Deeply Disturbing 2.5 Stars

The Banana Splits Movie is just so wrong on so many levels. I have one question to the producers – Why?

The Banana Splits (2019)
Released: N/A
Rated: N/A
Runtime: N/A
Director: Danishka Esterhazy
Genre: N/A
Cast: Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Steve Lund
Writer(s): Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas
Plot: N/A
IMDB rating: N/A
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 29 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 08/27/2019
MSRP: $24.98

The Production: 2/5

When I first saw the trailer and press release for The Banana Splits Movie, I initially thought this must be some new trailer parody on Funny or Die. I so wish that were the case, but no, this is a “real” movie now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and various streaming services, and set to premiere on SyFy later this Fall.

It is young Harley’s (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) birthday, and to celebrate, his family is taking him to a taping of The Banana Splits, his favorite TV show that somehow is still on the air 50 years after it premiered. Unbeknownst to the audience, the show has been cancelled by Andy (Daniel Fox) the network’s new Vice President of Programming minutes before the show is about to begin. One of the Banana Splits, Drooper, overhears the cancellation while being reprogrammed (apparently the Splits are robots, not actors in suits!), and misinterprets the phrase “the show must go on,” prompting him and the rest of the Splits to go on a killing spree.

For those that may not remember, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was a real show that aired Saturday mornings on NBC from 1968-1970. It was a variety show created by Hanna-Barbara, featuring the Banana Splits as hosts, who would perform musical numbers and skits as interstitials before introducing animated or live action serials, such as Arabian Knights, The Three Musketeers, Micro Ventures, and Danger Island (directed by Richard Donner). The show uses the characters of the Splits – Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snork –  but turns the show into something more as a cross between Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Double Dare, adding a human character named Stevie (Richard White) who tires of being second banana (pun intended) to a bunch of robots. Using the show as a backdrop for a bunch of robots gone haywire and gruesomely murdering cast, crew, and audience members trapped within the soundstage, in my opinion, was just a bad idea. Would the movie have worked if they had used a fictional TV show? Not likely, as the acting is often over the top, as is the gore, and the story and characters are your stock slasher types – the selfish step father Mitch (Steve Lund), the clueless mother who must rise to the challenge Beth (Dani Kind), the weird kid Harley, the misunderstood older brother Austin (Romeo Carere, who is made up to look like The Monkees’ Micheal Nesmith), the evil scientist Karl (Lionel Newton), the obsessive fans Thadd (Kiroshan Naidoo) and Poppy (Celina Martin), etc. Director Danishka Esterhazy (Level 16) and writers Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas (Malibu Rescue) milk the single joke of a kids show turned R-rated horror movie for the full 89 minutes, which is 88 minutes too long.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

The Banana Splits was shot digitally, and the results are rather disappointing. There is a haze that permeates the film throughout, which at first I thought was my display, so I checked the contrast settings which were normal and untouched, so it is definitely either in the source material or an intentional creative choice. This haze causes the image to appear soft, which affects the fine details like individual strands of fur that often look clumpy. Colors are vibrant although not quite to the level of the original TV show. But then again, this is a direct-to-video release that is destined to premiere as a SyFy Saturday Night Movie.

Audio: 3/5

The Banana Splits Movie features a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that is disappointing for a horror film. This is a very front and center heavy track, playing it safe for broadcast on television. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout, but surrounds are rarely used for anything discrete besides adding ambience to the scene. LFE is average, about what you would expect from a weekly television show.

Special Features: 2/5

The Banana Splits: Behind the Horror (1080p; 8:21): The cast and crew discuss how creepy the original costume designs were and how they naturally lend themselves to a horror film.

Terror on Set (1080p; 6:25): Director Danishka Esterhazy, Executive VP of Blue Ribbon Content Peter Girardy, and Production Designer Bobby Cardoso discuss the set, costume, and overall production design of the movie.

Breaking News! – The Banana Splits Massacre (1080p; 1:59): A series of TV news briefs about the events in the movie.

DVD Copy: The movie in 480p with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus The Banana Splits: Behind the Horror featurette.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 2.5/5

What would have likely been funny as a trailer parody has been stretched beyond its limit to an ill-conceived 89 minute R-rated feature that I fear many parents or grand parents who lovingly remember the original series may unwittingly rent at the local Redbox for the kids and be in for a major surprise and shock. For the curious, I’d suggest waiting for the SyFy broadcast later this year.

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Todd Erwin

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B-ROLL

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Thank you (?) for enduring this for the rest of us.

Something tells me there was a script for the BS era that was in turnaround and this was the eventual result. :(
 
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Colin Jacobson

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I think the movie has a clever idea - it's more creative than a straight reboot - but the execution is terrible.

Also not sure what the audience is. Anyone old enough to remember "Banana Splits" wouldn't want to watch a movie like this!
 

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Between this and The Happytime Murders, while I can understand on some level the desire to be subversive with traditionally "children's" programming, there's really nothing subversive here; just crassness for crassness' sake.
 

