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Shout Factory presents
Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation: Caught in the Act (2005)

"He's a true American legend...from America!"
- announcer in Here Comes Dr. Tran

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: February 16, 2005

Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for graphic animated violence, adult themes
Run Time: 01h:16m:00s
Release Date: February 08, 2005
UPC: 826663302295
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- C+BC- C

DVD Review

The Spike & Mike Festival of Animation has been making the rounds at various film festivals and art houses across the country since 1990. This collection of up-and-coming animators is presented in two formats: a clean and a dirty one. The clean one launched the mainstream careers of Bill Plympton, Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit), and Tim Burton, but it is their Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation that drew sell-out crowds in the various theaters. Different variations of this festival have produced the classic "No-Neck Joe" shorts, and have also introduced the world to South Park, debuting the infamous Spirit of Christmas short that put Matt Stone and Trey Parker on the map.

Caught in the Act is the newest collection of animated shorts to be unleashed upon the public. However, this is the most unbalanced set to come from Spike & Mike yet. It's usually a safe bet that at least half of the shorts in a given collection will be downright hilarious. Yet, with Caught in the Act, it just feels like something's missing. Sure, the edgy nastiness is intact, whether it's the animals being ripped apart in a new edition of Happy Tree Friends or the plain disgustingness of The Legend of Raggot,, but there are only a couple of these shorts that are actually funny.

There are just far too many of these shorts whose sole intention is to be as gross as possible. In the early days of Spike & Mike, the shorts were still as nasty as anything you'll ever see outside of a theater or film festival, but they had the right edginess to them, making them darkly comedic. Here, films like Stinky Monkey, Pornoless, the utterly pointless Schindler's Fist, and Rez-Erection are completely forgettable, unfunny fare.

While Caught in the Act is far from being the best that Spike & Mike have to offer, it does feature one of the funniest animated shorts you'll ever see. This short just happens to be the last on the disc, Here Comes Dr. Tran. This features a young Asian child that is shocked to have a camera trained on him. This camera is accompanied by a voice-over announcer who continually calls him Dr. Tran and is advertising the new "Dr. Tran" movie. The genius of the piece is the fact that the kid has no idea who Dr. Tran is or what the announcer is talking about, and, about three minutes into the piece, is pleading with the announcer to get out of his house. The 3-D glasses that come with the DVD are used during this segment, but the way that they are used only adds to the comedy.

There are a few other bright spots here, namely the political fun of Hippie Juice, the delightfully graphic, completely off-the-wall Boris the Dog, and actually somewhat cute Proper Urinal Etiquette. Still, the good shorts are few and far between, and none can compare with the pure hilarity of Here Comes Dr. Tran. Unfortunately, it's the last film in this collection, with the producers apparently going by the motto of "saving the best for last."

Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation: Caught in the Act features the following short films:

1. Spike and Mike Intro
2. Refrigerator Art: My Family
3. Quack Off
4. Hippie Juice
5. The Legend of Raggot
6. Grimm's Humpty Dumpty
7. Beat the Brat
8. Rip Wack
9. Stinky Monkey
10. Pornoless
11. Proper Urinal Etiquette
12. Schindler's Fist
13. Love that Pussy
14. Le Tresor du tetard sale (Treasure of the Salted Tadpole)
15. Happy Tree Friends: Milkin' It
16. Boris the Dog
17. My First Boner
18. Rez-Erection
19. Here Comes Dr. Tran
20. Spike and Mike Exit

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Since each of these short films utilized various computer animation programs in their production, the overall video quality varies greatly from film to film. Still, everything looks generally good, with most of the films featuring strong, vibrant colors that never bleed or exhibit any other flaws. There is very little grain or other blemishes, with Here Comes Dr. Tran, Rip Wack, and Boris the Dog among the best looking in the set.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The overall audio presentation is about as bland as can be expected for these low-budget films, but it is good enough for the material. Everthing stays in the front of the soundfield, with the dialogue being crisp and easy to understand at all times. It's fortunate that the impact of these films doesn't depend on dynamic audio tracks, because, frankly, the audio here is far from impressive.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Best of Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The Making of Here Comes Dr. Tran is a 13-minute look at the funniest short film on this disc. It gives us a peek at the live-action interviews shot for the film as well as taking us inside animation studio. Interviews with the short's creators also provide insight as to the origins of Dr. Tran and how they realized just how funny this concept could be.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

It's a real treat to have the renowned Spike & Mike animation festivals on DVD, and here's hoping that more and more of these make their way to the format. However, most of these films (aside from Here Comes Dr. Tran) represent the weakest of animated films. Perhaps all will be forgiven with the release of another of entry on DVD in the near future.


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