The Banana Splits Movie is a 2019 American horror comedy film directed by Danishka Esterhazy and written by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, based on the 1968 Hanna-Barbera children's television series The Banana Splits. The film stars Dani Kind, Steve Lund, Finlay Wotjak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Sara Canning and the voice of Eric Bauza. The plot follows a family attending a live taping of The Banana Splits television series, but trying to survive when the titular characters become murderous upon learning of the cancellation of their show, starting a killing spree around the studio.

The Banana Splits Movie premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 18, 2019, and was released via Blu-ray and DVD on August 27, 2019 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; it received generally positive reviews from critics and is scheduled to air on the Syfy channel on October 12, 2019.

Plot

Harley Williams is a huge fan of The Banana Splits, a successful children's television series featuring four animatronic characters — Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky — and their co-star Stevie. For his birthday, Harley goes with his family and his classmate Zoe to a live taping of the show. At the studio, they meet several audience and staff members.

Andy, the new vice president of programming, informs the show's producer Rebecca that the show is being canceled: this will be the final recording. A drunk Stevie tells the Banana Splits while revealing his hatred for them. The characters' settings go haywire, with Bingo kidnapping Andy, and Drooper stabbing a lollipop into Stevie's throat, killing him.

Outside the studio, Harley's mother Beth learns that her husband Mitch has been cheating on her with his secretary. Snorky afterwards chases and runs over Mitch with one of the Banana Buggies. Meanwhile, super fans Thadd and Poppy explore around the studio and happily get engaged, but Fleegle murders Thadd, sawing him in half. When he tries to do the same with Poppy, he hears Harley and Zoe trying to find Snorky and takes them to the backstage where the characters were built, trapping them with aspiring young performer Parker, who was kidnapped by Bingo after Drooper burned her father Jonathan's face when they were searching for Rebecca and Andy for an audition.

Beth, her older son Austin, Paige the page, and Rebecca find a seriously injured Jonathan. While Beth and Austin are looking for the kids, Austin gets attacked by Bingo, but Beth manages to defeat him. After that, they convince Poppy to join them. Backstage, Harley, Zoe and Parker meet Karl, the man responsible for the Banana Splits' creation, and beg him to let them out. Drooper comes dragging Bingo, causing Karl to get distracted; the kids are able to escape and lock him in his own cell while fleeing. In her office, Paige discovers that all phones have been destroyed. At the same time, Rebecca and Jonathan are captured by Fleegle and Drooper, who force them to participate in an obstacle course from the show to escape, but when they reach the end, they are killed by Fleegle and Drooper.

While looking for a way out, Harley, Zoe and Parker come across Snorky. Harley attempts to convince him to help them, and Snorky redeems himself. Beth, Austin, Paige and Poppy arrive at the backstage to ask Karl how to stop the Banana Splits. He doesn't provide any information, but the group hear music coming from a hatch in the floor. Everyone goes down, except for Poppy, who notices the mask of an unused fifth Banana Split named "Hooty" which Karl was building. Losing her sanity, she puts on the mask and kills Karl as revenge for Thadd's death. Underground, the group find a pile of all the audience members and studio's staff corpses, and that Fleegle and Drooper have been entertaining chained and crying children with violent and gruesome things, such as burning Stevie's dead corpse and brutally ripping Andy's limbs off.

Snorky arrives and chains Harley, Zoe and Parker with the other kids. He secretly gives Harley the keys to the chains to free them. Parker guides all the kids to the exit while Beth, Austin and Harley manage to kill Fleegle and Drooper. They run towards Paige and Zoe to reunite with each other, only to be cornered by Bingo. Snorky appears and has a fight with him, but Bingo overtakes him and rips out his heart. However, Snorky is able to crush Bingo's head, killing him. A tearful Harley comforts Snorky by telling him that he will always be his favorite character, before he dies.

As the police arrive to attend survivors, Austin and Paige start a romantic relationship, and Beth divorces Mitch (who survived his previous encounter with Snorky.) Mitch is left behind when everyone leaves the studio, and ends up getting run over again by the Banana Buggy, this time killing him. The vehicle is driven by Poppy, who has the Banana Splits' remains in the back. While she drives, Fleegle is seen reactivating and then laughing maniacally.

Cast

  • Dani Kind as Beth Williams, Harley and Austin's mother and Mitch's wife, who attends the live taping of The Banana Splits television series for Harley's birthday.
  • Steve Lund as Mitch Williams, Harley's sarcastic father, Austin's step-father and Beth's husband, who was secretly cheating on her.
  • Finlay Wotjak-Hissong as Harley Williams, the youngest son of Beth and Mitch, half-brother of Austin and huge fan of the Banana Splits, especially Snorky.
  • Romeo Carere as Austin Williams, Beth's older shy son, Mitch's step-son and Harley's half-brother, who is also a fan of the Banana Splits, and accompanies his family to the studio.
  • Sara Canning as Rebecca, the producer and stage manager of The Banana Splits television series.
  • Eric Bauza as the voice of Fleegle, Bingo and Drooper, the main animatronic protagonists of The Banana Splits television series, who go on a murderous rampage after learning of the cancellation of their show.
    • Snorky is the fourth member of the Banana Splits. Unlike the other three, Snorky is mute, vocalizing only in honking sounds, and during the climax he redeems himself for the sake of helping Harley.
      • Bauza also voices the announcer of The Banana Splits series.

Production

On February 19, 2019, Warner Bros. Television Group's Blue Ribbon Content division announced that it is collaborating with Blue Ice Pictures on producing a film adaptation of The Banana Splits television series, which would take place in a horror-like setting, scheduled to premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 18, 2019, to be released direct to streaming through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on August 12, 2019, on DVD and Blu-ray on August 27, 2019, and to air on Syfy on September 21, 2019. Danishka Esterhazy was hired to direct the film, based on a script written by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas.The film was rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "horror violence and gore", marking it as the first film adaptation of a Hanna-Barbera or Sid and Marty Krofft property to receive this classification.

On June 13, 2019, when Syfy Wire released the official trailer for the film, some drew comparisons to Five Nights at Freddy's. Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy composed the score for the film, as well as his version of The Banana Splits' theme song.

Reception

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 71%, based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.

Kat Hughes of The Hollywood News praised the film and its direction, saying "Danishka Esterhazy proves the breadth of her directional range. The Banana Splits is a fun-filled, cacophony of zazy deaths and characters, that plays out as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for grown-ups". William Bibbiani of Bloody Disgusting gave a positive review saying that the film "offers a satisfying sequence of slasher slays" but that it "relies so much on cognitive disconnect that never feels like more than an ironic kill count".

Reviewer Jim Johnson, writing for Comic Book Resources, wrote that "it's a bold move that works, because, here in 2019, there's really nothing better to do with the Banana Splits. And it's not like anyone else had a better idea" Russ Burlingame of ComicBook.com praised the performances and script, saying "The Banana Splits Movie will be controversial — especially among those who still have a fondness for the original series — but it mostly sticks the landing, buoyed by a great cast, script and crew".

Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, writing that it is "far less crazy than it wants to be and far more soporific than a synopsis would suggest". Mike MGranaghan of Aisle Seat gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, writing "When it's doing what it's supposed to do, The Banana Splits Movie has some definite novelty, value. Unfortunately, that's only about 50% of the time, tops".

See also

References

External links

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