Red vs. Blue Season 11 (Cert 15)
1 Disc (Distributor: Animatsu Entertainment) Running time: 123 minutes approx.
I’d like to apologise in advance for what is going to be the most ignorant review ever posted on this site, as it falls into a category I have absolutely no knowledge or interest in.
For some of you the title Red vs. Blue might be familiar one although “some” is not an obtuse figure in this instance. It is another production from online animation group Rooster Teeth, the group behind the anime influenced RWBY, and is based in the same universe as a video game series called Halo. Loyal readers of this site (both of you) will know I am not a gamer thus I am automatically at a great disadvantage when it comes to prior recognition and familiarity with the franchise.
Similarly the Season 11 subtitle is not a joke, there really has been ten seasons before this one, which – to the best of my limited knowledge – have not had a DVD release in this country outside of importing. This makes it quite a risk for distributor Animatsu to begin releasing the series at this late point in its run, assuming that the general populace is as clueless about this franchise as yours truly is.
It is evident from the onset that existing knowledge of the series and its characters is fundamentally essential, doing nothing to educate to any newcomers, who let’s face aren’t likely to jump aboard this at such a late stage without the safety net of being able to find the previous ten volumes to complete the puzzle – unless they go to the Rooster Teeth presumably.
To that end I ask your forgiveness for not being able to supply a sufficient plot summary or the usual discussion about said storyline as I genuine have no clue what is going on, a terse recap at the start providing little comfort. Consulting a chapter by chapter breakdown on Wikipedia (the series of single episodes have been pieced together into a single feature) doesn’t help much, although a brief synopsis reveals that the two teams have been stranded on an undisclosed planet after the events of the season 10 and are settling in until they can be rescued.
Most of the activities seem to revolve around people in coloured armoured suits standing around arguing with each other. Who these people are is also left undefined for us neophytes and with the regular conflict free interactions between the Red and Blue squads, the idea that there is a feud between them isn’t illustrated here. Both teams argue with each other as well as their opposite numbers but what I can gather a third party arrives, uniting the rivals in the name of survival.
The Blue Team build a large non-humanoid robot which they name Freckles while the Reds build a robot that speaks Spanish named Lopez 2.0, based on a former colleague of theirs I believe but might be wrong. Oh and one chap called Simmons restores a computer system so he can connect to his Facebook page. Aside from some brief warfare against the hostile interlopers that fill up the last few minutes, the emphasis is basically on the spoken exchanges between the various cast members.
Being an American production the script is full of profanity (hence the 15 rating) spiking the snappy dialogue and acerbic barbs traded with machine rapidity. This is an area where I am at a further disadvantage by being hard of hearing and there are no subtitles on this disc for people like myself. And with the character all hidden behind helmets, their voices have been processed to replicate the electronic communication sound which unfortunately makes them even harder for the likes of me to understand.
Those of with better hearing will no doubt enjoy the banter but the script, from what I could well, lacks any sophistication and with everyone being ready with a “witty” comeback. Certainly being hidden behind the armour and not knowing it is difficult to establish who is who, with the exceptions being Red leader Sarge – a gruff drill sergeant type – and of course Lopez 2.0. Yes they have varying shades of colours but the difference between having 10 seasons and 2 hours to distinguish the cast is demonstrably substantial.
Animation wise this is another CGI affair which sticks religiously to its game roots, in every aspect – the way they stand, run and in the depiction of battles. If one didn’t know this was based on a video game the visuals would surely be a giveaway, creating the impression that we are watching a game demo in action. Unfortunately, presumably due to budgetary limitations, a few imperfections are evident, such as the odd matting issue during movements, or the sharp drawn edges blending awkwardly with the backgrounds (which admittedly do look fabulous and superbly detailed).
Considering this was supposed to be a series of five minute chapters to be aired over the internet, perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on these little production glitches but on HD Blu-ray they become rather exposed, but as this is aimed at the dedicated fan, I can’t imagine there will be too many complaints, and one gets used to its soon enough. Overall the presentation is competent enough to pass muster in lieu of its humble origins.
In all honesty I am probably the wrong person to pass final judgement on this release, not just because I am not a gamer with no knowledge or interest in the Halo franchise from whence this spawned, but because I couldn’t follow it, I just didn’t care about it.
So, if like me you are not a gamer or are new to the franchise then it is best to leave this title be as it is unlikely to convert you. If you do know the Halo universe and have seen the previous instalments of Red vs. Blue enjoy this HD release.
Behind The Scenes
PSA: Voting Fever
PSA: Game Changer
Deleted Scenes 1 & 2
More From Rooster Teeth
Rating – **
Man In Black