Time to talk about The Joker's wealthy businessman brother again. I hate leaving fast food meals unfinished, because I know that if I don't polish it off now, this movie will end up getting shoved in the back of my refrigerator where it will stay until I pull it out five months later and find that literally nothing in the meal has rotted and, if left untouched, a McDonalds Big Mac could probably outlive me if it wanted to.
For those of you who read the first part and wondering just what was so scary about just camping in the woods, hold on tight. Because you haven't seen nothing yet. The worst has yet to come, and readers beware, because you're in for a scare.
When I last left Ronald McDonald and his freaky food friends designed to shill various products to the people in my household, their really uneventful (save for the bear) camping trip had taken a turn for the crappy when the weather suddenly turned disasterous. Because of the wind and rain, Ronald led his friends to a creepy haunted house, because it's not like their waterproof tents could protect them from those types of elements. Nah, it's much better to hike several miles through driving rain in pitch black darkness to a house that could be boarded up and abandoned.
But hey, anything to get them into a bona fide haunted mansion I guess.
...also, it kind of bears a slight resemblance to the house that appears in the opening sequence of "AAAHH!!! Real Monsters".
|That shark painting totally adds to the atmosphere of the room.|
|I'm half-expecting Wallmasters and Keese to pop up any second now...|
Well, that, and the fact that the movie pulls out all of the stops and tries to make this haunted house the best damn haunted house in cinema history and, to be honest, it's a pretty serious contender. Words cannot describe how much I want to live in this house. Such an awesome house and it's in this movie. Throughout the course of this song, pianos shapeshift into tables, carpets fly, inanimate objects move in and out of paintings, and overall frightening crap seriously goes down. My favorite part has to be the part where Grimace spots a monster hiding behind a door, partly because you have to freeze-frame in order to see the monster's face. To the movie's credit, it's legitimately trying to be spooky.
|It's the Burger King! Run!|
But I get over that once I find out that they're going to end the song by grouping together and screaming the final word up into the heavens. Man, that's so over the top, guys. You're in a freaking cartoon about hamburgers, not a Broadway musical! Try toning it down!
|...how would a McDonalds Broadway musical go? Now I'm curious.|
While sight gags that do nothing to advance the plot fill the screen with their blandness, Tika tries to coin a catchphrase for this show at the last minute. In her case, it's "We get tough and we get going", but everyone decides to ignore her. As they rightfully should.
...holy cow, do I want a room with that kind of a ceiling.
|"Why the hell did we invite her again, Ronald?"|
|Because this is what I think of when I order fast food.|
Never push and never pull,
You're finished when your plate is full,
Exercise your force of will,
You proceed by standing still.
...yeah, it's not anything The Riddler would use, I'll tell you that much. But hey, you can't have a haunted mansion without any disembodied ghost heads with really thick mascara on.
|That is one sleep-deprived ghost.|
But then, disaster strikes in the form of the Fry Kids who, up until now, have been just standing around and wasting oxygen. With the yellow one sporting the exact voice of Phil from Rugrats, the Fry Kids decide that they've been opening doors all their lives (and yes, they actually say this in the dialogue) so they're just going to disregard the riddle and try kicking the doors open. Go, Fry Kids! Fight the power!
But yeah, you can see where this is going, especially considering how the owner of this mansion didn't even try to conceal the outline of the inevitable trap door.They should be thankful that they're only dealing with Nameless Buttchin Ghosthead here and not Jigsaw or The Riddler. Otherwise they'd have to censor the resulting blood gusher that would erupt from the trap door.
|"Hey, guys! Let's all stand on top of this suspicious-looking section of floor! There's no way this could go wrong!"|
...why the hell would someone have a giant placemat as a carpet? Did the ghost head guy seriously not think of anything more clever than hiring Home Depot to install a freaking plate carpet in his house just so he can have "you're finished when your plate is full" in his riddle?
And yes, this is a really stupid riddle, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this clever when I was a little kid. Probably because, in a Ronald McDonald cartoon, you'd expect the riddles to be something like "What's delicious, contains no trans fat, and affordable?"
|I wonder if the McNuggets felt uncomfortable standing on a giant plate...|
|Sundae's face is going to haunt me for weeks.|
|"Ooooooh! What does this lever do?"|
This spontaneously generates a maze made out of mirrors. Hey, thanks, asshole.
|"Ronald, I think I'm having another episode!"|
...also, I have a question. Can Birdie fly? And if she can, why isn't she using that power to bypass some of the traps? Sheesh, Birdie, you have no room to complain if you're not actually helping.
