Monday, April 16, 2007

With Neil Peart As Himself

So yeah, I ventured out into the great wide world this weekend, as you may have expected, to track down the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. That was surprisingly hard, as it was only playing on some 800 or so screens. It made something over three million dollars, but that's pretty good considering it only cost $750,000 to make. Let's see Spider-Man 3 make quadruple its costs on the opening weekend.

It was, as expected, an excellent film. It is probably gibberish to those who aren't intimately familiar with the show - but that's to be expected. Those who know the show were rewarded with exactly what they were expecting, pretty much the equivalent of six episodes strung together, with musical performances from Mastadon and Neil Peart. Just what Neil Peart was doing -- six-inches tall and floating around space in a magic watermelon -- is never explained. And there's a Hold Steady song over the ending credits for no real reason, other than I suppose it's a good Hold Steady song.

One of the big promotional hooks for the film is that the Aqua Teens' origin is supposedly revealed. Well, this happens, sort of, but not really. No less than three origins are suggested, all are mutually contradictory and none of them make any sense at all. A fourth Aqua Teen, a giant chicken nugget voiced by Bruce Campbell, is introduced briefly in a flashback, but considering that his existence is tied in with one of the origin stories that is later cast into doubt, Chicken Bittle has about as much chance of being "real" as anything else. I'm glad they decided not to play the origin straight: anything resembling a solid, consistent mythology for what is ultimately an elaborate non sequitor would be totally besides the point.

So yeah, good fun for the whole family, except for the part about it being a hard "R" film filled with language, gore and really disturbing sexual content. I think they spent a bit too much time with the Plutonians and the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, but I guess nothing's perfect. They at least snuck an MC Pee Pants appearance in there, and if you don't blink you might even catch Willie Nelson (the homicidal onion spider, not the country singer). There was no Happy Time Harry, unfortunately, but I suppose there's only so much cool they can compress into an hour and a half.

One thing I didn't know until just the other day was that the Adult Swim people have been releasing a whole pile of fake "endings" for the movie over on the movie's web site. They're pretty funny, and there's even a Swamp Thing cameo in there (sort of).

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