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Red vs Blue: Season 11 (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000169161
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 19/6/2015 14:26
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    Review for Red vs Blue: Season 11

    8 / 10


    Once in a while a disc turns up for review that reminds me just how out of touch I’ve become in certain areas, usually as a result of real life. I used to be a gamer, and spent more money on games than I ever got enjoyment out of. But I was into games when people would buy them on discs... in big boxes... with printed manuals. Other than a brief dalliance with Sim City 4 a couple of years ago, when I realised I just didn’t have the time for it anymore, I haven’t bought a game since the days when they could all run on a Voodoo II graphics card! You might forgive me then for not knowing what the hell Machinima is. Except that looking it up on Wikipedia, it turns out that Machinima has been around since the mid-nineties as a movement. Machinima is a portmanteau word shortened from Machine Cinema. It’s the art of telling a narrative, a cinematic story by means of capturing real-time game footage, and then re-editing it. You’re relying on a videogame engine to do the work of rendering the image and animating the scenes, and you can then dub in actor voices in ADR, supply your own music soundtrack and so on. As you might expect, this could cause a few legal issues with videogame companies when it comes to rights and fair use.

    Not so for Rooster Teeth, who have the blessings of Microsoft and Bungie to tell their Red vs. Blue story using the Halo game engine. They’ve created in-game characters, and have been telling an epic story set apart from the Halo game universe for some 12 years now, having started their project back in 2003. We in the UK are starting pretty late into the run with Season 11, the start of the Chorus trilogy (Rooster Teeth are up to Season 13), but you don’t have worry about missing out, as all of the Red vs. Blue videos are watchable online from Season 1 onwards, either on Youtube, or hosted on Rooster Teeth’s own site. You can catch up with The Blood Gulch Chronicles, The Recollection, and Project Freelancer if you choose. Not that you really have to, as at the start of this Season 11 disc, re-edited into one feature, you get a quick, if uninformative recap, although you don’t really need to know what happened previously to enjoy the film.

    The spaceship crash-landed, for whatever reason, and the Reds and the Blues have reverted to their typical routine as they await rescue. The Reds, Simmons and Grif led by Sarge are maintaining a peace of a sort with the Blues, Caboose and Tucker, led by Agent Washington. Grif annoys Simmons, and Sarge annoys them both when it comes to the division of their shelter and territory, while Washington’s being all leader, trying to get the radio to work so they can call for help, keeping Tucker in training, and stopping Caboose from getting too depressed. Not that’s liable to happen now that Caboose has found a new friend, a giant robot called Freckles who has some odd ideas about command structure. If that’s going to happen, the Reds need a robot too, which is when Sarge builds another Lopez. And when they do eventually get the radio to work, they manage to contact Donut, who brings Doc and the original Lopez with him, but then sends the rescue ship away, leaving them all stranded on a desert planet in the middle of nowhere...

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    Only the planet isn’t deserted, it’s very much populated, and some people have their eyes on the Reds and the Blues, the greatest soldiers in the entire universe, if you can believe that!


    Red vs. Blue gets a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer at 1080i 60Hz. Given that the footage is captured from various XBoxes, that format is to be expected. You’re essentially looking at videogame footage here, which is as good as a console can render, so if I were still qualified, this would be where I’d be whinging about polygon counts, texture maps, draw distances and clipping and the like. Since I’m about ten years out of date for that, I’ll just say that Red vs. Blue looks pretty good, and graphical glitches are few and far between. Whether that’s a compliment to Rooster Teeth or Microsoft or Bungie, I don’t know. It’s all clear, and sharp, and watchable throughout.

    The images in this review are sourced from the PR, and aren't necessarily representative of the final retail release.


    The audio is somewhat disappointing for Blu-ray, in that it’s only at DVD quality DD 5.1 Surround English. It’s actually a dialogue focussed piece, so everything stays pretty much front and centre throughout, with the odd moment of action getting the surround workout. Unfortunately, this release lacks subtitles, which given that all the characters are conversing on radios behind faceless helmets, could have been useful.


    The disc autoplays with a trailer for Rooster Teeth, before booting up to an animated menu.

