Shout! Factory // 1999 // 600 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 16th, 2012
All the adults are gone.
This bizarre New Zealand sort-of-kids-show -- which ran for five seasons and nearly 300 episodes -- is apparently some kind of cult hit.
Yeah, I'm not seeing it.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a mysterious bacteria has wiped out all the adults, leaving only juveniles to inherit the planet and piece together a civilization. As you'd expect, they end up painting their faces, forming "tribes," and drowning in unrelenting angst.
The Tribe is a weird soap opera that's one part The Warriors and 12 parts DeGrassi. Everything from The Tribe's hang-out (an abandoned mall, from which action rarely shifts) to the syrupy musical score screams "daytime programming." Except the target audience isn't stay-at-home moms. It's pre-teens too cool for Good Morning Miss Bliss.
What's especially odd about The Tribe is how muted the "post-apocalyptic" angle is. There are some sideways remarks about the lack of adults and how it crazy it was they all got sick and died. There's also a bigger arc about a rival Tribe, but mainly everyone just hangs out in their hovel and bellyaches about emotional issues. Of which there are legion: teen pregnancy, depression, suicidal tendencies, drug use, misogyny, bullying. Good luck with all that civilization-running!
Oh, and the theme song: "The Dream Must Stay Alive?" Worst crap I've ever heard.
The DVD: Twenty-six episodes on three discs, totaling ten hours of post-apocalyptic angst, presented in a surprisingly decent standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image, supplemented by a Dolby 2.0 stereo mix. No extras.
The concept is fleetingly interesting, but The Tribe is just a kids soap opera dressed up in mascara.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated