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Movie Reviews

The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart Review

A little less than three years after Adult Swim canceled animated series The Venture Bros., co-Creators Chris McCulloch (a.k.a. Jackson Publick) and Eric “Doc” Hammer return with “The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart,” a movie that serves as the series finale.

The movie picks up after the events of Season 7, when Hank Venture (McCulloch) emerged from a coma and left to find himself, having previously caught his girlfriend in bed with his brother, Dean (Michael Sinterniklaas). Meanwhile, The Monarch (also McCulloch) discovered he is related to Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture (James Urbaniak), rendering their villain/hero rivalry kaput due to the rules of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, which controls all villain/hero “arching.” 

In the new film, Hank—frequently seeking advice from the many personas he’s created over the years—is hoping to find his birth mother and get all his questions answered, including the main one: Who is Hank Venture? Hank still feels humiliated by Dean’s betrayal. Dean, for his part, is unwilling to let Hank go, and works with the Venture family bodyguard, Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton), to find him. Their father, Rusty, is busy obsessively trying to bring a new, problem-riddled invention to market to save his company, while the Monarch’s wife, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch (Hammer), works to keep the Guild functioning and find out just how her husband is related to Rusty.

Into the mayhem comes a new villain, Mantilla (Nina Ariadna), head of A.R.C.H. and ex-girlfriend of The Monarch. Mantilla has her own motives for drawing The Monarch to her company, but her unsanctioned “arching” is also causing the Guild considerable consternation. As in a regular season of the series, all these competing motivations will collide in spectacular—and hilarious—fashion.

The animation is crisp and colorful, and the satire is as sharp as ever, along with some wonderful foreshadowing. Writers Publick and Hammer never shortchange their characters or their audience, and the references to other media continue to delight, including very funny jokes at the expense of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Batman Forever.” The film’s short runtime (83 minutes) also means a lot of characters fans have grown to love don’t get a lot of screen-time, but having them show up, however briefly, is still a treat. 

The voice work is excellent, especially the main cast. Standouts from the guest stars include Jay Pharoah as Nuno Blood and Ariadna as Mantilla. Clancy Brown in particular shines as Red Death/Daisy. Something about that deadpan coming out of such a fearsome-looking creature tickles me every time. 

It’s also clear that a lot of love went into “The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart.” The result is a fantastic and satisfying conclusion to several of the threads woven throughout the show’s seven seasons. The answers fans have been wanting all get answered—well, mostly—in enjoyably surprising ways.

The Blu-Ray contains three fun extras: commentary on the film by Publick and Hammer; Publick and Hammer answering fan questions; and a featurette with John Hodgman, “Hodgman and Friends” (hint: the friends are Publick and Hammer). A poster is also included. 

“The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart” is available for purchase digitally and on Blu-Ray. The entire series is also available digitally and on DVD.

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