Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters [retro review]

“See, women love kitty cats. That’s why we gonna fire ’em out of these high-powered plasma cannons.”

The Scoop: 2007 R, directed by Matt Maiellaro & Dave Willis and starring Dana Snyder, Carey Means and Dave Willis

Tagline: Bring the whole family… because children can’t get into “rated R” without an adult.

Summary Capsule: Those lovable intrepid three fast food items from New Jersey embark on their best funniest longest adventure ever.

Drew’s Rating: I can’t believe they made this instead of a Sealab 2021 movie. Wait, what? Harry Goz died? Uh… never mind, then.

Drew’s Review: Truly the apocalypse is nigh: one of Cartoon Network’s late night, mature content “Adult Swim” shows has become a feature film. But hey, if it was going to happen, at least it’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

If you go to bed at a reasonable time and are thus unfamiliar with ATHF, it chronicles the adventures of a trio of anthropomorphic fast food items: brainy Frylock, pompous Master Shake, and dumb-as-a-sack-of-hammery-thingees Meatwad. Alone they’re nothing, but together they… sit around the house aggravating each other and neighbor Carl, the epitome of every negative stereotype Justin’s ever had about guidos from New Jersey. Occasionally they also fight crime, badly. Like all Adult Swim shows, there’s no continuity and everything that happens is completely absurd. Unlike a lot of Adult Swim shows, ATHF is usually pretty funny, so you can kind of see why someone thought making a movie out of it would be a good idea. The obvious question then becomes, will nonsensical stuff that’s funny in 15-minute increments when you’ve been drinking still be funny for 90 stone-cold sober minutes?

Their feature film debut finds the boys trying to put together the Insanoflex, the ultimate exercise machine that Shake stole from Carl. Unbeknownst to them (but knownst to us), frequent foes the Plutonians are visited by the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past, who warns that if the Insanoflex is completed, it will create a world where one man becomes so buff he attracts every woman on Earth, leading to massive inbreeding and dooming the human race to extinction. (As I think I proved during my single days, that’s preposterous, but hey, it’s a movie.) While the Plutonians ineptly try to stop them, the boys visit a certain laboratory in South Jersey that sparks memories in Frylock of the team’s unrevealed origin. But when the Insanoflex is activated and begins running amok with Carl inside, it’s up to the Aqua Teens, the Plutonians, and maybe even the Mooninites to shut it down, save the day, and uncover the mastermind behind the entire plot. Except replace “master” with “psychotic.”

In movies based on popular cartoons, there are two questions fans want to know: is it funny, and does it feature my favorite characters? (What would The Simpsons Movie be without Ralph Wiggum?) To answer the latter, yes – most recurring characters from the show appear at least briefly. In most films adapted from television, trying to include every character who ever appeared on the show would be a recipe for disaster, and often is. But the thing about ATHF is that it already doesn’t make any damn sense, so the endless cameos don’t feel as extraneous. That being said, let’s get back to the all-important first question: is it funny?

And the answer is… sometimes. Certainly there are some genuine laughs, mostly in Shake’s self-aggrandizement and any time Carl’s on screen. The Mooninites aren’t as hilarious as usual but get a few good lines in. But as I watched the film… and watched… and watched, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was just taking way too long. Be honest: when’s the last time something that usually lasts 15 minutes was expanded to 90 minutes and was better for it? That doesn’t involve tantra, I mean. The reason Adult Swim shows are 15 minutes is because stoners and drunks have miniscule attention spans — to succeed, your show needs to feature bizarre talking objects that wouldn’t normally speak, have a few bleeped swear words, then finish before boozie has a chance to get bored and flip over to Iron Chef. Simple. ATHF and its ilk get by on surrealist humor that’s funny for brief periods late at night, and let’s face it, three or four decent laughs in fifteen minutes is a good return… but in an hour and a half, not so much.

That’s really my final word: ATHFCMFFT isn’t bad, it just tries to drastically lengthen something that’s best in small doses. You’ll get some chuckles, but don’t be surprised if you also check your watch a time or two. Obviously I can in no way endorse watching this movie in any kind of an altered state of consciousness… but if you happen to be sleep deprived, on cold medication, or coming home from a night out at the bars, you’ll probably get a lot more out of it. Knock yourself out.

