Eye For Film >> Movies >> Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres (2007) Film Review
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres
Reviewed by: Anton Bitel
As part of the adult animated TV block known collectively as Adult Swim, Aqua Teen Hunger Force has been bemusing and bewildering late-night viewers of America's Cartoon Network since the end of 2000, with its nonsensical episodes in the lives of supposedly superheroic fast food products Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad. Known only to those British viewers who subscribe to Bravo (or log on to www.adultswim.co.uk), the series has less of a following on these shores, so that the first big-screen outing of the junk-diet trio is here tragically destined to go straight-to-video - but fans and non-fans alike who pursue this feature-length DVD are in for a smart, trippy treat.
Even ignoring the title (with its spelt-out lampooning of conventions in titular punctuation), Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres advertises its status as a cinematic experience from the very outset. A prologue features four animated singing-and-dancing snackfoods who urge viewers to make purchases from the refreshment stand, in an alarmingly accurate parody of the ads that preceded screenings in the Fifties. This quartet is brusquely interrupted by a second, less wholesome-looking comestible foursome whose 1990s-style head-banging death metal track lays down a more modern notion of cinema etiquette - as well as a threat to cut in half the wife of anyone who sells copies of the film on e-bay...
It is a fast and funny introduction, and it also establishes the film's central theme. For just as the 1950s singing snacks represent the natural ancestors to the anthropomorphic milkshake, French fries and meat patty that make up Aqua Teen Hunger Force, this whole film is concerned with a quest for origins (as well as a knowing pastiche of such quests as portrayed in other films).
Were the trio shat out the rear of an Egyptian sphinx ("millions of years ago - 3PM - 1492 - New York", as an early caption in the film so helpfully states)? Was Frylock mangled at birth by a giant laser-firing poodle, before being miraculously revived by a time-travelling Abraham Lincoln (who drives "the new Beetle convertible")? Or is the Force's gleefully self-eviscerating arch-nemesis Dr Weird in fact Frylock's father? Or is Frylock his father? Or were they all created by the imperious yet ineffective space invaders Ignignot and Err (who even vomit in lo-res digital pixels)? How are all these questions connected to the Insanoflex, a piece of gym equipment of equally mysterious origins whose activation might just take flabby, couch potato humanity "into a world you cannot imagine, starring Chow Yun Fat"?
Do not expect meaningful answers from the Force's sweaty, sex-mad Jersey neighbour Carl, or from Plutonian fratboys Oglethorpe and Emory, or even from the machine-humping, exposition-addicted Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future. The only one who seems to have any idea what is really going on is a sneering slice of water melon (named Walter Melon) and his drumming sidekick Neil Peart (voiced by the real Neil Peart, drummer of Rush) - but in the end Walter, too, will turn out to be as clueless as the rest. As will you be, in this confusing nexus of plot, counterplot and overtaking subplot, where sense remains a hostage to the surreal gag of the moment, where characters are more interested in funrides than saving the world, and where the familiar tropes of cinema are present only to be subverted, trashed and mercilessly ridiculed.
At heart, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a stoner comedy for college kids, but it strikes just the right balance between intelligence and infantilism to please almost any viewer who has ever enjoyed adolescence - and its endearingly lo-fi animation conceals a wealth of pop-culture detail. May the Force be with you.Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2007