Aqua Teen better suited to twelve-minute segments
April 23, 2007 —
A show truly about nothing, Aqua Teen Hunger Force epitomized the bizarre nature of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block that debuted in 2000, ultimately becoming the lineup's flagship series.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters comes at a point when the series has lost steam, a surprising feat for a show that disregards any sense of reality and logic. Unfortunately for longtime fans, the irrelevant nature that made the show so endearing is a detriment when it needs to fill 80 minutes.
Centered on the eclectic non-adventures of an egotistical milkshake, an idiotic meatball, and a wise-by-comparison order of fries sharing a house in New Jersey, their improbable existence is contrasted by their white trash neighbor, Carl.
Sporting flip-flops, blue sweatpants and a wife-beater tank-top draped over a beer belly and hair-covered body, Carl is Joe Sixpack amplified to the max and possibly one of the funniest characters in animation history.
Needless to say, the series is an acquired taste to begin with.
Whereas South Park has its topical humor and The Simpsons have their satire, ATHF is really just a string of random one-liners and absurd situations chopped up into 12-minute episodes.
This formula thrived on the brevity of the episodes, as evident by the monotony brought on by the occasional weak episode.
With this in mind, the idea of a full-length movie seemed like a tall order, even for the show's talented creators, Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro.
In the early stages of the film, it looks like the duo may have been up to the task of throwing Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad into a full-length feature that justified their presence on the silver screen, but things get shaky when it becomes clear the plot would've sufficed for one of the episodes.
Given the unorthodox nature of the series, it's only appropriate a piece of exercise equipment and its threat to the world be the crux of the movie.
A subplot involving the trio's origin is also here, but true to the show's form, the explanation(s) will probably leave you wondering what in the world just happened.
Novice fans of the show will quickly get a taste of the creators' flair for the absurd. The scroll that opens the follow-up scene reads: "Egypt. New York. Millions of years ago. 1492. 3 p.m."
Nothing quite matches the opening, but the first few promising scenes had me thinking the negative reviews were a result of being unfamiliar with the source material, but even an appreciation for the show can't mask the glaring lack of ideas to fill an 80-minute slot.
These aren't the simultaneously illogical and endearing scenarios the series regularly churned out, though. Most just fizzle out, with each one sapping a little more optimism from the faithful audience so used to the quality of the show.
If anything, Movie Film for Theaters proves Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad are better left to excel where they started, 12 minutes at a time.