Per Matt
The Aqua Teens will never die!

While that statement is more opinion than reality, the fact of the matter is the O.G. animated program that premiered on the Adult Swim late-night block way back in 2001 truly is the little show that could. The 15-minute-long show, along with a few others (most notably Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Sealab 2021 and Space Ghost Coast to Coast) single-handedly brought older-skewing eyeballs to Cartoon Network and built a reputation for outrageous storylines that were often laugh-out-loud bizarre.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force followed a trio of anthropomorphic fast-food items, including the brainy Frylock (voiced by Carey Means), the mouthy Master Shake (Dana Snyder) and the loveable Meatwad (Dave Willis), who often terrorized their perverted neighbor, Carl (also Willis). After seven seasons, the title and intro changed for the final four seasons, but the characters remained the same… mostly.

While they eventually received an origin story (Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters), the TV show was eventually cancelled. And thenĀ Aqua Teen Forever: Plantasm regrew hope for fans of the long-running series — this time, as a direct-to-video film.

As we begin, the band has broken up, with each character having their own adventure. Time has not been kind to them as they attempt to live their best solo lives. Half-way through the story they finally meet up and realize that if they can push aside their petty differences in order to work together, they can defeat a megalomaniacal leader of a delivery service much like Amazon (called Amazin’), who has aspirations of taking over the world.

Many familiar faces make appearances, along with some new ones (including the Fraptackulans and Japangaloids). Two of my favorites, the 8-bit Mooninites, bring meta jokes in between scenes. It seems their sole purpose here is to disrupt the storyline and annoy the viewers (Mission Accomplished!), but their boss battle near the conclusion is pretty epic.

“This is nothing but a pathetic cash grab. Theaters rejected it…”

Friendship lies at the heart of the storyline and much like Easter Sunday, there’s a handful of great Easter eggs scattered about, most notably Frylock’s legal name and the mysterious Jewel of Idahocales. I’ve got to say it’s nice to see some smooth animation this time around that doesn’t look like it was scribbled on a shoestring budget.

While I don’t remember much from the Colon Movie other than all the curse words that weren’t censored (which didn’t improve upon the overall storyline), I did enjoy this adaptation breaking the chains from basic cable. It is quite surprising for a few political hot-buttons to be touched upon here, but I did enjoy the new theme song by Run the Jewels — where’s Schooly D, by the way?

Now, you can’t reboot something that never dies, but it’s nice to learn after watching this film, that Season 12 has officially received the green light. That’s great news, and since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger has finally been approved, I hope ATHF can branch out to include new characters. They don’t need to be classic cartoon characters, like those satirized in the film’s intro, but I’d be OK with something of the sort.

So, it’s official: The Aqua Teens will reach an all-new generation of fans with new episodes, 22 years after the show premiered. I’m thankful I don’t have to turn over a new leaf in order watch brand new adventures of my late-night friends before fading away into a deep sleep. I can’t wait.

“This thing, Aqua Teen… we’re in this for life.”