The Banana Splits Movie (2019)

banana splits movie poster 2019 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Points for originality

Does quite hit the balance it needs to

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Banana Splits Movie

Studio: Blue Ice Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 17, 2019 (San Diego Comic-Con)/August 27, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

banana splits movie robots snorky drooper bingo fleegle

The Banana Splits movie you’ve been demanding?

Something is wrong with the Banana Splits.  When Snorky loving Harley (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) gets tickets for his birthday to the live show at Taft Studios, his mother Beth (Dani Kind), his father Mitch (Steve Lund), brother Austin (Romeo Carere), and his new “friend” Zoe (Maria Nash) attend the show.  Unfortunately, new programming has sent the robots on a rampage and word that the show is being cancelled could mean the Banana Splits must ensure the show must go on…one way or another!

Directed by Danishka Esterhazy, The Banana Splits Movie is a sci-fi horror comedy.  The film is based on Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits TV series which aired from 1968 to 1970 on NBC.  The series premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con and before being released for streaming and purchase.  The film received mixed to positive reviews.

Though the show was already over years before I was born, I can remember watching (and loving) The Banana Splits.  The series was a riff on the popular Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (though in the film they reference The Monkees) and featured the characters telling jokes and dancing…it was all rather harmless.  When the trailer for The Banana Splits Movie was released, it was unclear if it was seriously a film or a joke…and when it was confirmed as real, I had to see it.

banana splits movie drooper flame thrower

Drooper says “Fire’s dangerous”

The movie is in a tricky spot.  Mid-40s to 50-somethings will remember the Banana Splits, but the audience is a much younger target.  The film kind of made the Banana Splits into more of a Blue’s Clues type show with a human host but maintaining the set type of production.  The film’s decision to make it the story horror was a great decision in that it was original…something that many of these remakes aren’t.  It also manages to do a decent (if not rather cliché) job of keeping the characters involved, separated, and free to be murdered.

The cast is rather ho-hum.  The younger members of the cast actually seem to do a better job than the older cast.  Steve Lund in particular does a horrible job “covering” that he’s a bad person (and feels like he’s delivering lines), and it isn’t believable that the family dynamic would have even lasted this long.  Dani Kind likewise comes off as dense for keeping her husband around and the film attempts to turn her into an action mom by losing her blouse for a tank top.  The kids (including Romeo Carere) are actually kind of likeable, and I do like Naledi Majola as Paige the Page…they feel a bit more natural.

banana splits movie snorky vs bingo

Snorky vs. Bingo…the fight 50 years in the making!

The movie also struggles a bit on the visuals.  For this high concept to work, I feel like it needs to be edgier.  The movie doesn’t skimp on the shedding of blood, but the sets kind of feel like left over sets from Full Moon Entertainment movies…and not the better ones.  It also couldn’t decide if the Banana Splits were supposed to act and move like robots or like actors in costumes.

The Banana Splits Movie certainly gets originality points (many believe it was originally meant to be the script for a live-action Five Nights at Freddy’s movie), and I’d love to see the Splits return.  I wish that some more relaunches would take chances like this with their source material, but I also realize that taking a chance can mean alienating the original fans and not being able to attract new fans.  It is a tricky balance, and The Banana Splits Movie makes it about 70% there.  Tra-la-la, la-la-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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