Back in the day it wasn’t too common when movies had humans and animated characters coexisting. Cool World certainly brings it on a more adult level compared to most live action/animated films. When I first heard about Cool World back when it was new in the early 90s, the first thing that came to my mind was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Just for the record, I’m going to be referencing that movie quite a bit in this post.
As the story goes, back in 1945 soldier Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) returns home from war. Then after a huge tragedy, Frank gets transported from the real world to Cool World, thanks to scientist Dr. Whiskers. Now Frank lives out his life among the animated citizens as a police officer.
The ability to go to the different worlds is not as easy as driving to Toon Town. In fact, the only other human to end up in Cool World is cartoonist Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne), who created Cool World as a comic book series. However, Jack doesn’t go back and forth on his own.
One major difference between Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Cool World is the terminology for humans and animated characters. Instead of being labeled as people and toons, they’re known as noids and doodles. Now which labels would you prefer?
The doodles remind me of 1930s style toons, but not cute and funny. They’re more weird and creepy. Random objects fall from everywhere and everyone is beating each other up. Anything goes in that world except one thing. Noids and doodles must never sleep together. Frank sees to that and oddly he hasn’t aged a bit during his 47 years living in Cool World.
Here’s something else that’s unusual. Doodles can actually be absorbed with a ballpoint pen. After seeing that happen to Frank’s partner Nails the spider, I actually found that creepier than a toon being dunked in a vat of dip.
The main antagonist is sexy femme fatale Holli Would (voice of Kim Basinger). She loves to dance at dance clubs and everyone there loves her. Holli’s ambition is to travel to the real world, even if it means to break the one rule. Apparently, the only interest Frank has for Holli is the means to arrest her by catching her doing “criminal activity”.
Eventually, Holli succeeds in making her dreams come true with Jack’s help and she becomes human, but it leaves unusual side effects on both of them. At least this explains the reason for the one rule.
Holli believes that the key to curing her is the legendary spike of power that’s hidden on top of a casino in Las Vegas, but removing the spike would cause both worlds to be destroyed. Now it’s up to Frank and Jack to stop Holli before she causes any more damage. Is she mad with power or what?
This was a good film that seems to have followed the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a live action/animated movie. I didn’t realize until much later when I realized that Ralph Bakshi, the director of Lord of the Rings and Wizards, directed Cool World. That sure explains a lot about the animation style.