"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" ("ATHF" from here on out) is the big screen adventure for the characters from the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series. The film's promotional campaign netted some unusual attention when electronic devices meant to promote the film were placed in public places in Boston and elsewhere. Needless to say, the reaction to strange electronic devices being spotted in public places wasn't exactly positive or what the company apparently expected.
For those unfamiliar with the series, it concerns the adventures of three giant fast food characters who talk - there's Master Shake (voiced by Dana Snyder), packet of French fries Frylock (Carey Means), and meatball Meatwad (Dave Willis). The trio have gotten ahold of the "Insane-O-Flex", an excerise machine that allows one to rule the universe. A group of aliens head to Earth in order to get their bizarre Boflex-like device back.
Otherwise, the film makes just about zero sense whatsoever, although apparently that's the point. While the "Insane-O-Flex" plot is the core of the movie, the majority of the film is made up of random bits of absurd comedy, with many scenes seemingly unrelated to the previous one. The filmmakers certainly have made no attempts to make the film more acccessible to a mainstream audience - this is purely for the fans, as noted ("If you do not understand, you should not be here.") in the opening credits sequence, which is a parody of the "Let's All Go to the Lobby" trailers before films.
The movie manages to latch on to some funny bits at times, but for every absurd gag that works, there's another that's essentially met with a shrug. While the fanbase for the series is considerable, one wonders why "ATHF" was the Cartoon Network property chosen for prime time, when something like the brilliant "Venture Brothers" would have translated better for a big-screen adventure. "ATHF" gets a few laughs from me, but will likely go over much better with hardcore fans.
Note: while this is an animated feature, it is rated "R" and is definitely not for kids.
VIDEO: "ATHF" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While the show's animation is fairly low-budget, it looks reasonably good and is presented well here. Sharpness and detail are generally first-rate, with images that remain crisp and clear throughout much of the show. Some minor shimmering appeared in a couple of scenes, but the picture otherwise appeared clean and clear, with no edge enhancement, print flaws or other concerns. Colors looked vibrant and rich, with great saturation and no smearing or other flaws.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack uses the surrounds pretty effectively in order to throw out a load of various sound effects and ambience. The remainder of the audio is spread nicely across the front speakers. Audio quality is fine, with crisp, well-recorded effects and dialogue.
EXTRAS: The film is for the fans and the DVD also seems meant as a treat for those folks, as well, as it's packed with loads and loads of supplemental features. The extras start with a mildly amusing commentary from Patti Smith, Todd Hanson, Dana Snyder and Fred Armisen. The first DVD also offers the theatrical trailer, a "sizzle reel" promo, a 3D featurette, interview and 26-minute "making of" called "The Thing We Shot Wednesday Night".
The second disc's main supplement is an 80-minute alternate/deleted movie. We also get 8 deleted or alternate scenes, 6 music videos and promos for the film.
Final Thoughts: "ATHF" made me laugh a few times, but otherwise seemed a bit too bizarre for the sake of bizarre. The surreal comedy will likely go over better with the hardcore fans of the series. Fans will defintely find a lot to like with the DVD, which offers solid audio/video quality, along with a ton of extra features. Recommended for fans.
The Film C+