Cartoon Network // 2009 // 127 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino // May 28th, 2010
Shake: "But killing is a sin!"
Meatwad: "Not in the eyes of the church..."
Out of all the shows that launched Adult Swim back in 2000, I wouldn't have guessed Aqua Teen Hunger Force (ATHF) would be the last one standing. This seventh volume of the venerable show proves that not only is the meatball, French fries, and milkshake trio here to stay, but they're not resting on their greasy laurels.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 7 includes 11 episodes from seasons six and seven:
* "Creature from Plaque Lagoon"
* "Time Machine"
* "2-and-a-Half Star Wars out of 5"
* "Fry Legs"
* "Der Inflatable Fuhrer"
* "The Last Last One Forever and Ever" (the live action episode)
* "Multiple Meats"
* "Rabbot Redux"
This latest volume of ATHF continues the series' dark trek into the consistently surreal void of Adult Swim programming. It's another great release from Williams Street that finds creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro upping their game with some fairly surprising results.
At this point in the show's run, the wary and fence-sitting fans have long been tossed to the wayside. All that remains is a group of dedicated followers completely accepting of the show's absurd, post-modern, violence-filled way of doing things. For Volume 7, that means an inflatable Hitler, a Frosty the Snowman-esque duck made out of condoms and syringes, the inappropriately re-assembled corpse of a guy who exploded, and a dude named Drewbacca. Most of this insanity works quite well, but a few episodes miss the mark.
The best episodes in the set are the ones that push the show's boundaries in terms of storytelling and production values. "Time Machine" takes a simple premise (Frylock makes a time machine) and adds an excellent twist ending. "2-and-a-Half Star Wars out of 5" features a melodramatic John Williams-esque score to drive home the whole Star Wars parody. And then there's the live episode, "The Last Last One Forever and Ever," which is one of the crown jewels of the entire series.
"The Last Last One Forever and Ever" may have received some mixed reviews upon its television debut, but I found the episode to be rather ingenious. It opens with an animated segment in which the characters discover that water is suddenly flammable. Carl, stubborn as ever, refuses to remove his dynamite from his above-ground pool, which ignites after a little flatulence and destroys everything. The episode transitions to live action, where we discover that "Don" Shake, played by comedian H. Jon Benjamin (credited as "Capt. Turd Mahoy"), is actually writing the story. Are they trying to imply that all of the show's adventures emanate from the mind of this cowering, live action schmuck? It's possible. Even stranger is Frylock, played with auto-tuned adequacy by T-Pain, who bullies and threatens Shake at every turn. After Frylock rejects his story, Shake retreats to his room where he's visited by a talking medicine ball (the live action equivalent of Meatwad). Every aspect of the gang's house is recreated with frightening accuracy, but perhaps nothing is stranger than seeing real life Carl. Chosen from a nationwide, fan-fueled casting call, Dave Long Jr. bares an uncanny resemblance to the Aqua Teen's disgusting neighbor. Suffice it to say, this DVD is worth picking up for this episode alone.
There are a few clunkers in the bunch, but certainly not anything to deter fans. Episodes like "Eggball," "Monster," and "Multiple Meats" just suffer from a general blandness, especially when compared to some of the set's highlights. Then there's "Der Inflatable Fuhrer," an episode that's fairly outrageous and offensive without being very funny. They can't all be winners, but at 10 minutes a piece they probably should be.
All 11 of these brief episodes are contained on a single disc, enshrined in an Amaray case that looks like Carl's messed up internal organs which then slides in a cardboard sleeve that looks like his chest. The impressive packaging matches the disc's solid technical presentation. The video looks decent -- about as good as any Adult Swim show can look -- and the audio is more than adequate. Not surprisingly, the DVD comes packed with some excellent special features.
Included on the disc is an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the live action episode, featuring interviews with the cast, crew, and creators. It's hard to tell when the interviewees are being serious or playing up the controversy surrounding the episode, adding another layer of madness to the whole thing. Adult Swim was also kind enough to include an assortment of try-out videos from the Carl casting call. This could have been an episode unto itself. Also on the disc is a featurette on the making of the "Rubberman" jingle, a series of ringtones for your cell phone, and a strange short film called Terror Phone II (a sequel to a featurette on Volume 6).
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 7 is another impressive release for a show that continues to confound me. Yes, it's a funny cartoon, but it's also terribly offensive, surreal, and violent. It set the standard by which all other absurdist Adult Swim shows are judged.
Get it for the live episode.
Not guilty forever and ever.
Review content copyright © 2010 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 127 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Film
* Casting Videos