Film and TV

Aqua Rangers: All Wet

It seems like there's been a lot of mention of The Aqua Rangers premiere tonight. You can find it in this issue's Night and Day section, a primo pic and preview in last Friday's Dallas Voice, and it's all over (they're a sponsor). Add to that a Myspace page and, of course, their Web site.

So, what is it? Well, it's supposed to be a campy take on old movie serials: The Aqua Rangers, Webb Torpedo and Rusty Bolts, defend the Aquaverse from the evil Ching Chang Fu. Wacky? Sure. But what is it really? Honestly, it's pretty bad. Created by Derek E. Welch (aka Ricki Derek) and Nick Gibbons, the seven-episode serial is probably intended to be so bad it's funny. But watching it just made me feel awkward and icky.

The brightly colorful packaging looks like a kids' video, which was what I was expecting--a live action, really silly and "bad" human version of, oh, Spongebob Squarepants. If only. With brazenly stuffed crotches, simulated oral sex and deadly floating scrotums, I felt like I was watching some project by a teenager who knows enough about Final Cut Pro and his parents' video camera to make the effort. I was just never sure who their audience is intended to be. According to the Voice, they are trying to get Aqua Rangers pitched to Adult Swim. I think that's supposed to answer my question, which did nothing to erage this giant huh? hanging over my head.

The DVD, selling for $15, is jam-packed with bloopers, trailers and even a couple of hidden Easter eggs. Skip all those and go to the commercial spoofs. There, you'll find some genuine moments of comedic lowbrow brilliance as they pitch such products as Glade Plug Ups for "nosehair burning ass bombs" and Michael Jackson's Neverland Amusement Compound with rides such as the Don't Tell-evator and The Pedal File; they almost make the purchase worth the price. My personal favorite: "You must be under this height to get in." Funny! If only the feature itself possessed the same production quality and, ya know, humor.

But this is just fair warning for anyone heading there tonight. And if the whole Adult Swim thing works out, then more power to 'em. Good luck with all that. We're always pulling for locals to make it, even if those locals are guys with guts wearing Spandex and tennis shoes as they fight dolphins. The premiere is quite the event; Shibboleth and comedian Dave Little will also perform, providing a much-needed distraction from the feature presentation. Doors open at 7. And if you don't make it, then there's always the trailer, which we've included below. --Rich Lopez