Re-Animated (2006) | The 2000s Were Lame
(WARNING: Rant ahead.)
Re-Animated is a P.O.S. Plain and simple, absolute P.O.S.
Now. That’s going to be the first and last time I refer to this movie in that way, because I have no plans of turning this blog into a swear-fest. So please, allow me to explain why I think this movie is that bad.
This is some sort of prank. It has to be. Because if this isn’t a prank, then NO ONE should have let this go through to completion. Not the writers, not the director, not the producers, not the actors, and certainly not the Cartoon Network staff. Because this is not like FRED: where the original character and series had a huge following and fan-base to build off of when it was picked up. Re-Animated is a completely untested concept, built from the ground-up and released by Cartoon Network in 2006: for some completely baffling reason. And do you want to know what the cardinal sin of this movie is? There is… no humor here. Not one iota of it.
Absolutely every single attempt at humor; whether trying to be legitimately funny, or trying so hard to be intentionally unfunny; is not funny. And because there’s so much “not funny,” there is absolutely nothing else to like about it. Dozens of characters are over-exaggerations of similar characters that you’d find in older cartoon series and sitcoms: like the father is a childish nut-ball; the mother has a bizarre, unexpected occupation; the sister is literally from Venus or some-such place, the token love-interest is the “picture” of feminine clichés; and our main hero, Jimmy, is an average kid lost among a sea of morons. How… completely 1990s.
Seriously, why are these character personalities still in use? And why are they so blatantly one-dimensional here? At least Arnold’s grandpa was kooky and wacky because he was going a little senile, and his grandma was adventurous and over-zealous because she wanted to stay young and fit and live in world of fantasy in her old age: but both of them still had a genuine love for their grandson and cared deeply for him. Therefore, you could sympathize with their antics. These characters don’t give two craps about their son.
I just… cannot fathom how something like Re-Animated, which looks like it was designed to be utterly cringe-inducing, could have made it past the story-pitching process.
Now, do you want to know what the premise of this story is? Because I’ll tell you:
It’s the story of how Jimmy, an average middle-school push-over, goes on an “educational” field-trip to Appleday Land, and gets hit by a train ride; where he is then taken to an on-site hospital for a brain transplant: giving him the brain of the long dead and frozen owner of the park, Milt Appleday (a parody of Walt Disney). Now, Jimmy has to learn to cope with his wacky parents, learn how to ask out his middle-school crush, Robin; while also having to get used to the fact that he can now see the famous Appleday cartoon characters where-ever he goes.
Now while that plot isn’t entirely beyond the far superior Disney Channel as far as TV movie plots go: you’re telling me that this movie also needed a childish and overly-embarrassing father; a mother who’s an astronaut who literally wears her space-suit around the house, an older sister who is actually an alien, and a blatantly obvious villain (much like Mr Crocker from Fairly Odd Parents) who is actually the son of the guy whose brain is now in Jimmy’s head?
I just don’t understand what the thought process was behind making Jimmy’s real-life world just as ludicrous and outlandish as the cartoon one he has been unknowingly given.
And do you want to know what’s worse? The dialogue is horrendous. I mean no hyperbole when I say that every line of dialogue makes me want to crush a can against my forehead. And I promise you that I don’t normally have this much of a problem with bad movies. But this is one exceptional case of “bad movie-idis.”
Every time a character opens their mouth, it’s just a flood of incoherent nonsense that has no purpose and comes from nowhere; especially when Jimmy talks to Robin. Because he just goes overboard with the stuttering, and the rambling, and the back-tracking on stupid things he accidently said. And let’s not forget Sonny Appleday, the villain of the picture, who shows up one day at Jimmy’s house asking to rent a room, and the father totally lets him come in and rent a room. And then while living in the house, Sonny is so “sneaky” and “covert” that he lets his true intentions slip before the entire family, tries to cover it up like a cat covers up a cat turd… and no one gives it a second thought. Ooooooohhhhhh! The utter hilarity.
I have a theory that this film was concocted from day-one to drive itself into the ground. There’s just no other way to look at it. I mean sure, there’s the off chance that it was designed to be cringe-worthy in order to poke fun at other horrible shows and cartoons. But when you do it THIS much, you’re not going to win any awards for poignant satire. More likely the project is going to turn into the poster child for all things “bad idea.”
(Sigh). Alright, so… I don’t want to harp on the film anymore, it’s getting exhausting. Besides, I think it’s pretty clear from looking at IMDB that the one person to blame for this mess was the director, who went on to do absolutely nothing else. And although the dialogue was a huge reason why this film was a failure, at least the two writers actually went on to work on better projects.
For instance, writer Timothy McKeon went on to pen scripts for Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Fish Hooks; and one of my newest favorites, Wander Over Yonder. And Adam Pava, while not doing really anything between 2007 to and 2013, was one of the two screenwriters for the upcoming stop-motion film, The Boxtrolls.
On the voice acting side, this is one of the few live-action roles that Tom Kenny has ever appeared in; and as always, his role is very brief. Tom also provides the voice for the (albeit phenomenally unfunny) penguin character, Tux. Carlos Alazraqui, who has had an enormous career spanning everything from Rocko on Rocko’s Modern Life, to Winslow from Cat Dog, Lazlo on Camp Lazlo, and the ever popular Mr. Crocker on Fairly Odd Parents; plays our resident Mickey Mouse character, Golly Gopher.
Ellen Greene, who played Vivian on the short-lived series Pushing Daisies, and also did the voice for Goldie in Don Bluth’s Rock-A-Doodle; plays Dolly Gopher.
And stand-up comedian/part-time voice actor, Brian Posehn, plays Crocco the Crocodile.
I can also say in all honesty that the amount of production design that went on is impressive. They really did take time and effort to build the unique pavilions and adornments that transformed what I assume is a Six-flags park into the Appleday Land park. They also built quite a few statues and fiberglass figures of the two Gopher characters, as well as multiple mascot costumes. And they even designed a few pages for a fake Appleday reference/biography book: along with multiple posters, stuffed animals, and other random memorabilia. Now if only the cartoon characters and their adventures were actually fun to watch, then all of this work would have amounted to something: such as potential merchandising.
The animation is also acceptable, but not worth a lot of fuss. It’s a lot more lively than Johnny Test, but not as unique as Fosters, and isn’t nearly as lively or fun as Wander Over Yonder.
Sadly, Dominic Janes, who played the titular Jimmy, did go on to be a regular on ER as Alex Taggart, and apparently played Young Dexter on Dexter; but didn’t go on to much else by 2009: where he seems to have dropped out of the acting business.
I suppose in the end, it’s pointless to get this angry about this film; because films like this have surely been given their due criticism already. But just like anything else; one day, people will discover them again; and they’ll have their own thoughts to spill, as I do mine.
Re-Animated really did have a novel concept. A boy gets hit in the head and he sees cartoon characters. There’s definitely “some” potential there. The question is “how to adapt it to make the most sense while also not over-thinking it?” Unfortunately, they didn’t take that approach here, and went all out on the cartoonish approach to everything. You can’t take anything seriously because no one here is genuine. Not even the cartoon characters.
In fact, this film could have used the toons as the straight men, while Jimmy and his entire home town are the wacky and insane ones. That at least would have been the beginning of an interesting twist on logic.
The movie unfortunately spawned a single season of a television series that picks up right where the film leaves off. All of the lame gags, flat jokes, and lousy dialogue still exactly the same. But at least it was quickly cancelled.
So unlike most of my reviews, good and bad: do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch this film. Don’t buy it, don’t rent it, and don’t look it up. They only thing it will offer you is a headache.