen Fire and Ice (which I actually liked quite a bit), Cool World (obviously), Spicy City, Fritz The Cat, American Pop, Wizards, his work on Mighty Mouse, and Lord of the Rings. That means out of his total theatrical output I’ve seen over half of everything he made and a portion of his television output. I’ve seen works from when he started, well in to his career, when he matured and his work right before he got out of the industry, which, I feel is a wide breadth and enough for me to make a judgment call.
No one comments on John Carpenter movies because if you know who he is chances are you like him.
People like Bakshi are polarizing for no good reason.
I have never seen the whole movie just parts of it on the Sci-fi channel years ago. The first time i ever heard of this movie was seeing a ad for the video game in a game magazine back in 92. I was maybe five at the time.
I’m surprised that neither you nor Gerald mentioned how UGLY Brad Pitt was as a doodle. I remember seeing that scene, having some female I knew (I can’t remember who.) and having them say I was BSing when I told them that was a cartooned Brad Pitt.
Like most, I saw Cool World on TV (did anyone see this thing in the theaters?) and thought it was pretty bad.
Most of the movie has been blessedly forgotten, I didn’t remember it being rotoscoped, but the one scene that stands out clearly to me is when Brad Pitt’s character is walking down a street and it’s obvious that the parked cars and most of the rest of the set are 2-D paintings making the scene look like it was filmed in a community collage’s theater department.
It might have been a stylistic choice, but it really looked stupid.
Having seen this movie 10 years ago I actually have a good memory of it, maybe if I rewatched it I would hate it. This is one of the few “weird” animations that doesn’t disturb me to some extent like superjail, ren & stimpy (but not the superfriends) and some of heavy metal does.
Cool World — one of the few movies I’ve ever given up on and didn’t finish.
However, I will defend FIRE AND ICE to the grave. That movie is a 100% exact recreation of what was going on in the head of every little nerdy fantasy fan kid’s head at the time.
And everyone knows Gerald is worse than a hundred Hitlers. I still haven’t forgiven him for shooting me in the head and leaving me for dead back in ‘Nam.
I watched Cool World last night and listened to the podcast on the ride into work.
What a shitty movie. I’ve seen Coonskin, Fritz the Cat, Fire and Ice, and parts of Wizards so I think I have a sense for Bakshi’s ‘style’ vs. him not giving a shit which he clearly didn’t with Cool World.
I think the term “doodles” fits the characters perfectly because they look and behave like the doodles one would do in their notebook during class or at a boring meeting.
It was obviously Bakshi attempting to make an adult version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but due to typical Hollywood politics he was forced into a PG-13 rating, ‘Hollie Would if she could’ I guess.
If Cool World was done with a better script and someone loving their work they could have made a classic. The juxtaposition of different styles (ie comic book, sketch art, golden age, and real people) was interesting but it had no meaning.
Bakshi is just one of those creators where they are so close to getting it right, but there is some disconnect that stops them from following through and knocking it out of the park. It’s a shame really.
Also, if you’re a fan of My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult then this is a movie for you.
How can you guys not like this Movie? While I agree it should have been R rated and this was another studio screw-up, I still appreciate the movie for what it tried to do. Here’s some story boards showing how cool World would have looked as an R rated film. Fun Fact: the character Holly Would was originally named Debbie Dallas given that Bakshi wanted Tracy Lords for the part. http://www.animationarchive.org/2006/10/biography-louise-zingarelli-cool-world.html
I have not seen Cool World in years. When I did
see it, it was rented for me by my mother from
Hollywood Video. That was back in the day when
parents saw a cartoon and thought ‘Eh, whatever’.
She did watch it with me, and only let me finish
it if I promised it wouldn’t scar me for life,
which it hasn’t.
The only thing I have to say about this podcast
is that it kinda freaked me out, because I’ve
been watching ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ a lot
lately. It’s just been playing fairly often on
HBO, and I keep catching bits and pieces of it.
It was probably my most watched movie as a child,
and I never realized how utterly dirty and
adult it was until I came back to it as a grown
up. It kinda bothers me that my parents let me
not only watch this, but get the Roger Rabbit
Whenever I’d catch a snippet of the movie, I
kept thinking about how much I would love to
hear Gooberzilla and some other intelligent
co-host discuss how innovative the movie was,
and the crazy licensing that had to have gone
on in order to get Disney and Warner Bros.
characters to share the same screen.
This wasn’t exactly the podcast I was looking
for, but hey, I’ll take it.