TV Party Tonight! #129

TV Party Tonight! #129

Thursday, 27 July 2023

The Venture Bros. Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart

I am a Venture Bros fan. I love this show. I take my review of Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart seriously. How seriously? Let me tell you.

In preparation for this movie I rewatched the entire series. One complaint of the show people have is that it has such long gaps between seasons that it’s hard to remember or follow what’s going on in a particular season. That was certainly true for me, so I wanted everything to be fresh in my brain when experiencing this movie (or event). This, to me, was a big deal. The ending of what might just be my favorite show of all time. My rewatching solidified this position and made me that much more nervous about this movie. The series in general is a high-point for cartoons and story-telling. Even if the movie blows it, that legacy would not be tarnished. But boy, would it be nice to go out with the same kind of quality I’ve come to expect from the show.

I blocked off an afternoon to watch Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart and accompanied my viewing with some choice snacks (BBQ chicken wings and a salad: weird, I know). After finishing my first viewing, I formulated an opinion, then immediately started the commentary tracks and bonus features which I consumed over the course of a few days. During that time, I was constantly thinking about the legacy of the show, this movie, and what I was learning from the commentary tracks, bonus features, and interviews. Then, I rewatched the movie and reformed my opinion. It was better. I think about the show still, one week later, and what this movie means. I think I knew I might be talking about Venture Bros for the last time didn’t want that experience. So, what can I say about Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart?

This is a good movie and a satisfying ending to this incredible show.

Let’s put that in perspective, OK? Because that’s really important here. Over the past 7 seasons (and 20 years), Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have built a complex world, filled with complex characters and backstories. They love this world and live in it in their heads. Who knows where they wanted to take the show for the next 3 seasons, but they were expecting at least one more season of story-telling and tying up loose ends. That’s potentially 336 minutes. Instead, they got 74 minutes which they had to push to 84 minutes. If you’re someone (like me), who wants all these plotlines to be tied up neatly in bows, then it would be absolutely impossible to tell a story in these 84 minutes. Instead, Publick and Hammer had to compromise, tell a story in a complete fashion (keep building their world) while addressing questions along the way. In that scenario, you can expect the omission of many characters and plotlines along the way. Of course, a superfan would be disappointed. We expected our favorite characters to be back, or to have a prominent role, and some questions that have captivated us to be given screen time. That simply did not happen. Of course, I was disappointed. But what the creators pull off is simply remarkable. It’s pointless to talk about what the show has been building up to because only followers of the show will watch this movie. They know what’s happened. It’s pointless to talk about the events in this movie because those same fans don’t want spoilers.

All I can say, from one Venture Bros fan to another, is that Jackson and Doc made good on the show, for us AND them, because in a way, we’re all in this together. This one is for the fans, and that’s what this show has always been: for the fans.

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