Judge Bill Gibron feels like a dork for watching this lame piece of kid vid.
Radical? More like Regressive!
Animation "ace" Rick Ungar is perhaps best known for his UK hit Biker Mice from Mars. Previously, he was the President of Marvel Entertainment, helping to bring the hand drawn adventures of everyone's favorite X-Men to the small screen. Several other funny book favorites like Spider-man, Iron Man, Hulk, and the Fantastic Four also made the pen and ink transition. After a brief stint in live action TV—where he helped create Access Hollywood—he went back to the comics before eventually branching out on his own. Along with Legend of the Dragon and Zorro: Generation Z, Biker Mice proved that Ungar had a knack for capturing the current cultural zeitgeist…one 22 minute primary color splashed spurt at a time. Sadly, the same can't be said for the almost incomprehensible Dork Hunters from Outer Space.
The premise of the series seems to revolve around a group of intergalactic teens—one shapeshifter, one brainiac, one smarmy material girl, one cool dude hunk, and one no-nonsense chick—who battle it out against a group of determined aliens known as "the Dorks." Along with constant clashes with their portly high school principal and her Stewie Griffin-in-training Chihuahua, they search the galaxy for these ruthless ETs, usually under the auspices of their irritated Jewish goldfish boss…yes, goldfish. Huh? While there is currently a 36 episode Complete Series DVD collection out there, BKN, along with Image Entertainment, are now offering this one-off "movie" about the gang's surreal Summer vacation. Turns out, they pick the one place where the Dorks, the school administrator and her cur, and a bunch of ghost pirates, gather to commiserate and cause chaos.
Again, huh? What exactly is the point of all this? Aside from the random use of the word "dork" (which, in the context here, is neither clever nor funny) and the equally arbitrary decision to toss Davy Jones, his locker, and an unexplained treasure together; this project is pathetic. The jokes are weak, the animation awful, and the overall feel is cheap and dismissive. If you don't know the backstory on the characters, the reasons they act the way they do, the premise of the entire series, and the explanation as to why "micro-galaxies" are so valuable/lethal/tentative, then all you're left with is colorful shapes moving in front of your field of vision. While this is fine if your brain is still battling your fontanel for cranial dominance, anyone over the age of three will simply sit back and yawn.
Nothing here is interesting—not the whiny redhead who "loves the mall" (how contemporary!) or the blond smart guy who lacks the rest of the gang's interstellar physical acumen (how modern!). The little dog with the smug British butler's voice is also annoying, since we don't understand why he talks sometimes, barks sometimes, and seems to be working for the Dorks and yet isn't…a…dork…maybe? Everything seems to be fashioned out of buzzwords, marketing surveys, and focus group responses ("We need more fatty humor…quick! Make the principal a roly poly pratfall machine!"). The storyline is sloppy, the resolution routine, and whatever magic Ungar has is all but absent.
The DVD is at least decent. The 1.33:1 full screen image is good, the animation looking seamless and nicely fluid. The Dolby Digital Stereo also does a nice job of capturing the dialogue, the ditzy sound effects, and the Casio-keyboard musical scoring. The disc offers no extras, which is a mistake, since anyone picking this up based on the "pirate" part of the title will definitely need a primer on the premise. Still, Image can claim a family friendly package at an inexpensive price and feel proud. Too bad then that the product itself is so shoddy. Dork Hunters might have some value as a continuing cartoon series. As a single stand alone event, it's excruciating.
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