Didn't Danger Mouse fight these guys once?

Intermission!

  • If agreeing with the theater rules outlined by the badass snack foods who beat up the wussy snacks is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. And that’s the first time I’ve ever written that sentence.
  • Speaking of whom, the hardcore snacks are an animated version of metal band Mastodon.
  • Every episode of ATHF begins with a clip from Dr. Weird’s laboratory in South Jersey, but this is the first time he’s ever interacted with the main cast.
  • Space Ghost cameo!
  • Meatwad uses a Powerpuff Girls parachute.
  • Via flashback, we finally meet the fourth Aqua Teen, Chicken Bittle… voiced by none other than The Chin himself, Bruce Campbell!
  • A guerilla marketing campaign was run for the movie that involved placing electronic placards in high visibility locations; the devices, similar to the children’s toy Lite-Brite, showed an outline of a Mooninite giving the finger to passers-by. Several multimedia artists were hired to secretly place the devices around major cities during early hours of the morning. However, one was set in a Boston train station on a stanchion that supported highway I-93, and a concerned passenger reported to police that he’d seen an electronic device with exposed wiring attached to the support column. The bomb squad was called in and noted that the equipment shared elements with explosive devices, minus the actual explosives. Similar devices were found under the Lancaster and Boston College bridges, and all told over a dozen highways and transit stations were shut down before the cops learned of the promotional campaign. Needless to say, they weren’t amused, and the fallout from the bomb scare led to Turner Broadcasting having to pay $1 million to the Boston police department and $1 million to the Department of Homeland Security. Cartoon Network president Jim Turner resigned over the incident, and the two artists who had placed the devices were sentenced to 60 and 80 hours of community service and a public apology.

Groovy Quotes

    Singing snacks: It’s a groovy time for a movie time / So grab your gal, and grab a seat / But don’t forget to get something to eat / Delicious meat, a nutritious meat.
    Hot dog: You can’t beat my meat for a special treat!
    Soda: Sucking on me is really neat!
    Snacks: Don’t be a jerk, and don’t be a fool / Be a good neighbor and follow these rules / What are these rules? / Remember to keep your shoes on at all times / Don’t pull your penis out unless you really need to / Indecent exposure is a Class 2 felony.

    Meatwad: See, women love kitty cats. That’s why we gonna fire ’em out of these high-powered plasma cannons.

    Frylock: Come on. All women are beautiful, on the inside.
    Shake: I know that, yeah, I’ve been inside of them. Their homes. That’s where I go when they leave for work. I get to know ’em before I meet ’em, and then I wait for them outside, behind a bush.

    Shake: You will bookmark that page.
    Frylock: Oh, what, you’ve never seen a bra before?
    Shake: Not with the boob meat inside of it!

    Shake: Bring me the vegetable oil, I think I’m gonna pose right here. Show you boys how it’s done! Women drop to their knees when they see the shape of my fingers. They’re like beautiful little muscular hot dogs. Look at these guns! Oop, I just pooped a little bit.

    Ignignokt: Err, if you want to achieve in this life, you need to set your goals higher.
    Err: I’m already pretty high!
    Ignignokt: And so am I. So grab the other end of this…
    Err: Yes!
    Ignignokt: …as we commit first degree grand theft coffee table!

    Shake: I still got my demo floatin’ out there! The solo acoustic stuff I did? You know, about that girlfriend I never had?
    Meatwad: That’s beyond suck.

    Shake: I don’t remember any of this.
    Meatwad: Me neither.
    Frylock: Well, all you did was kept playin’ with your damn Game Boy! I’d say somethin’ like, “Shake, look up. We’re supposed to be doin’ this and savin’ that,” and you were all like, “Well, I’m on level three.”
    Shake: …I do remember level three.

    Ignignokt: Digital gold cascades from our square bladders.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
  • Heavy Metal
  • Half Baked
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