Robot Chicken - DC Comics Special (2013)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 21, 2015 | Comments
Madman | All Regions | 1.78:1, 1080i | English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 | 23 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Seth Green
Stars: Seth Green, Paul Reubens, Neil Patrick Harris, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Megan Fox, Breckin Meyer
Writers: Matthew Beans, Mike Fasolo, Doug Goldstein, Seth Green, Geoff Johns, Breckin Meyer, Tom Root, Matthew Senreich, Kevin Shinick, Zeb Wells
Country: USA
DC Comics has been around for over 75 years, and I think I can confidently say that everyone has been exposed to its work in some way. Be it at the cinema via a Batman or Superman film, on TV with Arrow or cartoons like SuperFriends, or from it's core, like I was: comics. Some of us just played with toys, or busted our legs when we jumped off the roof pretending we were Superman.

I suspect the guys from Robot Chicken are all of the above. For those that are unaware, Robot Chicken is a show co-created by Seth Green (Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Matthew Senreich (ex-Wizard journalist and TV writer/producer), which, using stop motion puppets based on action figures, pokes fun at pretty much every aspect of pop culture, from music to TV to comics to the cult of celebrity.

Occasionally, the Robot Chicken guys pick one aspect of pop culture and give it a right seeing too. They have crucified Star Wars a few times, and here, we see them delicately place DC Comics on a pedestal, and then push them off into a barrel of monkeys.

This episode isn't a story as such, but instead a series of short skits in which the occasional joke may carry over, either from skit to skit (such as Superman using his power to memory wipe Lois with a kiss on the other bad guys) or from the main series into this episode (such as the robot who copulates with everything having its way with the Bat signal). Some of the jokes come from the movies (such as the aforementioned Superman/Lois joke), or TV (the bad BO of the Legion of Doom's mail room clerk) or the comics (the singling out of bad DC comic characters such as Mr Banjo) or are just flat out picking on a character because he is a little bit crap (*cough* Aquaman *cough*).

What is really cool about this, and all Robot Chicken episodes, is the fandom actors that they manage to get to provide voices of the characters. Alex Borstein from Family Guy, Nathan Fillion from Firefly, Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother, Paul Ruebens (you know, Pee Wee Herman), Alfred Molina from Spiderman 2, Megan Fox from Transformers, and many others. There's even a disturbing slightly altered cover of Aerosmith's 'Don't Wanna Miss A Thing' performed by Steve Perry himself.

Now the whole episode is really funny… but I am a huge comic nerd, and I suspect that some non-comic nuts may miss a lot of the jokes. Essentially I watched this with my daughter (comic nerd) and my wife (doesn't know Green Lantern from Green Arrow) and the kid got it, but the wife did not! In other words, there are some dick and bum joke jokes here that non-nerds will chuckle at, but nuances of the characters might be not completely appreciated.

The other, and personally, my only real issue with this release, is the run time. At 23 odd minutes you're going to feel a little gypped There is about 2 hours of extras to balance that off, but is that enough?

DC is more or less an American institution, confident in its strengths, and with that comes an ability to laugh at itself, and the involvement of Chief Creative Officer and writer Geoff Johns means they are in cahoots with Robot Chicken's gentle roasting. DC Comics have had thousands of ideas over the years and not every one has been a good one, and the capacity to work in conjunction with Robot Chicken to not take oneself too seriously makes for a cracker of a laugh.
The Disc
This disc is excellent in both the sound and vision departments, with the brief feature presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio.

Thankfully the copious amount of fanboy-centric extras cover this disc for its lack of main event content.

The Making of the RCDC Special takes a brief look at what goes into stop motion animation comedy, from story conception to set and puppet building. It would appear that everyone that works at the Robot Chicken studios is a comedian in the making.

RCDC's Aquaman Origin Story is a brief snippet sorting out exactly who it was that decided that Aquaman should be the major butt of all the jokes in this special.

Chicken Nuggets is one of those features that you can choose to activate whilst watching the feature. Every time the silhouette of the Robot Chicken appears in top right of your screen you can press 'enter' on your remote control and get a small anecdote from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich and Geoff Johns about that particular scene. Realistically, these sorts of things would be done in directors commentaries, but the jokes fly by so quick, it is far better to actually stop the film and get the full story.

This of course leads us directly into the two commentaries, one performed by the writers and the other performed by some of the actors, which are predominantly chaotic affairs which don't really offer much introspection into the feature but are pretty funny, as these are a bunch of pretty funny guys.

The next feature was possibly my favourite one: the DC Entertainment Tour. This sees Green and Senreich look around the headquarters of the part of DC Comics that deals with all their toys and video games with Geoff Johns… and it looks awesome!! Honestly, if I was allowed to walk around there for a day, it would be the greatest day of my life… Um… I mean after getting married and the birth of Whatshername, my daughter.

Stoopid Alter Egos shows a promotional event starring a large bunch of cosplayers, which for those that don't know, are adults who get dressed up in skin tight latex outside of the bedroom.

Cut Sketches features a bunch of bits that were dumped for timing, and are presented here as animatics. Green actually comments in one of the extras that there was about 45 minutes of sketches cut!! The best one here has to be The Spectre getting his first smartphone, and texting Zatanna, though Captain Cold masturbating to an ice cream headache runs a close second.

5.2 Questions sees Green, Senreich and Johns being asked questions: 5 relating to the special, and 2 not related.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I really want to give this high marks, but the value-for-money guy in me just can't. I should get my value for money from any Blu-ray or DVD from the feature, and the extras should be just that: extras. When your headline feature doesn't even touch the 25 minute mark, I just can't rate it too highly, no matter how funny it is. Unless you manage to pick it up for about 5 bucks, in which case, double my 'Film' score.
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