At first glance I thought this was going to be a twee animation about baseball which I, like many other Brits, have no interest in. What interested me though was that it was Christopher Reeve’s last film (he partly directs). The truth is that this is a charming movie, with fewer self mocking moments which made Shrek so successful, and one which has so far slipped under the carpet unnoticed. The film did poorly when released, partly because it has nothing to do with Disney/Pixar, and partly because the cast lacks one truly BIG name. The cast is ok, with Goldberg, Reiner, and William H Macey, well acted and well suited to the parts. The animation is solid, and the score is good, again lacking some of the big hitters that Disney are known to pump out.
Baseball fanatic Yankee goes on a cross country journey to retrieve Babe Ruth’s lucky bat Darlin (Goldberg) after it is stolen. His father is blamed and fired from his job as janitor of the Yankees, and in getting the bat back, Yankee can prove his father’s innocence. It turns out that a rival team have stolen the bat in the hopes that this will stop the Yankee’s from winning the World Series.
The film’s fun comes from the relationship between bat, boy, and ball- the charm from the moments between boy and father. There are funny moments as the bad guy tries to steal the bat again, and the look and feel of 30’s America/Chicago is authentic. There is enough for adults to enjoy here, and while not as flashy and famous as other films of this kind, there is plenty for kids to like. Certain moments verge on smelly side of cheese and it is perfectly predictable, but as it is primarily a kids movie we can’t complain too harshly about that. A movie which doesn’t deserve to be swept away unseen.
I feel that I should warn anyone who was attracted to watching this movie by the name alone- This is not just a horror film- It’s the most terrifying, mind crushingly disturbing piece of art in history. After watching it I spiralled into a foul pit of depression for 17 weeks in which I spoke to no-one, said nothing, went nowhere, and felt only the knowledge of my own impending doom rushing inevitably towards me from all angles. I was enclosed in a tomb of hatred, an OLAP cube filled with emptiness, nine inch nails driven into my very soul, by eyeless creatures with no eyes whose only joy is ill-gained by their concentrated torture of the insane. There was not exactly darkness, but there was an all encompassing absence of light, of life, or breath; it was like existing inside the dying lung of a smoker, like swallowing cement, like choking yourself with the cold feet of a dead neighbour. Imagine a dream where you lose your shoes and have to tie Jennifer Lopez and Andie McDowell to your feet just so that you can push Bernie Mac up a vertical cliff face in a barrel.
After a few weeks I began to have visions of a new world filled with creatures called Burlapians in which I was an Alien slave recently released. Everyone spat on me as I walked by, and I wasn’t even allowed to enter a Burlapian café for a caramel square. Soon my despair began to manifest itself as boils on the inside of my eyeballs. These boils burst, sending my eyes out of my now devastated carcass of a face and onto the floor. Born from the boils of my despair was another race of miniature creatures which I named Rubtuckuryans, as I was delirious from the pain. I couldn’t see them as my eyes were lost, and even now I doubt their existence, but I felt that they were there and that they were mine, and so I commanded them. If you have never felt the sensation of 14 million little men running over your skin then let me tell you it is among the most exhilarating and revitalising experiences of life.
For the first time in my life I was at one with a larger society. I was their leader, but more than that, I was them and they were me. I was worshipped from all quarters as God, Mother, and Saviour, but by the Burlapian classes as a creature to be derided and shoved. One afternoon when the town was asleep, I sent my 14 million little soldiers on their first and final mission; one of which none could be certain of coming home. They entered the houses of each Burlapian and wreaked the most horrific forms of vengeance ever imagined. I felt sick at the carnage created by my hand. Sick with joy. Sick with sickness. There were many casualties, but the few survivors who stumbled back to me no longer felt a part of me. They had committed such acts that I could no longer fathom their existence and so I screamed to the heavens and launched myself off the nearest mountain top. I hit the bottom at around 150 miles per hour and splashed beautifully across the gray wilderness. At last I was happy and free. I could now come back to life. I woke with a start to find I had grown a bushy yet stylish beard and some odd bacteria between my toes. The TV license people had also assumed I was dead and so no longer send me a bill. So everything worked out in the end.
If you wish to avoid such a trauma then go watch The Exorcist or another less harrowing horror movie. This is too much; The way the hands merge with the clay; the way the spirits come screaming from the shadows to claim the newly dead souls as their own, ripping from our world onto the next; Whoopee Goldberg. Not for the faint hearted; not for anyone. A movie made by Frank after opening the box.
Best Scene: When Swayze is trying to jump through a wall but he doesn’t realise that ghosts are perfectly sold molecular creatures like the rest of us and he breaks his neck smashing into it.