    In the More From RT section, you’ll find further trailers for Rooster Teeth product, and a Play All option lets you watch all 29:10 in one go. You’ll find The Best of Red vs. Blue, Best of RT Shorts, RT Animated Adventures, Slow Mo Guys, Red vs. Blue S1 – 10, RWBY Trailer, A Simple Walk, and Fails of the Week: Halo Edition. The S1 – 10 trailers also provide a useful recap for the series so far. Animatsu are currently releasing this and RWBY from Rooster Teeth, and having seen some of the trailers, I hope they go after more of the catalogue, as some of the shows look like a lot of fun.

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    The big extra on the disc is the Audio Commentary from Miles Luna, Matt Hullum, Burnie Burns, and Kyle Taylor. It’s a surprisingly technical commentary, one which fans of the Halo game might appreciate more than I did. It’s still pretty light and easy to listen to though.

    The rest of the extras get a Play All option, and given that they are brief in nature, this is useful.

    You get the Season trailer running to 1:41, there are 3:45 of Outtakes for the show, some of which are actually funny, and there’s a Behind the Scenes featurette (5:11) with interviews with the key players behind the show.

    PSA: Voting Fever (3:15), PSA Blockbuster (4:01), and PSA: Game Changer (2:25), are short skits with the Red vs. Blue characters, and finally there are two deleted scenes from the movie running to 1:15 and 1:29 respectively.


    I didn’t know what to expect when I put Red vs. Blue Season 11 into the player, but I have to admit that my preconceptions were weighted against the title. After all, a film made from videogame footage doesn’t sound particularly exciting, especially for someone whose gaming experiences rarely ventured into the FPS genre. On top of that, starting with the eleventh season of an ongoing story suggested a degree of continuity and exclusivity that a newcomer to the franchise would be unable to comprehend.

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    That particular concern was unfounded, as Season 11 stands alone just fine, and what little you do need to know to get into it is presented in the prologue, or indeed in the season 1-10 trailers on the disc. The second thing is that you very quickly forget the Machinima origins of the film, and it’s very easy to enjoy. And I was certainly not expecting it to be as funny as it is. This film has some belly laughs to it that ‘conventional’ animators could take note of. Witty and well scripted dialogue and great characterisations, marry with entertaining and emotive visuals to tell an interesting story, and deliver some great jokes. I certainly never laughed this hard at The Simpsons.

    For what are essentially Halo characters, differentiated only by shade and the odd difference in surface modelling, it very quickly becomes easy to tell them apart, once again because of the actor performances. You can almost convince yourself that you can see differences in body language as well, the way Caboose is moping along in a depression at the start of the film, Sarge’s moronic bravado, Simmons delicate prissiness. The film also manages to draw you in with its story, which is crafted with care. But really it is the comedy that works best in Red vs. Blue, which is fast paced, witty, smart, irreverent, and occasionally politically incorrect.

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    This is the first part of the Chorus Trilogy, and it’s pretty much all comedy here. Most of the run time is spent on Red vs. Blue antics, developing the characters, pitting them against each other in verbal comedy clashes, with the odd RPG explosion thrown in, and it’s only towards the end of the film that we begin to see the main story develop, the discovery that Chorus is not uninhabited, that there is a civilisation on this world, and that the Reds and Blues have found themselves caught up in someone else’s civil war (with a whole lot of Star Wars references). The film ends with the majority of the characters captured by the ‘Empire’, with just a handful of soldiers, the biggest slackers in a group of slackers, rescued by the ‘Rebels’ and now faced with the challenge of rescuing their comrades.

    I was utterly surprised by how well the animation, the story and the performances drew me in, and I’m already looking forward to Season 12. I really do hope this title scores big for Animatsu as it deserves to break beyond its ‘gamer’ niche. As mentioned, all of the previous and indeed current and later seasons are available on Youtube and Rooster Teeth’s own website, but I prefer the convenience of shiny discs and glitch free visuals and surround sound. Hopefully Animatsu will go back and revisit Seasons 1-10, although there was a 14 disc 10-Season mega-set in the US back in 2012.

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