Although the weird blockbusters like ALIEN 3 and BATMAN RETURNS were a defining feature of summer ’92, it’s hard to overstate how much weird animation popped up in this little window between Disney reinvigorating the animated feature and anybody else figuring out how to get in on the action in a reasonable way. Earlier I reviewed the well-meaning environmental fantasy FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST and mentioned Don Bluth’s bizarre Elvis-rooster movie ROCK-A-DOODLE. Now I need to bring up two July releases that I skipped over because I’d previously reviewed them: COOL WORLD (co-starring Brad Pitt of JOHNNY SUEDE fame) and BEBE’S KIDS (written and produced by BOOMERANG’s Reginald Hudlin). Both were rated PG-13, which was very unusual for the time… and I guess would be now too, huh? BEBE’S KIDS is groundbreaking as an animated feature from a Black director and about a Black family. It’s also kind of cool that it’s adapted from a standup routine. And Tone Loc got more to do (voicing a fucked up baby) than he did in FERNGULLY (where he was a lizard).
I really want to direct you to my review of COOL WORLD if you haven’t read it, though, because this is a real headscratcher of a movie from indie/adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi, working with Paramount and making all kinds of concessions that might’ve turned it even weirder. Back then I liked it (or wanted to like it) enough that I saw it twice in the theater, then when I watched it five years ago to write that review I decided to retire from watching COOL WORLD. But in any study of the weirdness of summer ’92 it must be acknowledged.
Now let’s move on to two more distinctly befuddling animated features released, unsurprisingly, in August, the month of misfit movies. LITTLE NEMO: ADVENTURES IN SLUMBERLAND (onscreen title: just LITTLE NEMO) is a long-in-the-works Japanese-American co-production. It was a 1989 release in Japan, but we got it on August 21st, 1992. (read the rest of this shit…)