Release Date(s)2003/2013 (April 10, 2013)
Studio(s)Red Letter Media
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: C-
- Audio Grade: C-
- Extras Grade: A
For those of you who might be unaware, Red Letter Media is a website dedicated to creating some of the wackiest, most fun, and most informative video content about movies and video games out there. The site gained a major fan base after the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 70-minute review went viral in 2009. Since then, has been building and building with new content, including new reviews and two of the internet’s best movie review shows: Half in the Bag and Best of the Worst (as well as their newly-produced video game show Previously Recorded).
But years before Red Letter Media came into existence, there were a bunch movie misfits by the names of Mike Stoklasa, Jay Bauman, Rich Evans, and Garrett Gilchrist who liked nothing better than to create silly short films and, occasionally, long-form films. The four met each other through an internet message board and quickly formed a collaboration for their next project, Gorilla Interrupted, shooting it in one week with virtually no money and no time. The movie itself was put together through much adversity between the four personalities and sort of faded away. That is, until Red Letter Media’s internet popularity rose and the movie had a renewed interest by fans. Ten years later, the movie was re-edited from scratch, given some new special effects, and released to DVD with some extras.
But let’s be clear about this right up front: this is an amateur movie in every way possible. It was shot quickly with no budget by amateur filmmakers, contains a lot improvisation within a loose story framework, and was filmed in various locations. It’s Z-grade all the way, especially the original version. This new edit of the movie, however, gives it a new flow and pace that was sorely lacking previously. I feel silly saying something like that because of how amateurish it is, but as a fan of Red Letter Media and their content, this is much more enjoyable than it has any right to be. My rating of the movie certainly doesn’t reflect my enjoyment of it, that’s for sure. It’s certainly not a movie for everyone, but if you’re a Red Letter Media fan and you enjoy their work, or if you’re just interested in seeing something that a bunch of amateur filmmakers put together that’s actually watchable, then I’d recommend Gorilla Interrupted to you. It’s very charming and a lot of hard work went into making it.
The movie was shot on low-tech video cameras and it more than shows, but considering that, it still looks good. These guys might have been amateurs, but they knew enough to frame things well enough and record clean sound. Both the video and sound are very adequate and look better than the original 2003 counterpart. The new special effects and new insert shots that were completed for this version specifically blend well together. It doesn’t look like a brand new movie, but it plays well and you’re never distracted by new special effects that don’t fit the aesthetic that they were going for in 2003, because they do. Sound is as good as it can be, which is a single English track. Dialogue is usually easy to follow (although muddled at times by the performers) and the music and sound effects have some nice boost to them. It’s not a powerful soundtrack by any means, but adequate for the presentation overall. And by the very nature of the movie and the chaotic dialogue contained within, there are no subtitle tracks included.
And not only has the movie been given a spit and polish job, but Red Letter Media has also taken the time to include some really good extras that are well-worth digging into. For the movie itself, there’s an audio commentary by actor/writer/director Mike Stoklasa, editor and actor Jay Bauman, and actor Rich Evans, plus a set of outtakes. Other extras include the great, newly-produced documentary How Not to Make a Movie: The Making of Gorilla Interrupted, which chronicles the entire process of the movie’s production and remastering, a set of outtakes from the documentary, and The Importance of Taking Photos featurette, which discusses the making of the cover for the DVD.
Quite obviously, my appreciation of Red Letter Media and the content they produce has influenced this review heavily, and I don’t really care. I really enjoyed Gorilla Interrupted and I think a lot of other people might enjoy it, as well. This is a great DVD release and you should definitely pick it up if you’re interested and give it a shot.
- Tim Salmons