|"For god's sakes, Ronald. My wings are completely vestigial! I can't work miracles with them!"|
...okay, I feel bad for thinking this, but I find it a little suspicious that Ronald has a relative that owns a giant hedge maze. It's probably wrong to assume that his whole family consists of clownfolk, but clowns and hedge mazes are not something that should mix. Ever.
|"He also owns a really nice hotel next to his hedge maze. The caretakers keep murdering their families in it though."|
There's not much to note about this song, other than the fact that Grimace and Ronald keep hallucinating and seeing random images out of the corner of their eyes. Oddly, not only do they see the serious ghost face, but they also hallucinate the Chicken McNuggets. So wait, if the McNuggets are haunting them, does that mean they died in that last trap...?
|This is what happens when all you eat is food packed with preservatives and cow hormones...|
...I wonder if they have tours in this place. Such toys should be shared with the whole community, even if keeping all of those mirrors sparkly clean would be such a hassle. I mean, sure, it's out of the way and it's smack dab in the middle of the forest, but that's nothing a little construction and deforestation can't solve.
|I think I've seen this movie before! I believe it was called "Cube".|
And who should arrive in this arena but the phantom ghosthead dude who, up until now, was only speaking to them in rhyme. Now he's showing them that he really can talk like a normal human being while he congratulates them on making it this far. I know he takes a sadistic glee in the fact that he's forcing random strangers that went into his house into "little games" for his amusement, but they did kind of break and enter. I'm sure it's within his rights as a landowner to mess around with trespassers for kicks.
|"I loved it when everyone nearly died in that shrinking room trap. I still can't believe you idiots fell for that."|
Yep, that's his name. Just Franklin. No Dr. Ghostistein or Sir Calamitous Disaster. Just Franklin. His friends call him Frankie.
|He doesn't look like a Franklin. He looks more like an Albert or a Simon.|
I love how, in response to this, Ronald merely says "See, Grimace? I told you they were alright." I love that he's not at all concerned with his friends' mental health as they're being held captive by a decapitated specter that likes to torture people with mazes and riddles to get his jollies off.
...wait. Franklin said they'd get their friends back, but he never said that they'd be alive or still in one piece. The fact that the friends missing happen to be sentient fries and chicken nuggets make this so much worse.
|"You wanna know how I lost my head? My father...was...a drinker, and a fiend. And one night, |
he goes off craaazier than usual..."
"What is it that the more you take out of it, the bigger it gets?"
Tika answers a restaurant (finally, some product placement!) and then tries to give a complicated explanation as to why that's right. I remember when she said that, I said "A hole! A hole! What is wrong with you?" to the TV set. Back then, I thought I had magic abilities that allowed the cartoons to listen to me, you see.
|Tika, why are you so useless?|
I love how Franklin takes a sick joy in what he does. Sure, he may be a ghost (or a hologram, considering it was hinted at several times that this house is very technologically based), but he's going to have fun with these assholes trespassing on his property. Serves them right for scuffing the floors.
|"The rules of our game have been made very clear. You need to abide by those rules."|
...well crap, now I ship it. Thanks a lot, cartoon.
|Every night in my dreams|
I see you, I feel you...
|"How will my family accept him? He's a convicted felon!"|
I love how even when he summons some wind in his ironic punishment for them, Hamburglar and Birdie never let go of each other's hands. That my friends is true love.
|The more I look at this, the more disturbed I get.|
Also, because I haven't pointed this out yet, I have to say that I really love the lighting in this entire scene. It's made obvious that Frankfurter is the light source, so you can track where he is in relation to the rest of the characters just by the highlights he leaves on their bodies. It's really cool and surprisingly inventive for a McDonald's cartoon.
|Oddly, I find Ronald way scarier than Franklin the Floating Sadist Head.|
"What costs nothing but is worth everything, weighs nothing but lasts a lifetime, and one person can't own but two people can't share."
This riddle is apparently so badass that we get weird camera tricks like 360 turnarounds Ronald and lightning bolts and crap like that. It's so powerful that when Ronald gives the answer, it causes the phantom to scream out in pain, for the answer is FRIENDSHIP!
Man, friendship is one hell of a weapon, defeating Franklin the Far-Flung Phantom (he IS the Far-Flung Phantom, right? Because otherwise they just dropped a plot point like midway through this movie) like that. One could even call it magic.
|Killer Klowns from Fast Food Places|
And Grimace comes out of the closet, saying that he's not scared because Ronald's here, filling the room with pure, unadulterated friendship. It is now that I'd like to point out that Grimace is completely stark naked and has, in his fear, been pressing up against Ronald this entire movie. Hey, het fans get Birdie/Hamburglar and the slash fans get Grimace/Ronald. Everybody wins!
