A few months ago I sat down to check out Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles. The five season set was an exercise in hilarity as the show, based on the Halo Xbox video game, took gaming entertainment to a whole new level. When the chance came to check out the eighth season, Revelation, I simply couldn't say no.
In case you're unfamiliar with the franchise Red vs. Blue was an internet sensation created by Rooster Teeth. The web-series took the established Halo video game world and turned it on its head. Voice actors gave personality to red and blue Spartan soldiers, and with a flourish of game mechanics, animation, and great writing they crafted a unique world within a world. Sure it's something that appeals mostly to fans of the Halo franchise, but Red vs. Blue's charm and style extend beyond that fan-base.
Rather than recap the entirety of Blood Gulch or look at the seasons in between, we'll just be taking a look at Revelation as it stands. Like some of the other DVD releases, Revelation is presented in a manner that strings all the episodes together to produce a film. While some of the previous seasons may not had much in terms of direction or plot, I must say the eighth season really pulled it together in that regard.
The season begins with Simmons summoning Doc to Valhalla, only to be ambushed by Washington and Meta. It would seem that Meta doesn't have quite enough equipment and AI and wants to get his hands on the Epsilon unit. Unfortunately for them Doc has no idea what they're talking about. In the meantime on a desert planet Sarge and the gang have to put up with Epsilon-Church as he floats around preaching to his newfound alien worshippers. It eventually comes time to mount a rescue for Simmons and Doc so the crew fixes up a Warthog and go on their merry way. How they drive between planets on a Warthog is beyond me, but I digress.
The assault against Meta and Washington eventually leads to our Red and Blue heroes uncovering a secret base operated by someone known as the Director. The computer AI confuses Church with the Director and allows him to gain access to the various systems; the least of which includes his girlfriend Tex. Let me just tell you, that if you have been following Red vs. Blue, or simply love intense action, Tex's awakening is one of the most epic scenes ever put together. Ever. She beats the ever-loving snot out of Sarge, Tucker, Grif, Simmons, and Church. Here's an embedded video of the ass-kicking:
Once Tex's reintroduction is over with Revelation refocuses its direction a little with a series of events that look at what happened to Tex and Church. Their quest leads them down some interesting paths and there are yet more great sequences. The guys at Rooster Teeth really went out of their way with some of the style that was implemented here. One really gets the sense that they watched one too many action movies as children, though that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Ultimately Revelation is a blast. The plot isn't super engrossing, though it's better than what was written in prior seasons, and it really boils down to quality characters, dialogue, and action. The Red vs. Blue guys have their shtick down pat and this season is a collection of laughs, cool moments, and nice tie-ins with the Halo universe. This release is for fans of the game mostly, but not exclusively. I'd call it highly recommended.
As the Halo game engine improved over the years, so did the quality of video that Red vs. Blue could produce. At this point in time the producers at Rooster Teeth were working off the Halo 3 engine, with a little bit of Reach thrown in towards the end of the season. The result is a sharp looking, colorful, and well-animated series that really impresses at certain points. Sure there are still some limitations with the software, but the presentation on DVD is about as good as one could expect.
Presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Red vs. Blue: Revelation is a definite step up from what we saw with Blood Gulch Chronicles. The audio recording method was better all around with sharper dialogue, music, and sound effects. It doesn't necessarily sound any better than the game itself, but the conversations held by the characters are as clear as day. The 2.0 limitations are a disappointment, however, and one really wishes the show offered more directionality.
Revelation includes some decent bonus offerings as well. There's an audio commentary, cast interviews, a hilarious "RvB Holiday Miniseries", and a collection of outtakes and deleted scenes. Once again the inclusion of "Special Videos and PSAs" is much appreciated, and for those wondering about the production of the show there is a breakdown on some of the visual effects implemented here. All in all the supplemental material really compliments the main feature and delivers more of what fans of the show wanted to see.
Red vs. Blue: Revelations is great entertainment. The movie works on most every level and the small inadequacies of the plot are made up for by loads of personality, laughs, and action. If you enjoyed any of the previous seasons you'll want to pick this one up. If you're on the other side of that coin and haven't seen it, know that some prior knowledge of the series helps immensely, but it's not totally necessary. You'll still find the show to be hilarious and worth your time. Highly Recommended
Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!