Written and Directed by: Matt Maiellaro, Dave Willis
Starring: Dana Snyder, Dave Willis,Carey Means, Andy Merrill, Mike Schatz, Matt Maiellaro
Rated: Rated R for crude and sexual humor, violent images and language.
Parental Notes: This isn’t really a kids film. If you let your kids watch Aqua Teen, though, you might as well let them see the film, as it’s basically the same in terms of content.
Late at night, the Cartoon Network stops showing kids’ fare like “Ed, Edd, n Eddy” and switches over to Adult Swim, a collection of programming aimed at adults. Adult Swim features Japanese animation and animated comedy series. The comedy shows are frequently very surreal, featuring thoroughly silly and very loose plotlines and relying heavily on their audiences’ knowledge of pop culture and the show’s previous episodes.
“Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” one of the 12-minute long shows, is even more surreal than most Adult Swim fare. It follows the adventures of Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad, who are (respectively) a flying box of fries, a talking milkshake, and a pre-hamburgerization hunk of hamburger. The trio ostensibly solve crimes, but after the first few episodes that conceit was abandoned and the episodes revolved around whatever bizarre idea captured the creators’ fancy that week.
And now, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” has a movie.
I went in with very low expectations — the last season or so of the show has seen a heavy drop in quality, with the episodes making even less sense than usual and sometimes being aggressively unfunny. After one shining moment of brilliance, the film exceeded my expectations by being mediocre instead of actively terrible.
“Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters” opens with a satire of those old pre-movie ads encouraging patrons to buy snacks and keep quiet during the film. It features a song by the heavy metal band Mastodon performed by concession stand food. The lyrics include, “Don’t Talk, watch! You came here. Watch it. Don’t like it? Walk out!” and “Did you bring your baby? Babies don’t watch this. Take your seed outside.” It’s genius and I wish theaters would use it instead of the somewhat stale clips they usually have. (Full lyrics here)
The rest of the movie revolves, more or less, around our heroes trying to fight a giant exercise machine robot called Insanoflex. There is also a subplot about the origin of the trio. But with “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” the plotline doesn’t really matter. What matters is that loads of characters from the show make an appearance (Emory, Oglethorp, Ignignokt, Err, Dr. Weird, Steve, the Moonenites, and even MC Pee Pants) and there are plenty of nifty references to things like the closing credits animation from the show. Watching the film is somewhat akin to watching an entire season of the show in one sitting. There are good moments, dumb moments, gross moments, and plenty of insanity.
If you have never seen an episode of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” this is probably not the film for you. Like Mastodon sings in their opening number, “If you don’t understand, then you should not be here.” This is a film made for folks who watch the show. If anybody else likes it, that’s probably a coincidence.