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This movie should have been called, "We Didn't Have the Rights to Five Nights at Freddy's." The people who greenlit this need to be kept away from being able to do such a thing ever again.
 

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Per Warner Bros. website:
Blue Ribbon Content is Warner Bros. Television Group’s digital series production unit, continuing the Television Group’s commitment to create new and compelling programs for the digital marketplace. BRC is charged with developing and producing live-action series for digital platforms, tapping the creative talent already working at the Studio while also identifying opportunities for collaboration with new writers and producers. In addition to live-action programming, BRC produces animated content and is also experimenting with emerging platforms such as virtual reality.

BRC’s slate includes original program concepts as well as new shows based on Warner Bros. Entertainment’s wide-ranging collection of intellectual properties.
Sort of sounds like BRC is allowed to pillage any IP that is owned by WB.
 
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Stephen_J_H

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I watched it courtesy of my cousin's Plex server. Glad I didn't spend any money, but that's 90ish minutes of my life I'll never get back. It's Happytime Murders bad.
 

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OK... I'm a 60s kid and watched The Banana Splits Adventure Hour during first run. There was *nothing* else on. The "Banana Splits" were horrid with the best parts of the show the misc. cartoons/serials they introduced. It gave me a life-long opinion that Sid and Marty Krofft are hacks that somehow manage to sell pure crap on a cracker to the networks. I was under the impression this was a long lost movie done at the time and couldn't understand why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. Then I find out it's not - it's a new movie - a horror movie - based on the characters - and wonder just why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. I can't see it even playing off nostalgia from anyone who might have actually liked that show.

In spite of that I have a twisted compulsion to watch this steaming pile...
 

Stephen_J_H

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OK... I'm a 60s kid and watched The Banana Splits Adventure Hour during first run. There was *nothing* else on. The "Banana Splits" were horrid with the best parts of the show the misc. cartoons/serials they introduced. It gave me a life-long opinion that Sid and Marty Krofft are hacks that somehow manage to sell pure crap on a cracker to the networks. I was under the impression this was a long lost movie done at the time and couldn't understand why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. Then I find out it's not - it's a new movie - a horror movie - based on the characters - and wonder just why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. I can't see it even playing off nostalgia from anyone who might have actually liked that show.

In spite of that I have a twisted compulsion to watch this steaming pile...
Don't. As bad as the original Splits were, this is worse.
 

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OK... I'm a 60s kid and watched The Banana Splits Adventure Hour during first run. There was *nothing* else on. The "Banana Splits" were horrid with the best parts of the show the misc. cartoons/serials they introduced. It gave me a life-long opinion that Sid and Marty Krofft are hacks that somehow manage to sell pure crap on a cracker to the networks. I was under the impression this was a long lost movie done at the time and couldn't understand why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. Then I find out it's not - it's a new movie - a horror movie - based on the characters - and wonder just why anyone would want to watch that kind of dreck. I can't see it even playing off nostalgia from anyone who might have actually liked that show.

In spite of that I have a twisted compulsion to watch this steaming pile...
Don't. As bad as the original Splits were, this is worse.
If you are in a rush to torture yourself, the movie is available at Redbox. If you can wait, it is set to air on SyFy next month.
 

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If you are in a rush to torture yourself, the movie is available at Redbox. If you can wait, it is set to air on SyFy next month.
I'm absolutely in no hurry. I participate in a Horror Movie watching challenge on another site in October. If I watch it at all it'll be next month. It's also on Amazon for rental so I *might* waste a few "free digital credits" on it... don't know and I really hate to do that on crap movies so... I might reconnect my TV to cable for a SyFy airing (I still have cable for my wife but it's not connected to my set).
 

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Even if it had been tried and failed, Seth MacFarlane's aborted reboot of The Flintstones couldn't possibly have been worse.

Per Warner Bros. website:

Sort of sounds like BRC is allowed to pillage any IP that is owned by WB.
"Pillage" is the word for which "reboot" is a euphemism. Were they the same division responsible for putting Tom and Jerry in a shot-for-shot Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory remake?
 
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The end is Nigh :excl::emoji_fearful: ... :( I checked out the electronics section of Wal*Mart and they had two slots for the Banana Splits film. The blu-ray one was empty!!! And the DVD one still had copies left.

I'm thinking some poor grandpa is going to invite the grand-kids over for a fun time and then ...

Sigmund Freud himself wouldn't be able to undo the mess to the little tykes' psyche. :emoji_poop::emoji_pouting_cat:
 

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If the filmmakers had been clever, they'd have mentioned Bob Marley at some point! :D
I imagine the executors of Bob Marley's estate (not to mention his son Ziggy) would rather he not be associated with this.
 

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OK... I'm a 60s kid and watched The Banana Splits Adventure Hour during first run. There was *nothing* else on. The "Banana Splits" were horrid with the best parts of the show the misc. cartoons/serials they introduced.
There was another show that featured a villain that called herself Witchy Poo. What sort of self-respecting villain calls herself Witchy Poo?