When Hunger Strikes

aqua_teen_hunger_force_colon_movie_film_for_theatersDevoted “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” fans expect their favorite animated superheroes to be campy, cheap and crude…but we also expect them to be funny. Although their feature debut – “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters” – boasts the greatest movie title since “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia,” it’s also boring, devoid and senseless.

“Colon” follows the latest mission of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, three superhero food products who regularly bicker among themselves: Master Shake ignores a cry for help so that he can improve his tan; Frylock hurls insults at extraterrestrial villains while pondering over his (its?) sex organs; Meatwad stages an outdoor concert involving a Playskool guitar and a cannon that fires kittens.

When the trio encounters an ultramodern exercise machine called Insanoflex, they scramble to unravel its secrets while four aliens – two from the moon, two from Pluto – intervene with one-liners that are always strange but never rewarding. “Colon” also includes appearances from Space Ghost, the Powerpuff Girls, Doctor Weird, the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future and, last but not least, Carl.

As much as I hated to see the Aqua Teen Hunger Force stranded with lifeless material, I still appreciated the clever references to their vastly superior cable series. I immediately took note of the Elvis Presley outfit, a Halloween costume Meatwad wore in episode nine. I also recognized Master Shake’s ability to make random objects explode when he drops them, a phenomenon explained by his exposure to radiation in season two. Even the origin of Frylock’s photo with Doctor Weird is addressed, during the “surprise” revelation in the climax. The only real surprise in “Colon” is of a negative sort: I didn’t think the funniest part of the movie would be Master Shake chair dancing next to Abraham Lincoln.

Many cinephiles have complained that “Grindhouse” should’ve had a stronger debut: It ranked 4th in box-office receipts on its opening weekend. When “Colon” debuted the following Friday, it didn’t even make the top 10. (According to The New York Times, it actually opened in 14th place.) Its rank will likely nosedive when people discover how ragged this movie is. Even devoted fans who relish the absurd anarchy of the TV series will leave “Colon” feeling cheated and insulted.

I should’ve apologized in advance for describing “Colon” in such an absurd context, but it’s basically all I have left to work with here. I guess I already knew what my review would be when I got a good look at the notes I took during the movie. Some samples include: “Pluto,” “lesbian,” “parachute,” “grandparents,” “chicken,” “explode,” “exercise,” “New York,” “subtitles” and various other points of interest which can’t be mentioned in any comprehensive form. (I thought some quotes would help, but I stopped recording them after hearing “The only thing bull semen did for me was activate my gag reflex.”) I was using a free copy of the New York Post for paper, which happened to include Kyle Smith’s review of “Colon” that day: “The big-screen version of the demented Cartoon Network hit is often hilarious and always surreal.”

He was only half right.

enablingDespite being utterly disappointing when compared to the TV series, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie is still a treat. Yes, it makes even less sense than the TV show, enough to scratch your head in disbelief at times, but it’s still funny during those times. It’s one of those movies that shines the most when you shut your brain off. Nevertheless, it’s far less witty and funny than it could have been. Series creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis had a golden opportunity here to show the world that they could do more than write amazing 12-minute scripts. Unfortunately, they didn’t pull it off, creating a funny, yet mediocre feature film that could have cemented the series’ popularity, rather than just a blip on Hollywood’s radar screen.

-Patrick Hickey Jr.

About David Guzman 207 Articles
I just received my degree in journalism at Brooklyn College, where I served as the arts editor for one of the campus newspapers, the Kingsman. When it comes to the arts, I’ve managed to cover a variety of subjects, including music, films, books and art exhibitions. I’ve reviewed everything from “Slumdog Millionaire” (which was a good film) to “Coraline,” (which wasn’t) and I’ve also interviewed legendary film critic Leonard Maltin.

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