So some bad news and good news first. The bad news, I got fired from my full-time job. The good news, I can blog more. And I wanted to do 2 films, not because of the special occasion, but because one of these films is so damn bleak that I needed something ridiculously cheery to raise my spirits. This isn’t one of those trick review situations where it’s all like, “Psych! Actually that’s the depressing movies and that’s the cheerful one!” Nope, I’m going to be straightforward about this. I just didn’t have much to say about either.
Right, so this is a dreary little film. It’s about a small family living in the middle of the woods out from civilization due to a contagious disease that is spreading around and killing everyone. Soon after killing “grandpa” who is suffering from the disease and burning his body, the family encounters another family, and they try to live with one another. But the fear, the paranoia, and the trust issues, all threaten to slowly kill them all much like the disease.
Sounds a bit like a George A. Romero zombie flick doesn’t it? But this film keeps things strictly focused on humanity. Aside from the dog, man’s best friend. The main focus is on the family of 3 (was 4, but then grandpa didn’t last long) is the son, the son of a bi-racial couple. And much to my surprise, no commentary was made on race/racism. They seemed to get along fine in that regard. Any issues the family has did not involve racism in any way as far as I could tell. It’s extremely refreshing for a film to be made like that.
Anyway, like I said, the focus is on the son, who’s dreams become plagued by nightmares after seeing his grandpa shot and burned. Could not get any peaceful nights after that experience. Nightmares of his grandfather, of his father, of the female member of the other family, and I think there may have been a nightmare of his dog somewhere in there, I’m not sure. Initially I feared this was going to be some prophecy/foreshadowing sort of nightmare, something I normally despise in most films unless it’s a medieval fantasy flick. But they seem to be more straightforward and to the point than that. The nightmares simply reflect the boy’s subconscious fears, those instilled by those he sees in his dreams. Of his grandfather becoming sick, of his father getting sick, a girl he has the hots for being sick, all of them threatening to spread their disease to the boy. Yet that never happens, at least not by those he dreams about. The big question is how much are these dreams affecting him when he’s awake? They affect him, but it’s very speculative as to how much.
The son clearly enjoys the company of the other family, and they grow on him. Yet he is held back from ever fully letting himself go and dropping his guard entirely against them, partly because of what his father says, but there’s also the dreams. Trust issues.
This all comes to a head one night when there dog who ran off earlier after barking at who knows what comes back into their kitchen all diseased and stuff. But there are circumstances surrounding this “break-in” that remain unanswered by the film’s end. This is intentional, making the viewer as doubtful as the main protagonist (the son). Who unlocked the door? Was it the son? Was it someone else within the house? Was it someone/something outside of the house? We don’t know, because there are always unexplained things in life that can’t ever be known with absolute certainty by a single person. This creates doubts, and creates fears, which creates obstacles towards trusting strangers.
The whole point of the film is to raise the point that trust is nice, and the unity it can create is great. But is it only temporary? Is the trust you believe others have for you just as you (may) have for them just a facade? Would things turn out alright if they were trusted completely? Or would things turn out worse if you let your guard down? The film doesn’t answer this, and a few events occur in the film which give justifiable reason for not trusting anyone, while also highlighting how this distrust is slowly killing everyone much like the disease. Is the fear justifiable, or misplaced? You be the judge.
It’s great to have a straightforward film not provide any straightforward answers. It’s a bleak film, but it’s something that allows you to appreciate the less-bleak films that are out there (unless you enjoy stuff like this and Requiem for a Dream, you sad bastards), much like watching a shitty film so you can appreciate the less-shitty films out there more. Except that this film isn’t shitty. But on that note, when the film ended at the theater, this was the order of events that immediately followed once the credits began to roll.
“This was a horrible movie!”
“This was the worst movie ever!”
“What a waste of time!”
*me and a couple others laughing*
So that made it worth watching in theaters. May have been a dreary movie, but it never ceases to entertain me seeing others who came to the show for dumb entertainment, watch something bleak and serious like this, get the opposite of what they were looking for and don’t hide their verbal thoughts on the matter. Gets a laugh out of me every time, whether I agree with them or not.
Anyway, onto something that is anything but dreary…
Fuck the Care Bears. Fuck the American Bald Eagle. They ain’t got nothin’ on the American Rabbit.
A rabbit which is plain and white until it runs so fast its fur transforms into the American Flag, and its feet transform into roller skates. And he can fly, which kinda defeats the purpose of roller skates, but who the fuck cares! Flying is awesome, and roller skates are awesome! The American Rabbit is awesome! The 80s is awesome! Everything is awesome!
So what if the film gets a bit monotonous and some of the characters sound like they’re literally reading their lines in their sleep (especially the ape)? So what if the music rips off Superman (so does the character)? It has a rabbit transforming into the American flag with roller skates! And it was made in the 80s! How the fuck did I not hear about this until now? How the fuck did no one on Channel Awesome, especially the nostalgia critic, get on this shit?
Anyway, on a more serious note, if you are to track down and watch this movie (like on youtube), it’s better if you know a few things just to be sure I’m not busting your balls about some supposed hidden gem of animation. This film isn’t cheesy or ridiculous enough to be that big of a cult classic. The Brave Frog deserves more recognition for that than this film. Don’t get me wrong, the cheese is there, especially when you see the opening minute of the movie. And when he arrives at the bar to play the piano, just seeing all the signs there for all the bands. And a few lines here and there.
“You know, it seems like just the other day Rob you were out fooling around with your school pals.”
“That was just the other day dad.”
“Well there you are.”
Plus it’s great seeing a film like this where the world is populated with animals and no people. And I swear to God, Bunny O-Hare (yes, that’s her name in the movie), the love interest, Lola Bunny from Space Jam ripped this character off. She may not play basketball or do much other than talk in a sexy voice, but I still support that theory.
And the main villain puts on one of the most villainous speeches to rule all of villainy. Composed of entire sentences every cardboard cutout villain base their entire lives upon.
“We’re going to be bad. Muahahahah! We’re going to make life miserable for everybody we can. We’re going to torment people, and terrorize them. We’re going to lie and cheat and steal, and force everyone to live under our control.”
“Why would we do this, huh?”
“Because we’re evil you idiot! We are bad. That’s our job.”
Huh, seems like Suicide Squad ripped this off a bit too.
But despite the fun bits, it gets a little boring after a while seeing the same thing happen over and over again about 40 minutes into the movie, where his friends get into trouble, so he transforms into superrabbit to beat up the bad guys, stop giant boulders, waterfalls, and other some such stuff to save them over and over again. Granted, the film has a decent lesson to it; it’s not just about saving people, but encouraging them to be independent and stand up for themselves. They still need his help most of the time despite that message, but hey, it’s better than what those fucking Superman movies did (both old and new). And despite what the poster may indicate, this doesn’t seem to be preaching all-American patriotism and stuff. Probably because they had to compromise when they realized they needed Japanese artists to animate the damn thing in order for it to stand toe-to-toe with Disney flicks. It didn’t pan out in the end financially/popularity-speaking, but still. Maybe if someone did a fan-trailer of this film set to the theme song of Team America: World Police…
It’s fun, but not THAT fun. Fun enough to be worth a watch and for some laughs, but not fun enough to where you’ll be doing it as often as something like The Room or Troll 2. Maybe I should’ve watched it drunk or something.
But anyway, it’s a thing, it exists, and it’s worth watching the opening intro if nothing else just to prove to yourself this exists. And if I had seen it a few months ago, I bet I would’ve been able to keep my full-time job.