Like so many others, I found this movie strange and confusing the first few times I watched it. Gradually, I realized how some scenes began to have some relevance to the Monkees persona. After 16 years, I've began to interpret portions of the movie. However, what I also found is that not everything in the movie "stands" for something (as the guys point out in the "Ditty Diego War Chant").
I am going to review the movie using three interpretations: symbolism, a parody of movie genres and realization

I divided up the movie into 7 categories. The words in italics are what the scene is interpreting, exposing, evaluating and/ or exploring.
The chase (the bridge dedication): people drive them away, running from their image
Suicide and "Porpoise Song" song: ultimate solution for the guys to escape their image
Kissing the woman (who's the better kisser contest): the guys exposing the good clean image myth

The "Ditty Diego War Chant": tell what the guys really think about their image
"Gimmie W-A-R-!" chant: the guys being able to freely comment on the Vietnam War
Battlefield (foxhole): the guys being aware of social problems
Concert and "Circle Sky" song: the guys tired of keeping up their image
Mob of female fans and mannequins on stage: showing the guys are fake/ puppets, exposing the myth that they don't play instruments

Changing of TV channels:
the guys considered like one of America's fine industry of products
Micky in desert and fighting with the CokeŽ machine: commercial parody
Micky's boredom of the Italian army surrender: the guys bored with the same old thing
Arabian dancers and "Can You Dig It?" song: the guys were given anything they wanted behind the scenes

Film Studio
Western scene (walking through sets and out on a producer):
Micky wants out of the myth, what really went on behind the scenes, didn't like the same old thing
Davy playing violin and girlfriend: Davy wants out of the myth, people can't get enough of him
Cafe conversation (Ice cream cone that Peter doesn't want but won't throw it away): exploring Peter's philosophy
Davy in boxing match: Davy did everything people asked of him
Mike betting on the fight: the way that Mike deals with the image
Micky's paranoia: the way Micky deals with the image
Peter's seriousness (calming Micky down): exposing the myth that Peter is the dummy

Peter hits the waitress (unsure about it afterwards): Peter wanted to play on the albums and have more input on the scripts but gave in anyway
"As we go along" song (walking in snow, woods, a flower garden, and by the sea): each guy comes from different ways of life which are as different as the seasons, how commercialism can ruin an image

The Trap
Factory tour (people overworked): people worked very hard behind the scenes to make their image
The Black Box (dandruff commercial and vacuum): the silly things they did for the image
"Daddy's song" song and critic: Davy is the best choice for a solo career, pressure to conform

Cop questioning Mike, Micky and Peter:
the guys set free on their own terms
Military drill demonstration: Davy's draft scare exposed
Davy in the bathroom (Davy sees the red eye in the mirror, Peter's comment "Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor"):Peter doesn't take Davy seriously
The creepy mansion: the surreal images the guys encounter
Mike, Micky and Peter captured (chained up then the walls turn to reveal the cop questioning Mike, Micky and Peter): the guys up against the critics
Cop's striptease and vision ("The Cop's Dream"): a way to escape the false image
Telegram, Mike's surprise party and "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" song: exploring the lengths the guys go to in order to keep up the false image
Laughing at a cripple (public opinion on the punishment for it): what public opinion thinks about the false image
"Guilty" judgment and jail scene: the guilt that the guys feel about the myth

Fight Or Flight
Sauna and swami lecture:
Peter's philosophy explored
Girl attempting to jump off roof (Peter being ignored and Mike & Micky make bets): the brutality that a false image can do to someone
The Black Box thrown out of the sky: how much they are trapped in their image
Peter's philosophy: Peter's way of dealing with the image
Davy kicks and fights his way out of the box: Davy's way of dealing with the image
Changing TV channels: the guys find that they can't escape their image
Chased by cast and extras (bridge dedication scene): the showdown between them and the image
Tank: the guys tossed away like old props ready to be used again
Credits: Start rolling with a violin and string symphony, but as the credits continue the film begins to skip, buckle and eventually breaks. Also, noteworthy is that some credits were written backwards. A metaphor about the Monkees image in itself.

