After escaping from a pair of gun totting C.I.A. agents with some help from Abe Lincoln and his Abe Force One rocket, Master Shake, Meatward and Frylock return to their home in New Jersey where Shake decides to steal Carl's exercise machine (which he bought at a garage sale), the Insane-O-Flex. It seems that Shake and Meatwad want to score with chicks and Carl's machine is the way to make that happen, though Meatwad's initial attempt to lure the ladies out of hiding by putting on a rock show and shooting kittens out of cannons was at least a novel attempt.
Frylock gets the Insane-O-Flex almost completely assembled for his roommates but runs into a snag when it turns out that one key part is missing. By checking out the original shipping address the Aqua Teens track down what they assume to be the location of the missing part... Doctor Weird's laboratory, which is being turned into condos. To further complicate matters, the Mooninites and the Plutonians, with some help from the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past, are all after the missing part as well. Once the Insane-O-Flex is finished, however, things take a turn for the worse when the exercise machine involves into a dancing machine Hell-bent on destruction with Carl held hostage inside the confines of it's hip where he's forced to exercise non-stop. Oh, and Neil Peart (playing himself) has been shrunken down to fit inside a floating watermelon where he drums for a slice of fruit named Walter Melon (Chris Kattan).
Before the end credits roll and we're treated to a magnificent ballad to Carl's penchant for rocking, we may or may not learn the origins of the Aqua Teens and their relationship to Doctor Weird and a forth member named Chicken Bittle (Bruce Campbell). Roller coasters will be ridden, kittens will be blown up, Boxie Brown will make a brief cameo, Frylock's sexuality will be called into question and the world will never be the same again.
Completely insane from start to finish, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters is, as you'd expect, pretty much just a long version of the short cartoons that have become somewhat notorious over on Adult Swim. The jokes are just as nonsensical, the humor just as crass and erratic (in fact, the R-rating means it's even more crass and erratic) and none of it makes a lick of sense. Anyone coming into this film without prior knowledge of the series is bound to be completely baffled and more than likely a little irate - it's all just flat out weird. That said, if you dig the series, you're bound to enjoy the film. The common argument against the film is that the writers just didn't do a very good job stretching out what works in fifteen-minute intervals into a feature length film. While on the surface it might seem that way, the fact of the matter is there are so many odd little details and quirky jokes and non-jokes scattered throughout the film that it works quite well as a feature length production and in fact has quite a bit of replay value because of this. That doesn't mean that anything has been made more intellectual than it should be or that this isn't the same insane humor that has made the series a cult favorite, it just means we get more of it!
That said, there are a few bits that drag towards the middle part of the picture. The opening sequence kicks the film off in grand style and the ending is so completely bizarre that it works in spite of the fact that it doesn't make any sense but a couple of slow spots do creep in. Thankfully, they aren't enough to ruin the picture or the experience that is Colon Movie Film For Theaters and the retro-style prologue with the dancing concession stand items is worth the price of admission alone. Throw in cameo appearances from MC Pee Pants (now busting mad rhymes in the fiery depths of Hell) and Space Ghost, some unexpected references to the cinema of the late, great Bob Clark, a crazy soundtrack and plenty of loveable fart jokes and you've got a movie that is just as completely retarded as its core audience could want it to be. This was a film made for the fans, not to win over new fans.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theaters is presented on DVD in a nice 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that preserves the film's original theatrical aspect ratio. That said, before anyone gets too excited, keep in mind that this is Aqua Teen Hunger Force we're talking about and it can (and should) only really look so good. There's very little different here between how the show looks when broadcast on Adult Swim and how the movie looks on this DVD. The animation is still rough and crude even if it's slightly more polished here than how it appears on television. A fair bit of shimmering is present but aside from that there aren't really any transfer related problems. No mpeg compression artifacts are present and there isn't really much in the way of edge enhancement. Print damage is pretty much a complete non-issue and color reproduction looks good. In short, this movie looks pretty much exactly like you'd expect it to if you're familiar with the television show. It provides a nice presentation of what is, in reality, pretty goofy looking source material.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track is surprisingly aggressive. With so much chaos on screen and so much happening throughout the film, the rear channels are used pretty regularly throughout the movie and the subwoofer is kicking almost constantly. Dialogue remains clean and clear throughout and there aren't any issues with hiss or distortion to report. Explosions sound quite strong and the score pumps through with some pretty impressive power. English closed captioning is provided, as are optional subtitles in English, French and Spanish. A less impressive English language Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also included.
