Osmosis Jones -- Good? (SPOILERS)
Jerry Beck of www.cartoonresearch.com fame posted up his comments on WB's OSMOSIS JONES. Here is what he had to say on it:
Traditional animators and fans of "2-D" cartoon features can breath a little easier. OSMOSIS JONES is great!
I saw OS last night at a private screening and am happy to report it works. It's funny, it's gross, with intentionally ugly (and brief) live action, and filled with gloriously beautiful character animation and sumptuous designs.
Simultaneously, the film is full of repellent images (mainly Bill Murray as he gets sicker and sicker) and some of the most gorgeous looking art direction I've seen in any recent animated feature. Likewise, the script bounces from low-brow gross-out humor (in the live action scenes) to some of the cleverest dialog and wittest gags (in the cartoon scenes) - and it all comes together fine!
For those who were disappointed with the character designs of SHREK and ATLANTIS, The good news is that OSMOSIS JONES is a sight for sore eyes. The film evokes classic Hollywood cartoon styles, both Disney and UPA, mixed with a pleasing contemporary art sensibility.
The story takes place in the body of Frank (Bill Murray) a widower who is eating himself to death. A virus (voiced by Laurence Fishburne of THE MATRIX (or "Cowboy Curtis" on PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE) fame) invades his body with the intention of breaking a speed record, by causing Frank's death within 48 hours. Osmosis Jones, a renegade white blood cell (Chris Rock) is teamed with Drix (David Hyde Pierce of Fraiser), a 12 hour cold pill to track down and destroy the killer. Their investigation is a spoof of all the buddy-cop crime films you've seen and they fall into many mis-adventures throughout the body (including trips to the bladders, bowels and nostrils). The Farrelly Brothers, who used semen to great effect in THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, use every other bodily fluid here (including mucus, vomit, flemm, an infected toe and a disgusting zit) in the live action footage, which will repell or delight depending on your point of view. It's acutally painful to look at Murray in these scenes, he's made up (I hope that's make up) to look very very ill - but that's part of the joke.
There is a wonderful climactic fight on top of Frank's eyeball, and a cliffhanging moment on an eyelash.
The film is in CinemaScope and the wide screen canvas is used quite nicely. Like Kurtzman's MAD, there are gags happening all over the screen, in the backgrounds, on the street signs ("Love Handles, Frank's fastest growing community!"), with numerous character types (underarm Mafia types, streetwise Hispanic germs, clueless TV reporters, etc.) and funny ideas in every scene.
The effects animation in the film deserve special mention - some of the best I've ever seen.
"So, Jerry, is there any downside to this picture?" Well, the obvious America OnLine plugs (I counted two) will have you groaning. And Warner Bros. having produced a good animated feature doesn't guarantee it any success (Remember the fate of CATS DON'T DANCE and THE IRON GIANT). There is a similiarity to MONKEY BONE in it's inner body/outer body story structure (I loved MONKEY BONE, but its mega-bomb reputation can't help this film if anyone else makes that comparison).
After the all the recent CGI monstrosities, and disappointing new directions at Disney, it's refreshing to see a real cartoon again.
Hmmm...will WB lay claim, again, to the best animated movie of the year, much like The Iron Giant?
have you seen the previews? it doesnt look too promising, but ofcourse i hope it is. it just looks cheesy and, i dont know, boring? but i always give animated films the benefit of the doubt and see them even if the preview sucks. but, if i were the wb i'd make a more inticing trailer, cause from what i saw, its making it hard for me to fork over 10 bucks to see it. peace.
--based on what I'm reading here and from what mixed and varying reviews I've read on Tomb Raider, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Mummy/ The Mummy Returns, Monkey Bone, Freddy Got Fingered, Atlantis, Shrek and such, I'm glad I have a satellite dish and don't have to pay ten bucks to sit amongst sticky floors and rude, foul-smelling crowds to watch garbage on screen. I can wait six months and watch garbage in the safety of my home.
Last edited by DR. BELCH; 06-22-2001 at 11:28 AM.
I don't care for the 'humor' spawned in such dreck as Something About Mary, so this is one I will definitely avoid. Sounds like a clever idea gone wrong, and I'm not eager to see animated features join the trashheap of lowbrow adult humor films. Thanks, but no thanks.
What has this reviewer got against the style of the current animated movies? I liked Shrek's character designs (tho the dragon with lipstick was a bit much). Some of the best emotional expressions I've seen in cgi are in this film. True, Atlantis looks like 101 Dalmations meets cgi from a first glance, but basically, people look like people. I've always preferred less cartoony and more realistic animation, myself.
And I wouldn't classify Shrek as garbage. It is well worth seeing. Because of the advancement of animation in such films as El Dorado, Titan AE and Shrek, my husband is actually becoming an animation fan. I haven't seen Atlantis, but I will (with hubby, of course), and I feel more positive about its entertainment value than I have about anything Disney has produced lately.