copyright MCMLXVIII by Raybert Productions

A Parody Of Movie Genres
Another way I evaluate this movie is how it parodies many movie genres.
For example:

The war movie: The guys in a fox hole during a battle, Peter going for ammo, The military drill while looking for Davy
The musical: Davy and partner's song and dance during "Daddy's Song", The "As We Go Along" music video
The action/ adventure movie: The guys being chased by the cast and extras
The desert saga: The Italian army surrendering to Micky
The love story: Davy and Teresa
A comedy: The guys as dandruff, The cop's striptease
A mystery: The "Big" Victor Mature, The ways the guys get out of the black box
A drama: Davy fights the champ, Peter's concern about hitting the waitress, Mike going to his surprise birthday party
A documentary: What really went on behind the scenes, Man-on-the-street interviews for people's opinion on what to do when someone is laughing at a crippled person, Micky and Mike break the "4th wall" during the filming of a western scene
A silent/ slapstick movie: Peter entering the cafe on a cow, Mike, Micky and Davy tied up to a conveyor belt going towards a shredder then Peter saves them

The last way I evaluate this movie is how the guys use the realization of their situation to learn about The Black Box (the false image). In early drafts, all 4 Monkees explored ways to escape The Black Box (the false image) but only Davy and Peter's ideas on how to escape The Black Box (the false image) were shown in the movie:

Peter uses meditation (using the belief that if you think you are trapped in The Black Box then you are trapped)
Davy fights his way out of The Black Box (using physical force to escape The Black Box)
Mike wheels and deals his way out of The Black Box (using his cool and easy style and manner to change the false image)
Micky who realizes the only way that they can escape The Black Box is by working together

Working together instead of 3 of them following one of the guy's idea to how to escape The Black Box leads the guys to push all four walls of The Black Box down. They find themselves in the desert with all the cast and extras. Micky takes the lead in running from the cast and extras. So, when they get to the bridge, Micky jumps- much to the shock of the others. Still keeping to this all-for-one-and-one-for-all idea Davy, Mike and Peter then jump. They escape the image at last.

Favorite Quotes and Scenes:
"A shot in the head, wow! Why not a shot in the arm or a shot in the leg? A sniper could be on top of that mountain and blow off the right half of my chest! Or a plane could come zooming through the pass and drop a bomb on us" Micky
"Hold It! This is for Life" voice as Peter's picture is being taken for Life Magazine while going for ammo
"You won't hurt my face will ya? Million dollar head this" Davy to Extra (Sonny Liston)
"Sounds like another supernatual baloney to me" "Supernatural perhaps, baloney perhaps not" David Manners and Bela Lugosi from "The Black Cat"
"My son what is it you have learned" "Make hay while the sun shines" Swami (Abraham Sofaer) and Rita Hayworth from "Gilda"
"Quick, suck it before it reaches my heart" "What heart" Testy True (Teri Garr) and Mike
"The music was pretty white" "So am I, what can I tell you" The Critic (Frank Zappa) and Davy
"Monkees are the craziest people" Cow
"The trouble with your life, my young friends, is that you make it exactly what you want" Inspector Shrink (Charles Macauly)
"Are you telling me you don't see the connection between government and people laughing at each other?" Poll taker
"Don't you see David? It doesn't matter whether we're in the box or not" Peter
"Where did he [Davy] get the cannon" Peter to Mike
The one smiling soldier as the mayor is inspecting the soldiers on his way to the bridge dedication
"The Ditty Diego War Chant" and the TV monitors showing future scenes
Lady Pleasure's (I. J. Jefferson) cute little giggle as she's leaving the pad
The "As We Go Along" video
The look of satisfaction when Micky blows up the CokeŽ machine and is seen surrrounded by harem girls
The shot of Davy and Peter at the fort eating grapes with the harem girls after Mike has them go for reinforcements when Micky, Testy True and himself filming a western scene with indians attacking them

My evaluations are compiled, in part, from what other fans have written about the movie that I have read from books or off the Internet. I always love to hear from other fans on their intrepations so E-mail me with your review.

It's the coming Back that bothers us
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