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THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD

 



The Amazing Screw-on Head (2006)
 

Actors: Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Patton Oswalt, Corey Burton, Mindy Sterling
Director: Chris Prynoski
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs:
1
Language:
English
Studio:
Lions Gate
Run Time:
42 minutes
 

Movie:
Disc:

 

This animated short is based on a comic book of the same name by Mike Mignola (best known for his Hellboy comics).

The plot involves a robot with a detachable head known as the Amazing Screw-On Head who is in the employ of Abraham Lincoln (yes, that Abraham Lincoln) in pre-Civil War America. When one of Screw-On Head's previous man servants, who calls himself Emperor Zombie, goes bad and tries to find an ancient artifact that threatens the entire planet's existence, Screw-On Head has to stop him.

Filmed as a pilot episode of sorts, the single episode was commissioned by the Sci-Fi Channel and apparently viewers could vote on whether they wanted to see more of Amazing Screw-On Head. The voting seemingly didn't go well: in the six months or so since the show's original broadcast there has been no word on whether the Sci-Fi Channel would commission an entire series.

So don't be misled by the full price you pay for this DVD: all you get on your disc is that one 22 minutes long episode plus a 14 minutes making-of short. On the one hand it is understandable that viewers didn't take to Amazing Screw-On Head: it is unrepentantly off-beat and odd and probably not to all tastes.

On the other hand it is a pity that we will probably never see an entire series of Amazing Screw-On Head episodes.

The show is clever and witty; always willing to send up the genre conventions of which its own plot is made up with. The artists do a fantastic job at simulating Mignola's distinctive art work in a live action format even though the animation itself seems a bit static at times. The dialogue sparks and crackles with invention and the voice talents (including the likes of Lady in the Water's Paul Giamatti) are spot on. This would definitely have been a show I would have set the VCR for.

THE DISCS: Since you only get one episode, the DVD producers bravely tries to make the best of the situation and you can choose whether to watch the episode in cropped pan 'n' scan format or its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image is better framed in its original aspect ratio, but the cropped format allows you to luxuriate in the close-up details of the animation. There's a standard making of featurette included and an audio track. Unfortunately no-one seems willing to discuss the show's fate, which remains unclear throughout.

WORTH IT? I'm a quantity over quality guy and while it is a fun episode, it rather galls one to pay  full price for such a short DVD.

RECOMMENDATION: Amazing Screw-On Head is a fun off-beat steampunk adventure that ought to appeal to adult comics fans. But it's still a bit on the short side, innit?


 



 

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