The Banana Splits Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
Last night was the Syfy debut of one Banana Splits movie. Based off the kid’s show from the 60’s and 70’s. Never watched the show. Nor have I played five nights at freddy, but get the jist of the game. but after seeing just one trailer of the bloodbath carnage from the robotic mascots. Knew I had to watch this movie. Went in expecting a wild, carnage candy filled ride, with sprinkles of bad acting along the way. The classic B movie charm kind of deal. After it was all over. Had to sit back and think it over. Very much on the fence on which way I wanted to go. Let’s break things down and try my best to explain why I landed on where I finally ended up.
The movie starts out by introducing the family starting with Mom Beth, youngest son Harley, older rebellious son Austin, and Dad to Harley and Step-Dad Mitch. The night before Harley’s birthday, and they got him tickets to go see the Banana Splits. Harley’s favorite show. He friend can’t go so Beth gets another kid Tina, who doesn’t want to go because Harley is both weird and not her friend. She goes anyway. Once there, you get the cliched old timer warning them about the robots moving on their own, and we meet the characters in the crowd that we will be following along. Got Thad and Poppy, the social media users. Parker and her Dad, who is obsessed to get his talented child in front of a producer to have his dream of living through his daughter. Meanwhile, you got the backstage workers, Paige and Producer Rebecca, who is informed by the V.P that this will be the last Banana Splits Show. This conversation also happens in front of Drooper, one of the robotic who is being updated with the rule, the show must go on. Which sends them on their homicidal pursuit. Killing the parents and workers they come across and kidnapping the children so they can continue the show.
On to the positives side of the ball, we have the acting which for the most part, did a pretty decent to good job. Especially, when most of them are fairly new to acting in general, in the case of Naledi Majola who played page, this is her first credited role. Yet, she did a fairly good job as Paige. Finlay Wojtak-Hissong did a wonderful job as Harley. Who had to play the kid who knew all about this show, and liked how they handled it, with his love of the mascot Snorky being so much that it turned the elephant good and felt sad for Harley when Snorky died protecting them from his last Mascot brother. I almost made Romeo Carere’s Austin a negative, till I thought about it a little. He always looked down and spoke slow and nervous. Like he was constantly second guessing and kind of hated when he had to talk, but then it dawned on me. Of course Austin would. He lost his real father. Mitch was a jerk to him, and it screwed him up. He wanted to be a good brother to Harley and loved his Mom, but was internally screaming for help. Romeo pulled it off really quite well, and I think Dani Kind really stood out as Beth. Hard-fighting Mom who was trying to save her family. Despite her being outmatched by the Banana Splits, she felt like the only one who could stand up to them. Her decking Mitch at the end, felt like the right way to send her off with. Speaking of the Banana Splits; Terry Sauls, Brandon Vraagom, Kori Clarke, Buntu Plam were those sporting the costumes. Bringing the Banana Splits to life and they did a good job. Can’t imagine how hard it must of been to work in the costumes, but hats off to their performance.
I loved the gore in this movie. Really utilizing the props around a Kid’s television set to make for some comical kills. Had no problem showing the money shots. Lingering on some a little longer than necessary, but still effective. They made the Banana Splits extra brutal too. Not only did they take out most of the backstage workers, but every parent who we thought left, and the Page who was escorting them out. Along the old man guard at the gate. We didn’t see their demise, but the aftermath was devastating Had two good example of foreshadow kills, which I always love and welcome every time. Steve’s death, as fun as it was, bothered me because of the obvious question of how did this happen, but was probably also the best kill so don’t question it too much. The robotic sound effects of the robots was a nice little touch, and the Tra La La music intro was created by monsters, and will haunt me to the grave. So thanks for that.
Now, we got to dissect the negatives and the story is one large negative. My god, they couldn’t possibly have made this more cliche. Three minutes after meeting Mitch, you can see they are setting him up to being one you want to be killed. I don’t have issue with that, but wow they throw it all on him. You can even predict that he is going to be cheating on Beth even before they start to hint at it, because he is just such a jerk to everyone. They really didn’t need to do this. You can root for him dying just by the way he treats Harley and Austin, and he is not even the only one they do this with. The social media users were obnoxious and way Parker’s Dad was trying to live through his Daughter. They spent so much time just making us hate characters they want to kill, instead of creating ones we like, and feel bad for losing.
Then you get stupid decisions on characters are turned all the way up here. There was a scene where Rebecca tried to runaway, by running directly into one of them. Snorky walks away, in front of them, yet no one notices him wonder off. Then Poppy doesn’t follow them down the ladder, but nobody realizes it for a while, and never question it again. I get that is what goes into a B movie, or any movie really, but they could have had the same effect by changing just a little. Like Rebecca running a different direction and being intercepted by another. Much like the cliches. Just wish they would have spent some time to polish out the script a bit more.
The ending though, was really rough because they just had to go down the dumbest route they could go. All they had to do, was have Beth pop Mitch in the face, turn, walk toward the camera, hit the unlock button the car and go to black. Showing the story come around and everything would be fine. No, we get everyone leaving, with Mitch chasing the ambulance, cause of course a paramedic and police would leave an injured person on the ground. Only to be hit by the Banana Car, being driven by Poppy wearing the sister mascot suit. Towing the rest of the Banana Splits to who knows where. Singing their song, and Droopers eyes turning on. I don’t know why they felt this was the way to go. Cause none of it made any sense. Even kind of robbed Beth’s comeuppance on Mitch for the a final ha ha kill. That they had already done. This ending was such a pour way to go and left me cheated of something better.
Despite, the ending, cliches, and stupid characters. I would suggest giving Banana Splits a shot though. If you were a fan of the show growing up. This will give you a rather twisted look on your childhood characters. If you didn’t, there is still a bit of fun to be had with the carnage candy and fun ride along the way.
Thank you for reading.