Anchor Bay // 2004 // 286 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 14th, 2006
T'nuk: On my home planet, I am considered a creature of elegance and
Chode: Ugh, those must be really ugly people!
Sex crazed cyborgs, interstellar travel, golden robots, and a mercenary space crew out for misadventure across the galaxy -- Tripping the Rift -- The Complete First Season has all the science fiction clichés down pat. Right from the start, this Sci-Fi Channel series shows it's irreverence for the genre by spoofing the greats. You'll notice Star Wars, Star Trek, and 2001 references in the opening credits. The show also loves to skewer pop culture with animated alien versions of celebrities and current events retooled for its silly space setting. It's a CGI animated science fiction comedy starring the voices of Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Stuttering John (from the Howard Stern radio program), Maurice LaMarche (Rock and Rule), and Stephen Root (featured on The West Wing). These are the adventures of the starship Jupiter 42 with its strange array of alien and robotic crew including: cranky Captain Chode who is a purple blob; the golden, metrosexual, robot engineer Gus; moody, four-legged, three-boobed she-beast named T'Nuk; the lizard slacker nephew Whip; sexy as hell, slave cyborg Six of Nine; and a nervous nelly ship computer named Bob.
Tripping the Rift isn't smart like Futurama, nor is it gleefully inspired like South Park or The Simpsons. It has an adolescent sense of humor and some really dated materials. Hell, an entire episode relies on Monica Lewinski jokes even though it aired in 2004. Somehow this brand of ineptness is what makes the show so charming. It's proudly low brow, and never makes any pretense otherwise. Even when they deal with heavy topics such as the death of God, things are played for obvious slapstick and juvenile level jokes. Tripping the Rift aims low, and is proud to provide brainless chuckles from sci fi geek moments and big boobies. It's enjoyable, but nothing earth shaking.
If there's anything that looks awesome on DVD, it's computer animation. The picture is strikingly clear and perfectly rendered for the format. Overall it does seem slightly soft, but that's an artistic decision. Sound is well mixed and in simple stereo. Anchor Bay did an awesome job with the technical transfer, but forgot to give us decent extras. I'd love to see the original six-minute short movie from 2000 that inspired the series, or at least a discussion of the show's development, but we get nothing but the thirteen episodes from the first season aside from production galleries and CD-ROM scripts. Perhaps future volumes will contain more oomph. I really love the packaging, though. The show is housed in a slipcover that comes off to reveal a very detailed digipak with incredible fold out gates protecting each of the three discs. Very cool.
This is mindless fun, perfect when you want to simply be entertained. The CGI animation looks fine for a basic cable offering, and the voice talent is top notch. It's not smart or savvy, but then it hardly aspires to be. It achieves being fun and just what the doctor ordered if your brain is hurting after a marathon of Battlestar Galactica or even Stargate. If you like big boobies, fart jokes, and gay robots, it's way fun. I just wish we had some extras to explain the mission of the show.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated