Twenty years ago, astronaut Earl Jensen blasts off into space, only to be betrayed Earthsideby the evil Dr. Frubar. Earl loses his fuel and drifts off into space. In the present, he returns, benton revenge, and accompanied by a group of strange and ferocious creatures. Summarized thus,the film sounds nowhere near as bizarre as it actually is. But wait until you see what happenedto Earl while he was in space for 20 years. This you should discover for yourself, but I will say…hat the easily offended should run for the hills. Everyone else should have a fine old time.Though some of the gags are stretched out a bit, the off-kilter approach and distinctive Plymptondrawing and animation styles win you over.
The mix is only 2.0, but is a very powerful one, requiring very action from the volume knobto become quite deafening. The music is great, and both it and the sound effects benefit from avery rich bass. The environmental effects are very strong — check out the enveloping sounds ofmedia voices in the opening scene, or the widely separated sounds of bullet casings hitting thefloor once the action kicks in. The dialogue is distortion-free, even on the very loud screams.
The ratio is 1.78:1, and I can’t help but wonder if this was in fact the actual format. Still, thetransfer itself is impeccable, perfectly capturing Plympton’s trademark use of pastel colourspunctuated by splashes of extremely red blood. So the contrasts are used to fine comic effect. Theimage is razor sharp, so not a single detail of the terrific drawing is lost, and there is no grain orprint damage whatsoever.
The case boasts the use of “DVD-9 Technology: 2 Disks in One!” Where this boast bearsitself out, I assume is through “Behind the Drawings: The Plympton Diaries.” This video diarydocuments the entire process of making Mutant Aliens, from conception to distribution, and at90 minutes is longer than the feature itself. In case you missed any information there, there is alsoPlympton’s commentary, where he talks a lot about what he is hoping to achieve with hisanimation. Though he touches on some technical detail, that is more the province of thedocumentary. The Alien Mutations Game allows you to chose one animal from each of twocolumns, with the result amusingly combined into a new creature. Finally, there is a montage oftrailers from IndieDVD (Pop, Anarchy TV, The Devil’s Keep, and Plympton’s forthcoming HairHigh). The menu is scored, and is rather slow to react between screens.
Plympton is an acquired taste (and yes, I’ve acquired it), and he is a true original. It’s great tosee an feature length animated film that is clearly the product of a particular dementedconsciousness.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Behind the Drawings: The Plympton Diaries
- Alien Mutations Game