Aqua Teen Hunger Force Review Critique for Newspapers
Frylock, Meatwad and Master Shake — the three stooges inhabiting Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters — will survive if you avoid their movie. You’ve probably never heard of them anyway, unless you’re a regular viewer of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block or vaguely recall hearing the name of the film a few weeks ago, when authorities in Boston mistook viral marketing for terrorists’ explosives. As restitution for the stunt, Turner Broadcasting agreed to fork over close to $2 million, which has to be more than Aqua Teen Hunger Force cost to make. The movie looks like it was made on your mom’s TRS-80.
Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, former Space Ghost Coast to Coast writers, are the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez of low-budget animation, the Parker and Stone of stoners — horror-movie buffs and sci-fi fanatics who gorge on pop culture’s high-fat diet and regurgitate it into something approaching art.
Whereas most of the other Adult Swim shows are nothing but snarked-up jalopies salvaged from the Hanna-Barbera junkyard, ATHF exists in its own little world, a messy, broken-down place populated by mad scientists, horny robots, pissed-off video-game characters and an alien melon. Which is to say, nothing of the talking fast-food items living as roomies: Frylock (voiced by Carey Means), the blaxploitation box of fries who serves as the trio’s de facto leader; Master Shake (Dana Snyder), who is no smarter than your average dairy product; and Meatwad (Willis), who, with his squeaky voice and ability to take the shape of myriad meat products, might reasonably be described as “cute” were he not covered in stray hairs.
The three really are little more than standard sitcom characters — men, or whatever, behaving badly. Here, they’re given an origin story involving the Sphinx, Abraham Lincoln and the FBI. The rest of the plot involves a Terminator-like exercise machine sent from the future to destroy the planet.
But that’s beside the point. Narrative is a sketchy proposition in a movie that proudly bills itself in trailers as “an animated epic featuring three all-new backgrounds,” and then proceeds to really offer just that. The movie’s there for 87 minutes, it makes you giggle every now and again, and then it vanishes like everything else on TV.