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Warner Home Video presents
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Three (2003)

Willie Nelson: I don't think violence solves anything.
Master Shake: God, you're gay! You don't think violence solves anything? What kind of monster are you?

- Tom Scharpling, Dana Snyder

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: January 05, 2005

Stars: Dana Snyder, Dave Willis, Carey Means
Other Stars: Shecky Chucklestein, Andy Merrill, C. Martin Croker, Matt Maiellaro, Jay Edwards, Jim Fortier, Ned Hastings, Nick Ingkatanuwat, Vischal Roney, Scott Hilley, Jon Benjamin, Jonathan Glaser, Isaac Hayes III, Barry Mills, Seth Green, Jon Schrepp, Jason Todd, Todd Barry, Brooks Braselman, Sir Willups Brigthslymoore, mc chris, Todd Field, Matt Harrigan, Mike Schutz, Zakk Wylde, B.B. Leeland, Tom Scharpling, Hayden Ward
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (bleeped out swear words, bizarre images, demonic elements, graphic cartoon violence)
Run Time: 02h:28m:43s
Release Date: November 16, 2004
UPC: 053939680928
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+BB+ B-

DVD Review

Normally when a character pulls out his own brain, such as Dr. Weird does in the first scene of Frat Aliens, it's about as unusual as the program gets. This is not the case with Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Three, however, where mutilations and other various grotesqueries are the rule of the day. The roots of the show's origins, in which the Aqua Teens were detectives, have long since past. Now everybody's favorite trio of mutant fastfood entrées—Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad—spend there days pretty much annoying their next door neighbor, Carl, until some violent occurrence disrupts their quiet New Jersey suburb.

Those who have never seen an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force will find it bizarre, but, then again, those who have seen every single episode will find it bizarre also. There's no explanation for how these characters came to be, nor are there any stories in the conventional sense of the word. It's just a crazy, wild TV show that is highly irreverent. Take for instance The Shaving, where the Aqua Teens learn a monster (which appears to be a cross between an onion and a spider) named Willie Nelson lives up stairs in their addict. He's a rather nice, calm monster who is more concerned about receiving his mail than going on a scaring rampage in honor of Halloween. Shake is disgusted by this and trains Willie into a lean, mean monster. What's Willie's first assignment? Why to walk on over to Carl's house and kill him with two chainsaws! Ah, kids have been playing that practical joke since the good ol' days, haven't they?

The real strength of this show is in how it is willing to take its stories to the absolute limit of reason and decency...and then go even farther. Nobody is safe from the assault rifle of humor fired recklessly and casually by show creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro. Whether it's drunken frat boys, as represented by space aliens Skeeter and DP in Frat Aliens, or rock star Zakk Wylde, who writes a new birthday song with Shake in Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary, everybody takes two to the chest. Even the occult gets nailed in Broodwich. A Satanic voice, supplied by Isaac Hayes III, tempts Shake with a sandwich. Despite its lack of bacon, Shake scarfs it down only to suffer eternal torture. This is a truly great episode because it indicates that the people working for the show realize how dangerous our button-down, corporate dominated way of living is to our humanity. On second thought, maybe it just shows that taking drugs while writing a TV series leads to freaky, yet funny, stuff that pompous critics take seriously.