...wait, if the riddles were also the traps, what would've happened if Ronald got his answer wrong? How would Franklin turn friendship into a weapon?
|I'm pretty sure Grimace is going to die of a massive coronary two months from now.|
...also how the hell did they not notice the TV camera earlier when there was more light in the room?
...well, that's a bummer. I don't know, but for some reason I would've preferred the idea that Franklin really was just a ghost, and after someone finally solves his riddle, he becomes their friend and fights crime as this giant creepy floating head that can summon obstacles based on what riddle he tells. Come on, tell me you wouldn't buy food from a fast food place that has a scary phantom mascot that lives in a haunted house. Compared to that, this reveal is such a letdown.
This scene also reveals that Tika and the McNuggets are traitors and were playing their clown friend like a cheap violin. I wonder if Ronald felt at all insulted that a good number of his friends don't respect him.
Oh, and see that kid with the really weirdly shaped hair and the baseball cap? That's Franklin. I can see why he gave his ghostly avatar Super Saiyan hair instead of the number he's sporting, because I cannot take that plume of curly hair seriously.
|"Okay, that does it. I'm summoning the meteors. Let's see that clown live through that!"|
|"Oh yeah? Well, I like Jack in the Box better! Suck on that, clown!"|
He's mad that his son wants to scare people instead of help people, which just causes me to shake my head. Uh, yeah. Dr. Quizzical? Your son's going to turn into a supervillain when he gets older. Just thought I'd let you know.
|If this guy can get laid, then anyone can.|
It's nice that Ronald is so trusting and benevolent, because if I was in his squeaky, oversized shoes I'd tell her where she can take that walkie talkie and shove it.
|I love how Ronald needs to have his name written on the back of his clothing.|
Also, how long have they been trapped in that mansion? It was dark when they went in, and it's still dark when they went out. Does time just move more slowly in McDonaldland due to high levels of cholesterol in the air?
Everyone laughs for no reason, Franklin is established as a new character in this series of direct-to-video productions, and sadly, we leave this colorful painted world and head back into dumb, boring reality where scary clowns with painted faces and animatronic dogs await us.
But I'm okay with that, because we get to see another clip of "Attack of the Dinosaurs" which consists of the best characters ever, disgruntled mad scientist and disgruntled mad scientist's assistant. Aw yeah. And, if anything, this scene is even better, because the mad scientist is bemoaning the fact that he had to sit on that dinosaur egg, which causes the woman to mockingly say "because of science" in an attempt to make the scientist feel bad. Ha ha, best movie ever.
|Why does his TV have legs.|
|The bone represents the number of people he's given heart attacks with his fast food.|
The Morals of this Movie
*If you pack tents and it starts to rain, abandon the tents and wander aimlessly through the woods until you find an abandoned house to take refuge in.
*Never go on a camping trip with Ronald McDonald unless if you want to risk getting eaten by bears or being trapped in a hall of mirrors for all eternity.
*If a ghost starts reciting riddles at you, leave the house immediately. It's not worth the trouble.
Okay, what's there to really say about this?
Well, for starters, it's not as bad as it looks. And this is really saying a lot, because a Ronald McDonald cartoon could never look like a good idea. I think part of it might be the fact that they hired a high-name company to do this production, but I honestly had fun watching it in some parts. The animation is pretty smooth, they have some clever ideas, and the haunted mansion obviously had a lot of thought put into it. Also, for a cartoon about McDonaldland, there is a surprising lack of advertisement. This movie honestly doesn't promote McDonald's at all, unless if you want to be cynical and say that Ronald being the hero is subliminal advertising in on itself.
But in the end, it's a cartoon about Ronald McDonald. This is a case where the premise and the characters they went with are what's hurting it more than anything else. You could remove the characters and keep the plot completely intact, leading me to wonder how well this would've gone if they went with a brand new cast of characters.
But despite all that, this cartoon has a certain charm to it that makes it fun to watch. I mean, there was a pretty good reason why this was in our batch of Halloween movies. Ronald's not completely annoying, several of the characters are at least kind of cool, and hey, if they continue to have plots such as this, then I'm in no room to complain.
So in short, stupid premise and it's a McDonald's cartoon, but it's oddly charming.
I'm just glad they didn't defeat the Far-Flung Franklin by shoving a hamburger in his face, because that probably would've set me off and cause me to fly into a VCR-murdering rage.