Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip (1999)

Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip (1999)
Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip (1999) VHS

By: Bill Leon (A Toast) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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If you’re not familiar with Dexter’s Laboratory, I pity you. In retrospect, it was a show that really had an influence on my sense of humor. Among other aspects of the show, they did action well and blended it with the humor perfectly. The show had great writers, a talented creator, and launched other animators’ careers; see Hartman comma Butch or McCracken comma Craig.

Dexter’s Laboratory had a lot of potential for a bigger story and from what I understand Ego Trip was supposed to be the first feature-length Cartoon Network motion picture, in an attempt to compete with the successful Nickelodeon films that had sprung up around the same time (scoring early hits such as Snow Day, Harriet the Spy, and The Rugrats Movie.) So can someone tell me why oh why did we get The Powerpuff Girls Movie on a film budget but no Ego Trip…?

A Toast

Ah. I can’t be too mad. I like The Powerpuff Girls Movie although I think the visuals are probably the best thing it has going for it. It just didn’t come close to the clever comedy that the show pulled off on a regular basis… Ego Trip on the other hand. Wow. Great story, great humor, great characters, and variations of those characters. This is the best Cartoon Network movie theatrical or otherwise. If there was ever a TV movie that was originally intended to be made for theatrical release-and deserved to see theatrical release… this is one of them.

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Hollywood missed their chance but I can still dream

The story revolves around Dexter who routinely tells his older sister Dee Dee to get out of his laboratory. He returns to his work unaware of his sister entering his time machine and travelling to the future. Dexter is then immediately visited by transforming robots programmed to destory the one who saved the future. Dexter takes the robots out and assumes he’s the one who saves the future. Driven by his selfish desire to see how cool he will eventually become, he travels to different time periods of the future while meeting three different older versions of himself, all while encountering the Mandark equivalent of said time period.

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I really enjoy this just under an hour special presentation. The writing in this can be pretty damn clever-particularly when it achieves its final payoff. It’s never sluggish; all the important information is given out in a precise and timely fashion. This is one slick cartoon script. The ending comes together really well. Genndy Tartakovsky is an incredible animator/animation director and director of action. The man did Samurai Jack for chrissake, his action sequences are unmatched in the realm of 2D animation. The action in this is fast-paced, well framed and awesome. The character designs are a lot of fun and some of the background art is very impressive and always great to look at.

Unfortunately Ego Trip has yet to see a home video release outside its initial VHS. It’s a shame because it really is a great production that deserved better from the start. Looking elsewhere on the internet might yield some results as well… VHS is a “dead” technology after all.

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You have been warned.

Verdict

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The grand story, the scope of it all; it’s no surprise that this was supposed to be a feature film. It really makes you wonder, “What if?”.  All in all, I don’t have any complaints about this one. Everything in it is pretty awesome.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever someone says ‘Neurotomic Protocore’

Take a Drink: for ACTION!

Take a Drink: when someone uses the time machine

Take a Drink: when you realize the dystopian future of Ego Trip is actually the dystopian future of Idiocracy a whopping 7 years prior

Do a Shot: for the ending

About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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