Warner Brothers/Cartoon network have wisely split up the supplements for this release, of which there are many, over two discs as follows:
First up is a commentary track with Patti Smith (who has nothing to do with the movie?), Todd Hanson (editor at The Onion), Dana Snyder (the voice of Master Shake) and Fred Armisen (who played Lincoln). Oddly enough, Smith dominates the track. She's got a lot to say about the film, critiquing it as it plays out and pointing out strange co-relations such as how her mother's maiden name comes into play and how she lived through the era of concession stand commercials to how Luis Bunuel influenced the opening sequence. As the movie goes on, Dana finds he has more to say, pointing out just how much ground has been covered in the film by the seventeen-minute mark but Smith really does have more to say about the picture than anyone else, though much of it is unrelated to the movie. As far as commentary tracks go, this one plays out like a group of friends sitting around goofing off more than a serious track, which is fine considering the movie at hand. There's a lot of good humor in here, so enjoy the track for that - consider anything that you may learn from it as a bonus. It is amusing to hear Dana talk about how he did the entire film in the nude...
From there, check out the Sizzle Reel (3:46) which is really just a prolonged trailer - that said, it's a damn funny prolonged trailer. Up next is The Thing We Shot Wednesday Night which is a lengthy twenty-six minute making of featurette that gives us a look at everything from production meetings to some of the voice actors at work. We see the animation process in action and get to check out some of the musicians involved in the project doing their thing as well. A little more context could have made this more interesting but as it stands, there's some nifty footage in here even if it isn't presented in the most ideal manner (it feels haphazardly put together).
Jon Schnepp 3D (2:54) is basically a bunch of the 3-D animation footage from the opening of the film presented without credits on top of it. Rounding off the first disc are the Theatrical Trailer (2:30) and the bizarre Cahill Trailer (UnEarth) (1:33) promo spot, an art and music still gallery (16:26) featuring some interesting character designs and sketches, animated menus and chapter stops.
The second disc contains, as a bonus, the eighty minute Deleted Movie. Differing in plot only slightly, this alternate cut of the film is made up using animatics, rough animation, stills and shots of the voice actors practicing their lines and it provides quite a few alternate and deleted scenes in the context of how they would have appeared in the film (many of these show up in finished form in the Deleted Scenes section of the disc as well). Some of the highlights in this cut of the film include more bits with the Plutonians and the Mooninites as well as an appearance from Cameo who tries to help the Aqua Teens come up with some alternate music to sooth the Insane-O-Flex. Sadly, Cameo is just too funky to help.
Also found on the second disc is a selection of ten Fake Endings - Dr. Zod, Wonderman, Blood Mnt, Sandwich, Sandwich Jewels, Zombie Shake, Zombie Meat, Zombie Fry, Determinator and Earth. Most of these are under a minute in length and none of them make any sense, but hey, they're fake, what do you want? Definitely amusing, these are worth the time to watch.
From there, we're treated to a selection of Deleted Scenes starting with the twenty-two minute version of the Star-Studded Xmas Spectacular wherein Shake stands in front of a screen (while Meatwad works the projector) to talk about his film project. Also included is a deleted scene featuring Cameo, an alternate version of the Answering Machine Fight, and extended versino of the Plutonian's Dorm Room scene, an extended version of the Meatwad Concert, and very slightly extended version of the Pushing Insanoflex Box scene, an extended version of the Mooninites & Plutonians On Coaster scene (also just slightly extended), and last but not least, an extended version of the Shake "Who Created Us? I Did..." scene. Much of this material can be seen in rough form in the Deleted Movie feature but seeing them here in finished form is a nice touch.
Up next is a Music Videos section which starts off with the fantastic Nashville Pussy / Master Shake Animated Music Video where, in the middle of the set, Meatwad comes on stage and completely shreds with his guitar. From there, check out Behind The Scenes segments for the songs on the soundtrack that appear courtesy of 9 Lb Hammer, Mastodon, the Lobby Singers, and Nashville Pussy. An amusing segment where we see Cameo working on their song is also included here.
Rounding out the extra features on the second disc is an amusing interview which Mr. Show star Bob Odenkirk interviews Dana Snyder, the Pete Promos, the amusing Dana Man-On-The-Street Promos, the Overhead Projector Presentation Promos which were shown on Adult Swim before the film was officially announced, and of course, the Legal Page which is exactly what is sounds like.
Fans of the series will definitely enjoy Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theaters as it's simply more of the bizarre humor that the show has become known for stretched out to feature length. That said, the movie won't likely win the show many new fans making this somewhat of a niche product. Fans can definitely consider this package highly recommended as it looks and sounds good and comes with a whole smattering of tasty extra features, the unsure will want to rent it first.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.