'Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe' by Mike Judge Review: Same stuff, still fresh
I think it is safe to assume that most modern audiences are the type to associate the name of Mike Judge with his more satirical works around the world of computing and venture capitalism. The two famous entries of Office Space and Silicon Valley; while perhaps the two strange characters of Beavis and Butt-Head have somewhat fallen into their niche areas of the world and somewhat forgotten about as time has passed. Those that remember Mike Judge for these great characters will remember a different time in adult animation, where the world wasn't taken so seriously, and people didn't get offended so easily. Where humour extended into the realm of pure idiocy.
While the audience for Beavis and Butt-Head have certainly grown up while the two characters have been away, it appears that Mike Judge and his expectations for these two characters has remained unchanged. Fresh, idiotic concepts, smart while utterly stupid humour, and still very much entertaining.
I have to state that it is quite a surprise to be capable of writing about this film and knowing that what I will write about is actually positive, particularly given this is a film that is essentially one of Hollywood's many reboots as it digs through its archives for prior successful names and tries to make quick money from them, often failing and disappointing everyone as a result. Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe was a good film; one that certainly did not feel as if it was revived from the dead only to be killed again. And I am glad that Mike Judge was capable of having his say in how this turned out. I have no doubts it would've followed in the steps of others without him.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe still follows a similar style in its storytelling, however. But the strength is that Beavis and Butt-Head's narrative structure was always like this. Where its two characters are somehow pulled into action and thrown into a series of events far out of their control, without them ever really even noticing what is taking place. They simply roam from one place to another, surviving events through sheer luck despite their total lack of competence.
And that's precisely how this narrative unfolds, and rather quickly I should add: the two end up being part of a space mission and being sent to the ISS. Then, they end up travelling into the future where they're chased by all kinds of people while, as always, the only thing they're trying to do is 'score'.
It's interesting to see how Mike Judge went along with the same style as before, the same reasoning behind the characters, entirely unchanged. Even with the story basically being a copy of the last, it's still really entertaining. I found myself actually laughing at a lot of the events or jokes due to how stupid they were, but also being fully aware that it is very much the same thing I had already seen all those years back.
Though, the animation at first was a little strange to me. I can't remember all that much how the animation was in the past, but it certainly did feel a bit more modern, with stronger, more definite lines around the charcters. It's a very bright film, and I felt like my eyes had to adjust slightly. Though I'm sure that's more just me and my strange preferences. The animation certainly wasn't bad, it did what it needed to do and I don't think it could've been better, for sure.
In terms of the narrative's details, I won't talk about them much more. I think Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is a film that is quite easy to spoil, and I'd prefer this to be free of spoilers!
I feel I should admit that Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is a film that I likely would've enjoyed regardless. I love these more adult animations that are just silly. It saddens me that they're quite a rarity these days, or have very little that allows them to stand out among peers; Rick and Morty definitely revived some of that popularity, but I feel it can be Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe which encourages others to take the extra step.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe was a surprise, but one that ultimately wasn't a surprise once it got going. It really was the same stuff as before, but with fresh ideas and concepts to keep it entertaining and new. It's a format that really works for the characters, and how they essentially roam around and getting into insane scenarios while escaping them and often having gained something from it. There's parts of the film that are certainly a bit of fan-service in the form of typical character traits and lines that fans once loved and kept alive throughout the years; this works really well since, well, it is in the foundations of those characters.
I didn't find myself getting bored or finding myself crossing my eyes at attempts to feel more modern and appealing to a modern audience -- in fact, there's a scene that somewhat mocks these modern concepts, one that did so with intelligence as it was so stupid but made perfect sense logically. Ultimately, this is what Mike Judge does best: he takes concepts that are otherwise quite serious topics in society, and turns them into a bit of fun. Not attempting to annoy people, but revealing the fragility of those topics in a lighthearted manner.
Honestly, I hope they create a television series next. I think a few short seasons to be a breath of fresh air in the animation industry, and for comedy series entirely. I think we need more Beavis and Butt-Head. More idiotic characters and concepts where nothing is really taken seriously at all. Where we can all sit down, and remember to laugh at things, even if it means laughing at ourselves too. Though, Beavis and Butt-Head is certainly a concept where it is can be very easy to have too much of a good thing until it no longer has much weight to it.
I'm quite curious as to how the younger folk that have never really seen the Beavis and Butt-Head characters react to this film, though. Given I'm sure its sudden popularity with this release will encourage a few to check it out as the new hot-thing.