Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

Late-night cult cartoon ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ sees if it can compel its fans to get off the couch

Sara Nicole Miller

On February 1, 2007, CNN Headline News reported as follows: “Authorities have arrested two men in connection with electronic light boards depicting a middle-finger-waving moon man that triggered repeated bomb scares around Boston. Ö”

“Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters”

STARRING: Dana Snyder, Dave Willis and Carey Means
DIRECTED BY: Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis
PLAYING AT: Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis www.landmarktheatres.com (612) 825-6006

Thank heavens for cartoons. Never in a million years would folks have guessed that Ignignokt and Err, the malevolent Mooninites from “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” would become the disputed material that bomb scares are made of.

But the malarkey doesn’t cease there. The two lunar delinquents, who initially came to Earth to “steal your pornography and sodomize our vast imaginations,” will soon ride a roller coaster, steal furniture and hurl pixilated chunks of vomit in the new feature film “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.”

And those are just two members of the supporting cast. It gets weirder. The deconstructionist, patchwork animation film centers around the lives of three anthropomorphic fast food characters with superpowers – Frylock, Master Shake and Meatwad – as they live out their uncanny domestic lives in a rented, tagged-up rambler in urban Jersey.

Born in the stockyards of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, the television show is every pop geek’s googily-eyed, sci-fi pre-porn fantasy, owing mostly to the fact that the skits are unapologetically surrealist and an ADD-approved 11 minutes long. But shove those stock characters and goo-in-a-sidewalk-crack humor into 84 minutes of crackpot aesthetics and narrative jumbles, and you’ve got one helluva trip to la-la wasteland.

As the cut-and-paste plot of the film goes, the three rogue animal by-products set out to discover the mystery behind the prehistoric exercise machine – the Insanoflex – that, once unleashed, threatens to destroy their twisted semblance of normal life (not to mention turn their fat neighbor Carl into a pulverized, body-building meat suit to the tune of a plasticized techno loop).

As is true to form in “Aqua Teen’s” surreal life, their world-saving antics are a bit muddled by the intersecting quests of a menagerie of villains; among them the infamous Mooninites, Dr. Weird (who owns a laboratory-turned-lofts piece of real estate on the South Jersey Shore), Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future and the one and only Rush member Neil Peart – who revives Meatwad with his redemptive “drum solo of life.” Somehow, their unlikely alliance of forces and counter-forces stop the Insanoflex, but not before the McTrio meet their makers – and a fourth, since-perished menu item named “Chicken Little.” Even Carl (almost) gets some booty from a female body builder.

Given all of the whack-job miscellany and plot entirely driven by the bickering of dumb, linty characters, the best part of the film is the introduction. An ingenious parody of the vintage drive-in movie concession stand promos, the old Rockettes-style popcorn, hot dog and soda fountain line dancers are upstaged by a clandestine heavy metal band of wayward foodstuffs that threatens to “tear your wife in half” if you bring in a camcorder and record the show.

In all, the garish scene-scapes and manic one-liners that make up the film don’t make for much – unless, of course, that’s what you’ve come to expect from this unsavory crew. Called “Three’s Company on Acid” by creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters” more closely resembles the primordial sludge and hair clumps inside the pop culture strain drain. But even within the murkiest of disposable stews lie a few prized particles worth hanging on to.