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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant
Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant
Tempe Entertainment // Unrated // March 13, 2007
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Randy Miller III | posted February 28, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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If you've ever dreamed of watching a feature-length film populated by produce, here's your chance. Rich Evans and Mike Stoklasa's Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant (2004) is just that: it's a thoroughly independent production, helmed by two guys and mostly constructed in an everyday Wisconsin basement. There's an undeniable sense of corniness in the air, but a few surprises keep this ambitious 80-minute project afloat. NOTE: Though a few plot elements should spell it out directly, this animated film takes cues from South Park and isn't intended for kids.

Our story follows the elderly Dr. Charles Sunkyst, whose recent trip to Bananastan has yielded successful results. Managing to squeeze a Trojan horse---full of orange soldiers, no less---inside the city walls, he unleashes a brainwashing device to persuade the rotten fruit back to the forces of goodness. After the heroic deed is carried out, Sunkyst announces his retirement from international affairs, eventually taking a teaching job at Orange State University.

However, it's soon revealed that his attitude towards the apples on campus---who have received equal rights in the years he's been gone---isn't quite up to code. This leads to a few misunderstandings, but Sunkyst is able to navigate the waters with little trouble. Soon enough, he's asked to help judge the school's upcoming science fair, though one of his peers---a not-so-carefully disguised eggplant---looks oddly familiar. After an odd subplot where Dr. Sunkyst rescues a pretty young student from a would-be rapist, the science fair approaches and the eggplant's true intentions are revealed.

There's an undeniable amount of slack you've got to cut Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant; not only is it an extremely low-budget production, but because of the modest sense of scale that this two-person project occasionally reaches. The social commentary often feels a bit forced and some of the crude humor seems tacked on, but there's enough here to satisfy fans of creative animation. The set designs---covered in more detail during the bonus features---are quite good, while the bold facial expressions carefully drawn on the fruits and veggies stand out nicely. All things considered, it's pretty darn good for two young creators that we'll hopefully see more from in the future.

The DVD presentation by Fat Cat is solid enough, offering a decent technical presentation and a few creator-themed bonus features. Though the film's limited target audience will undoubtedly limit Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant to cult status, there's enough here to make it worth digging through at least once. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Quality Control Department

Video & Audio Quality

Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant looks good for a kitchen table project. The natural color palette holds up, black levels are solid and only the limitations of the source material keep this from being better. The audio is presented in a fairly straightforward Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix and also gets the job done, boasting clear dialogue and decent channel separation. Unfortunately, no subtitles or Closed Caption support are included here.

Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging

Seen above, the plain-wrap menu designs are basic and easy to navigate. The 78-minute main feature has been divided into 21 chapters, while no obvious layer change was detected during playback. This one-disc release is housed in a standard black keecase and includes no inserts of any kind.

Bonus Features

First up is a feature-length Audio Commentary with creators Rich Evans and Mike Stoklasa; this is a standard but entertaining track, with both participants revealing a few secrets, sharing memories and laughing at some of their own jokes. Our peek behind the curtain continues with a brief Behind-the-Scenes Featurette (9:45); this basement tour mostly covers the set design and eventual destruction, also adding in a few outtakes from the film before the credits roll.

Also here is a collection of Deleted Scenes (13 clips, 18:52 total); though some are simply extended versions, there's some interesting material here. Commentary by the creators would've been interesting to hear, even though it's easy to see why some of the footage didn't make the final cut. Closing things out is the film's Trailer (1:41), as well as a few Previews for other Fat Cat titles. Overall, it's not a bad set of extras for such an independent project.

Final Thoughts

Though it seems more like a practice run for bigger and better things, Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant is an entertaining effort from creators Rich Evans and Mike Stoklasa. Taking cues from South Park and other low-budget animated productions, social commentary and adult content lurk beneath the film's innocent fa├žade; needless to say, it's not meant for children. The DVD package from Fat Cat pairs the film with a solid technical presentation, not to mention a few bonus features to enjoy later. Even so, the limited target audience---namely, those able to sit through 80 minutes of animated produce---ensures that a weekend viewing makes more sense than a blind buy. Rent It.


Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in a local gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, second-guessing himself and writing things in third person.
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