Tripping the Rift, the irreverent Sci-Fi Channel show known for its wild, cutting-edge CGI animation and lusty sense of humor, gets a bawdy, full-length treatment in this unrated feature film.
A sort of intergalactic South Park with a hearty helping of questing spirit, Tripping the Rift tells the saga of a bunch of derelict mutant misfits who live, work and play on the starship Jupiter 42, controlled by a neurotic A.I. being known as Spaceship Bob. Bob’s neuroses are kept in check by the fat, verbally abusive pilot T’nuk (Gayle Garfinkle, offering up a wan David Hyde Pierce impression), while the ship’s inner workings are tended to by robot Gus (voiced by Maurice LaMarche, of Pinky and the Brain), the melancholic chief engineer. No one’s really sure what job is performed by teen slacker Whip (voiced by Rick Jones), but everyone has a definite idea of the specialties of sexy android Six of Nine (voiced by Jenny McCarthy) — she’s the buxom, custom-crafted love slave of Captain Chode (voiced by Stephen Root, of Office Space), a snide, walking purple blob of rancor who hates his crew and feeds off their returned carping disrespect. As Chode and his crew work on their latest money-making scheme in the space princess protection racket (something at which they’re not necessarily very skilled), a cyborg killing machine known as the Exterminator is sent back in time by their nemesis, Bobo, to eliminate them all.
Desperate Housewives, Star Wars and the Terminator series all get tweaked here, and oral sex jokes abound, with plenty of Georgia O’Keefe imagery also trotted out to visually hammer home the point. All the characters here are pretty much your standard two-dimensional types, which cuts both ways: it made the movie very easy to pick up for someone like me, unfamiliar with the series, but it also means that an awful lot of the scenes are pretty rigidly defined in terms of what they offer comedically. The highbrow-meets-lowbrow art design of the project, though, is at times intriguing — Tim Burton-esque black-and-white animation rubbing brusquely up against garishly colorful, far less angular creations.
Housed in a regular Amray case with a cardboard slipcover, Tripping the Rift is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with English language Dolby digital 5.1 and Dolby surround 2.0 audio tracks. A seven-minute making-of featurette includes interview snippets with the show’s voice cast and creators, and gives a nice overview of the series’ inception and coarse raison d’etre. To purchase the movie via Amazon, click here. C (Movie) C+ (Disc)