Tripping the Rift: The Movie (2008)

zRis

My first experience with “Tripping the Rift” was on the television show “Exposure” on the Science Fiction channel where the series that displayed a variety of independent filmmakers and their short films aired a special “Star Wars” tribute episode. “Tripping the Rift” was one of my favorites of the episode and it powered on to be a cult spin-off that I never sadly watched while it was on the air. “Tripping the Rift: The Movie” is a serviceable pop culture love letter, with not a single hint of originality, but a great energy that makes it worthy of the watch, even for people who have no idea what the plot is. Because, I sure as hell don’t. I know it’s a Canadian cartoon of the Canuck persuasion, and has a really hot computer animated chick in it.

It possesses a shocking amount of sex jokes, and really it’s just compilation of episodes that were eventually combined to be a “movie,” and it surprisingly works at times. I’m not sure if it was the spastic energy, or the endless pop culture references, but it’s an experience that warrants some portion of viewers, if nothing more than to see the “Young Frankenstein” homage. Among the voice cast there are some rather notable heavyweights including the great Maurice LaMarche as sexually ambiguous robotic sex slave Gus, the hilarious Stephen Root as Chode, the always insufferable Jenny McCarthy who adds little, except the allure that Six should have. Technically a newcomer to the series, the “movie” makes a good case for being a good time for a gang of friends and some beer with some very competent computer animation and characters with their own unique appeal. Chode undermines the ability to be cute by his propensity for being foul mouthed and nasty, while his sex slave Six is a male fantasy—and might I add—Chode’s own sex toy.

The character of Gus is a consistently funny running gag thanks to LaMarche’s always excellent voice work and the rather funny repeated lampooning of C-3PO. Beside, I just wanted to see how the clown Terminator would eventually kill the group of Jupiter 24 (erm… that’s the name of their spaceship). One of the reasons why I’m constantly down on “Family Guy” is that it takes any and all pop culture from the last five to ten years and hurls it at us in a rapid fire pace lulling us into thinking the incessant nods to movies and television are comedy and genuine storytelling. In fact, it’s not, it’s just laziness intent on confusing it with storytelling, and the same occurs with “Tripping the Rift.” Hey, I love “The Terminator,” and “Star Wars,” too, but we don’t need so much pop culture references to replace actual plot progression. The numerous writers for “Tripping the Rift” assume if it’s familiar, it’s funny, and in actuality, it rarely ever is. The writers breaking the fourth wall often, also isn’t an argument for comedy or originality.

The humor, when not reliant on our nostalgia, is so random and confusing, it’s tough to enjoy at times, especially when the movie packs in so much distracting noise pollution in the mix. The “movie” itself also bears the comparison to the aforementioned swill, as it simply just takes three episodes and strings them together with a common plot thread to convince us it’s a movie made for the fans. In reality, it feels like, and is, just three episodes pulled together. Without verification, viewers will easily be able to recognize this as one storyline in the first twenty minutes ends to move on to more adventures with the crew while the tone and atmosphere changes drastically. While it’s not a crime to gauge money from fans, at least be crafty about it, and not so blatant. Watching this “movie” was a lot like being involved in a car crash; you know that something happened, but you’re not sure what, why, to what extent, and damned if you can explain it to the police. It has a hot robot, some great random humor, and a cult following attached. It’s a definitely watchable comedy, when all is said and done.