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Robot Chicken DC Comics Special
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/9/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/8/2013
This may sound an insult, but most people aren't very imaginative -- they got no whimsy. If you ask most about their "dream job", they would most likely give you a less stressful version of their current job or something just as dull. However, if pushed to wonder about their "fantasy dream job", that's where you'll get more interesting answers, such as playing video games for money or professional athlete. How about playing with your toys and getting paid for it? That's what Seth Green has been able to do with the Cartoon Network show Robot Chicken. Using his minor celebrity, the actor was able to parlay his hobby into a new career on the show where action figures act out absurd skits. The show hits many topics under the pop culture umbrella, but it actually focused its attention for the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special.
Clocking in at around 22-minutes, the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special features many segments of varying lengths which take humorous jabs at famous and not-so-famous DC Comics characters...mainly Aquaman. We see what goes on behind closed doors at the Legion of Doom when they aren't planning the demise of the Justice League. "Real Characters from the DC Universe" introduces to three odd beings, one of which I'd actually heard of. There's a riff on Superman II, as well as a running joke about Bane (from the comics, not the movies) attacking Batman. We see superheroes out on the town attempting to pick up the ladies. And, as noted earlier, we get several sketches in which Aquaman's powers and usefulness are called into question.
Even with its brief running time, Robot Chicken DC Comics Special is a mixed bag (so it's just like every other episode of Robot Chicken). Surprisingly, there aren't that many inside jokes here. Of course, if you have a working knowledge of the DC Comics universe you're going to get more enjoyment out of this, especially semi-obscure things like the Solomon Grundy segment, but it's not a prerequisite. Again, we get a pretty clever spoof of Superman II (which asks a legitimate question) and even those who don't know Bane from the comics will recognize him from The Dark Knight Returns. Those aren't exactly obscure movies. Anyone who grew up in the 70s will appreciate the Super Friends references.
As far as the overall jokes, there is plenty here which is humorous, but not much which is truly laugh out loud funny. At this point, Aquaman is too much of an easy target and I feel that he's been spoofed everywhere. Some of the jokes simply aren't funny, such as the running gag about the mail room clerk at the Legion of Doom. To me, the funniest moment came from a one-liner from Swamp Thing.
Overall, I would say that Robot Chicken DC Comics Special will hold little appeal for most. (And not just because they could have already seen in on TV.) The special is short and it's not consistently funny enough to recommend. This one is for die-hard Robot Chicken and DC Comics fans only. Everyone else will find a few thing over which to chuckle, but they'll soon forget it.
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special throws in a random robot on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, especially reds and blues, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image has a nice amount of depth and we can clearly see how the dolls stand out from the backgrounds. The only real issue here is that the digital image makes the odd mouth animations even more choppy. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The bulk of the audio here comes from the front channels. We get some stereo effects when things move off-screen and subtle surround effects from crowd noise. A few of the punches bring in the subwoofer, but otherwise, this is a somewhat weak track.
The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special contains several extras. We begins with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from writers Zeb Wells, Tom Root, Geoff Johns, Matt Beans, Michael Fasolo, and Kevin Shinick. We then get a second COMMENTARY with actors Matt Seinrich, Abraham Benrubi, Alfred Molina, Seth Green, and Tom Root. "The Making of the RCDC Special" (10 minutes) contains comments from the writers and producers who give us a semi-detailed account of how the special came together and what the original cut was like. We get to see footage from the writer's room and the recording booth. "RCDC's Aquaman Origin Story" (90 seconds) has the writers discussing...something...this segment isn't very coherent. "Chicken Nuggets" is a viewing option where the special will stop and allow access to behind-the-scenes footage with Green, Johns, and Seinrich explaining the scene. "DC Entertainment Tour" (7 minutes) shows Green and Seinrich visiting the DC offices. For some reason, we get to see how staff members at Robot Chicken dressed up like characters in "Stoopid Alter Egos" (4 minutes). "Outtakes" (2 minutes) shows the voice actors goofing around and flubbing lines. We get 13 "Cut Sketches" (15 minutes) combines storyboard footage and writer's room discussions of scenes which didn't make it into the show. "5.2 Questions" (2 minutes) is a short where Green, Seinrich, and Johns answer questions about DC Comics.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.