If it's crap ... We'll tell you
(*This a review of season 9 of Red Vs. Blue, not a review of the DVD*)
Yes, this blog post is extremely late, but, judging the meager additions to the "Featured Community Blog" section of Spill, I thought "why the heck not," dust off this old entry, and post it.
The most difficult thing to do is to let go of something you love, even when you know, in your heart, it's the right thing to do. I, too, was a Red vs. Blue fan. Reciting great quotes from Simmons, Caboose, Sarge, and the rest of the Blood Gulch soldiers filled me with joy as the hilarious jokes and nonsensical situations of the series constantly reaffirmed my position on Rooster Teeth's ability to amaze and delight. What remains of that once prominent machinima series has now become not only a shadow of its former self, but an ignorant parody of its own past genius.
To give backstory of the plot is right now would be like explaining the entirety of the narrative of LOST in five minutes to someone who has never even read a book. I've been watching this series on-and-off for over 7 years and I couldn't even begin to try and make sense of what's going on. It's something about Church being in a semi-coma state as an artificial intelligence and the other members of Blood Gulch are trying to revive him, all the while there are frequent flashbacks showing the freelancer program. What's the most confusing thing about this series is that it began as a light-hearted comedy with no ties to the actual Halo universe (save for the first episode), and now its evolved into some sort of weird fan-fiction bastard child where the creators are trying, desperately, I might add, to connect the two series together. It's quite off-putting when you realize professional writers, supposedly, can't seem to place which universe their own stories take place in.
The drama-comedy elements of the show are so divergent that you would never suspect that they took place in the same narrative thread. Although I'm sure it's not necessary, I'll clarify by adding that both sides of the drama-comedy aspects suffer from weak writing and a lack-luster script. The freelancers converse with horrendous dialogue that attempts to come off as badass, but, in practice, translates to just plain annoying. It doesn't help that most of the characters are unlikeable jackasses who try their hardest to avoid having personalities; and the voice-acting, for lack of a more creative aside, is just fucking awful that makes me wonder if the people at Rooster Teeth pulled actors from a high-school play. Most of the comedy found in the freelancer aspect of the season either stems from poorly timed, and terribly written, one liners or set-up jokes that you can see coming from a mile away and make you pray that they won't go down that particular route of lowest-common denominator humor. Looking at the "Blood Gulch" storyline (ya know, the one that would seem more fun to watch), it's gutwrenching to see that most of what they consider to be the best "jokes" are either call-backs to other jokes with minor tweaks or making Caboose say stupid things to fill time. Yes, it's gotten to the point where even throwing in the fan-favorite can't make the show entertaining.
While there are problems galore with the characters, story, and dialogue, the strangest culprit coming out of this franchise is the action. Recent addition to the Rooster Teeth team, Monty Oum, the creator of the fan videos Haloid and Dead Fantasy (videos that depict characters from different franchises fighting each other), specializes in impressive, if logically idiotic, action scenes for the series. I don't understand why he's here. Red Vs. Blue had always been about clever writing, at least in the first five seasons, and the creators used the in-game Halo engines to power their machinima videos. The stilted animations of the characters somehow fit their bumbling personalities. However, it's 100% jarring to continually cut back-and-forth between full-motion CG scenes to scenes within the in-game Halo engine. It's one thing to have fight scenes where the laws of physics called in sick, but it's quite another to also showcase others that adhere to the physics built-in to the game world where characters can't jump 30 feet in the air, like in a Wuxia film. The fighting scenes come off as so self-masturbatory, that I started to wonder if they just shot the action scenes first, then added a story around them. There's a god damn sequence where characters are falling from an exploding skyscraper to a hip-hop song. No. I'm not joking, and I'm not close to the mastery of the English language needed to describe how terrible it is in action.
When I watched the ending of Season 5, I wished that the series could go on forever. After watching the more recent seasons, I take it back.
"My name is Michael J. Caboose, and I'm sick of this bullshit."