Part of the charm of the show is its unsophisticated animation. There are a few instances of the animators reaching beyond their normal comfort zone, such as the use of a fish-eye-lens effect in Total Recarl, but it's mostly a very minimalist program. It would be great to hear a physicist attempt to explain how Shake is able to grab hold of things with his hands, since he has no arms to reach out and pick things up. However, animation aside, the real reason for watching this show is the writing. By this time, the creators realize that they have a mythology to work with and put it to good use. The relationships between the characters are known so it allows all of writing to focus on "story." A real treat included here is The Last One, in which a variety of assorted characters from previous episodes join together, under the guidance of the Mooninites Ignignokt and Err, to destroy the Aqua Teens. It's a great reunion show and probably the best episode of the 13 provided in this third volume.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Three does contain a little bit of character development for its four leads that the first two volumes did not. In The Cubing we learn of Frylock's S&M tendencies. Speaking of sadism, Meatwad's first instance of brutally murdering Shake happens in Total Recarl. Sadly this means Shake will never be able to resolve his deep seeded bitterness toward David Lynch, first revealed in The (that's right, The is the episode's title). As for Carl...well, he gets a wig in The Clowning. There are many more happenings that occur in this two-disc DVD set, but there's no real point in telling them here. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a show you just need to see in order to see what is so appealing, or disgusting, about it. It's definitely funny, but it's also likely to offend many viewers.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I do not know for a fact that those who write for ATHF do drugs. However, judging from the show, it's a good bet that they do.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1 is preserved in this nonanamorphic transfer. The image is crisp and clean of any dirt or scratches, but it does suffer from some occasional edge enhancement. The Mooninites, in particular, look pretty poor when scrutinized, but other than that there's nothing distracting in the image.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix contains a rather nice amount of sound separation and directionality, but it is not nearly as broad as the mix for Volume Two. In a sense this is a plus because the sound mix does not call as much attention to itself, but it's also a minus since this is the kind of show that is dying for a gimmicky, "listen to me" kind of sound mix. At any rate, the dialogue is easily understood and the sound effects come through load and clear. It's a fine listen, but hopefully the next volume will be a bit more dynamic.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
11 TV Spots/Teasers
3 Deleted Scenes
Screenplay
1 Documentaries
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by John Brestan, Jay Edwards, Scott Fry, Craig Hartin, Ned Hastings, Nick Ingkatanuwat, Khaki Jones, Matt Maiellaro, Carey Means, Bob Pettitt, Vischal Roney, Dana Snyder, Dave Willis
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Liner Notes—an essay by Todd Hanson and Chris Karwowski about certain facts and myths surrounding the show.
  2. Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary Home Karaoke—three different recordings of the song, set to images for Karaoke.
  3. On Loan From the Private Collection of Vischal Roney—conceptual art drawings by Vischal Roney.
  4. Put This On Your Phone For Instant Popularity—different answering machine messages by characters from the show.
Extras Review: Apart from liner notes that can be found underneath the two disc hubs, all of the extra features are on the second disc. The liner notes, written by Todd Hanson and Chris Karwowski of The Onion are a mocking (duh) review of the show's history, crossing between believable tidbits and blatant jokes about certain trivia. It's certainly in keeping with The Onion's sense of humor, which isn't saying much.

On disc 2, each of the four episodes can be played with commentary from a variety of actors, animators, and the show's creators. There's very little in the way of commentary occurring on these tracks, since they are mostly a collection of inside jokes that the listener isn't privy to. However, on occasion, Dana Snyder (who voices Shake) makes a rather amusing comment. Following the commentaries are copies of the scripts of The Last One, Frat Aliens, The Dressing, and Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary, which can be viewed with the show's audio. It's a rather superfluous extra, but for the fact that it allows one to see the notes written on the script by (presumably) Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro.

The most amusing extra is Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary Home Karaoke. What originally seemed like an indecipherable birthday song is now made accessible for all future birthday parties. Definitely play this at your next birthday—the chicks will dig it! There are three different recordings of the song (each three minutes, 36 seconds); one as originally heard in the show, another by shake, and then a third without any vocals but your own.

On Loan From the Private Collection of Vischal Roney (07m:36s) is a collection of conceptual art drawings set to music featured in the show. It gets tiresome after the first couple of minutes, unfortunately. Even more tiresome is the documentary How to Score Big Making Money Writing for Television (36m:22s). It is pretty much nothing but Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis writing a script on a computer. There's a reason why this stage of the creative process does not normally get its own documentary: it's boring! C'mon, who wants to watch some seemingly hungover guys write a script?

Getting back to the good stuff, there are three deleted scenes totaling four minutes, two seconds. It's easy to see why these scenes were cut out from their respective episodes (especially since two of them are only continuations of Dr. Weird's opening skit), but they're funny nonetheless. There's also a collection of nine answering machine recordings by different characters on the show. The DVD menu claims it'll make you popular, so you should go ahead and do it without thinking. The final feature is a collection of 11 TV spots for the show that used to run on Adult Swim. There's a lot of nice humor in these spots, making this probably the best supplemental of the whole set.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Warner Home Video continues to deliver the goods with its series of Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD sets. The sound mix is not quite as lively as Volume Two's, but it still is a fine listen. The image is a fine, though flawed, transfer that creates a pleasant viewing experience. The extras are a little tiresome, but have an occasional laugh to make them worthwhile.

 


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