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Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

One of the pillars of Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming is "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," an odd animated series about an order of fries, a milkshake, and a meatball who are friends and share a house in New Jersey — an idea that can one suspects can only have been conceived with the aid of marijuana. As 10-minute episodes, the charmingly low-budget cartoon is full of goofy hipster laughs. Predictably, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007) is exhausting and tiresome, with the thin premise stretched into an 85-minute movie. The opening sequence — a parody of the old "let's go out to the lobby and buy a snack" promotions — is hysterical, but it's downhill from there. At one point there is a live chicken on fire, running around the room like, well, a chicken on fire, and that's when you realize: They have no idea what they're doing here. Having run out of the stories, jokes, and casual comedy pieces that constitute the TV show, the writers started just tossing out random particles of strangeness, hoping an easygoing audience will laugh because it's weird rather than because it's funny. That tactic can work occasionally, but a little of it goes a long way. Eighty minutes is too long for this. The 10-minute versions we get on TV are about right.

Warner Home Video's DVD edition of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters is a two-disc set with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio options. Disc One includes the movie itself, trailers, some 3-D animation rough drafts, a sloppily assembled behind-the-scenes mini-doc, and an audio commentary. The commentary features star Dana Snyder, minor cast member Fred Armisen, Todd Hanson (an editor at The Onion), and rocker Patti Smith (who has nothing to do with the movie, and whose presence is not explained). The commentary is freewheeling and goofy, as befits the film, with the four interrupting each other and riffing on the story. And Patti Smith points out references to Buñuel and Godard, which might exist only in her mind. Disc Two offers an 80-minute "deleted film," basically the same story as the theatrical version, but with alternate vocal takes and rough-draft animation. For fans of the movie, it should be fun to hear the punchlines that were replaced in the final cut. Other extras include conventional deleted and extended scenes, music videos (including behind-the-scenes footage of musicians who perform on the movie's soundtrack), and Cartoon Network promotional spots. Some of those are funnier than the movie itself. The two-disc slimline keep-case features the brilliant poster art by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell.
—Eric D. Snider



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