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A&E Home Video presents
Rex the Runt: The Complete First Series (1998)

"Blimey! You all are in a right state! Well, if you all gonna go joyridin' by the edge of a rotatin' event horizon you're bound to hit the singularity, ain't ya?"
- Alien Janitor (Elisabeth Hadley)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: September 11, 2002

Stars: Steve Box, Elisabeth Hadley, Andy Jeffers, Colin Rote
Other Stars: Arthur Smith, Paul Merton, Phil Jupitus, Bobby Ball, Graham Norton
Director: Dan Capozzi, Chris Sadler, Sam Fell, Peter Peake

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some language, suggestive dialogue and situations)
Run Time: 04h:00m00s
Release Date: September 10, 2002
UPC: 733961705478
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+B+B- C+

DVD Review

Though you may well question your sanity while watching it, Rex the Runt is still one of the most entertaining rides you're likely to have. It's quite silly, stupid, surreal and a few other things that begin with 's.' Rex is a claymation creation from the studio behind works like Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, but its relationship to those shows is pretty much limited to the use of clay. Creator Richard Goleszowski, best known for his various commercial works, certainly heads into unusual terrain here, but terrain that's very funny nonetheless. In the tradition of the best of British comedy, Rex the Runt is virtually plotless, pointless, and quite hilarious. It's bits and pieces of Monty Python,The Young Ones, Red Dwarf, and a dash of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The story, if it can be called that, concerns Rex. Rex is a dog, and he lives with his two friends Bad Bob (a dog), Wendy (another dog), and his pet dog, Vince, who is afflicted by "Random Pavarotti Disease." Their misadventures are televised for all to see and whether they're simply cooking breakfast, traveling to the North Pole, or going inside Vince's head, the BBC expects them to be entertaining. So, under the ever-looming threat of losing their television show, Rex and crew try to improvise something to do with their normally boring lives. Each episode is about 10 minutes long, which makes it feel even more frenetic and bizarre. Many topics are covered and many adventures are to be had, and most of them are pretty twisted. Guest stars make frequent appearances, lending their voices to a variety of strange characters, but only the most die-hard of British comedy fans will recognize them all without a flowchart and some visual aids.

The show encompass all kinds of things, from Rex and his friends auditioning for a talent show, to going back in time, to traveling through a jungle inside their bed. Contained in this set are all 26 episodes of the original series in its initial 2 seasons. To be honest, I'm surprised so many episodes were, in fact, made for television. Not that I think Rex the Runt is bad—far from it. It seems like the kind of show unlikely to find an audience fast enough to please most television execs and it is so filled with TV satire and a contempt for much of the modern television realm. But then, so were a lot of classic, wildly popular British comedies, so I guess it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. While often juvenile, there's no disputing that the charm of this show is its simplistic direction, which leads to nothing but the best of the excuses to have fun.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Apart from a small amount of source grain, there is little to complain about here. The image is quite colorful and clean; nothing is lost in the transfer. There are no distracting artifacts or other digital issues, and the claymation is rendered quite well and about what you'd expect.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby Surround and, surprisingly, there are a few surround effects here and there. The general soundfield is quite rich and well done, with tons of sound effects added in to set the mood properly. The dialogue is a bit murky at times, buried beneath the far crisper stereo imaging of other sound elements, but it's a minor issue.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 26 cues
1 Original Trailer(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Galleries
  2. Rex The Runt History
Extras Review: The disc uses a mildly awkward setup that might annoy some people. The episodes are not on individual chapter stops, but rather part of one, long chapter. Unfortunately, this means you can't fast forward, but instead, must select each individual episode from the menu. Extras include 2 photo galleries, the history of Rex the Runt's development, and some weblinks.

One photo gallery is a series of very plainly presented poses from some of the show's characters; the other is "Wendy's Photo Shoot" (from the Rex website), which is a joke series of 3 'erotic' photos of Wendy. There is also the original broadcast trailer for season 2, which is quite long at about 4 minutes. The packaging is fairly standard, but colorful and appropriately goofy without going overboard. All in all, a pleasing package.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Right up the alley of anyone who likes the more surreal, wacky side of comedy, Rex the Runt makes perfect viewing material when you're in the mood for something out of the ordinary.

 


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