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Danishka Esterhazy
Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere
Writing Credits:
Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas

When their series gets cancelled, the robotic Banana Splits go on a killing spree.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 8/27/2019

• “Behind the Horror” Featurette
• ”Terror On Set” Featurette
• ”Breaking News” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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The Banana Splits Movie [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 19, 2019)

When Hollywood adapts old TV shows into movies, it tends to prefer two possible paths. Either these reboots offer fairly literal recreations of the source or they bring ironic updates.

And then there’s 2019’s The Banana Splits Movie. Whereas the original 1960s TV series brought light musical fun for little kids, the 2019 film opts for horror.

Though not “straight horror”, as the movie comes with some of the comedy and self-referential winks of films like 2002’s Scooby Doo. In the 2019 flick, The Banana Splits exists as kid-oriented TV entertainment that focuses on the music and hijinks of four humanoid animals.

Nine-year-old Harley (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) loves the show, so his parents arrange for the family to attend a taping. However, they do so minus one important piece of information: the network just canceled the series.

This doesn’t sit well with the Splits themselves. Upset with their impending departure from the airwaves, the robotic creatures embark on a killing spree that threatens Harley and his family.

I’m old enough to remember the original Splits series, though most – if not all – of those memories must come from syndication. I was barely three when Splits got canceled in 1970, and that’s too young to recall much.

I guess this puts me in the position of someone who should protest this radical reboot due to raped childhoods and all that, but honestly, I don’t mind the shift to horror at all – in theory, at least. Heck, I kind of like the decision to give the property a pretty massive change.

Again: in theory. In reality, however, Splits does surprisingly little to capitalize on its unusual premise.

This mainly leaves it as a wasted opportunity. Rather than take advantage of its odd, quirky potential. Splits winds up as nothing more than a witless gross-out movie.

Make no mistake: despite the focus on the kid-friendly characters, Splits earns its “R” rating. The film includes a number of violent incidents that don’t skimp on graphic mayhem.

That’s about all the movie has going for it, though I doubt even the gore-hounds out there will care. Splits manages no real cleverness in its kills, so it just ladles out gruesome material without inventiveness.

I can say the same about the rest of this leaden enterprise, as nothing about Splits delivers on the premise’s promise. The movie comes with a glacial pace that never uses the time well.

This means the movie builds characters in a general sense but doesn’t make them interesting, and no suspense results. We see violence that never impacts us because we don’t care about the generic roles.

The decision to develop the Splits as robots feels perplexing, really. Clearly the movie wants to deliver a Westworld vibe, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The same goes for everything else about this misbegotten mess. Clearly the filmmakers came up with the premise for Splits and didn’t bother with anything else, as this movie shows no other positive qualities that I can find.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

The Banana Splits Movie appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but unmemorable presentation.

Overall sharpness felt fine, though some mildly soft spots materialized. These didn’t dominate, but the image could seem a bit on the soft side at times.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.

In terms of palette, the film opted for an orange/amber feel much of the time, with some teal as well. The colors looked decent but they lacked much vivacity.

Blacks seemed a bit inky, while shadows could come across as a little dense. Nothing bad occurred here, but the image left me underwhelmed.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack didn’t do much to impress either. The soundfield managed to open up during action scenes, albeit in a less than fluid manner.

This meant that while the elements spread around the room with good localization, they didn’t blend together in a seamless manner. The soundscape added life to the proceedings but didn’t feel as natural as I would like.

Audio quality worked fairly well. In terms of dialogue, the lines remained acceptably natural and concise.

Music showed pretty good clarity and effects delivered decent punch. Those elements offered reasonable range and boasted fair bass response at appropriate times. Ultimately, this was a competent but unremarkable mix.

Three featurettes appear here, and Behind the Horror runs eight minutes, 21 seconds. It brings comments from director Danishka Esterhazy, Warner Bros. EVP Peter Girardi, director of photography Trevor Calverley, stunt supervisor Antony Stone, and actors Steve Lund, Dani Kind, Sara Canning, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carrere, Kiroshan Naidoo, Terry Sauls, Buntu Plam, Brandon Vraagom, Kori Clarke and Richard White.

“Behind” examines the reboot and its story/tone, violence and various effects and the Splits performers. Despite its brief running time, “Behind” manages a good collection of details.

Terror on Set lasts six minutes, 25 seconds and includes notes from Esterhazy, Girardi, Kind, Canning, Carere, production designer Bobby Cardoso, and actors Lia Sachs and Celina Martin.

“Terror” looks at set design and the color palette. Though a little superficial, the show comes with some decent insights.

Finally, Breaking News fills one minutes, 59 seconds and presents a phony TV news report about the movie’s events. It’s a cute form of promotion but nothing more.

The disc opens with ads for Joker and It Chapter Two. Trailers adds promos for Batman: Hush, Critters Attack and Curse of La Llorona.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Splits. It includes “Behind the Horror” and the trailers/previews but lacks the other two featurettes.

As a bloody update on an old children’s TV shows, The Banana Splits Movie comes with potential. Unfortunately, it can’t back up its clever premise with quality filmmaking, so it becomes a slow, tedious stab at horror. The Blu-ray brings decent picture and audio along with minor supplements. Very little about this movie succeeds.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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