The stop-motion animated series Robot Chicken has ventured into the worlds of Star Wars and DC Comics for previous specials, but for its latest 22-minute themed special, the series takes on The Walking Dead. As the special opens, a nerd is visiting the U.S. Walking Dead Museum, which was established to honor and celebrate the heroes who saved the humans from the walkers, found a cure to the walker virus, and brought an end to the Walk-pocolypse—the group known as “Rick and the Gang”. The young man acting as the tour guide for the museum is being quite liberal with the facts, getting all sorts of information wrong. This angers an older Carl who is hiding in the shadows. He pulls the nerdy tourist aside to correct this information, and starts to recount the events that really happened.
The special is a collection of shorts based on many of the memorable/major events from the first 7 seasons of The Walking Dead. These are a fun mix of recreations, parodies, comical speculation as to what happened after the moments we saw on the show, and other general craziness set in the The Walking Dead universe. There are some funny running jokes such as people thinking Carl is a girl, due to his long hair. There are also some really hilarious musical moments such as Negan singing about his signature dip move, a chained-up Merle singing a love duet with a walker, and the Terminus folks (led by he voice of Daniel Radcliffe) singing a welcome song to Rick and the gang about how they have no plans to eat them. There is also a really creative sequence that is shot from the POV of a walker—we hear his inner monologue as he searches for food and falls to his death (again). And another sequence gives a Superman-like origin to Lucille the bat. Overall, the writing is quite clever, and you can really tell those involved are big fans of The Walking Dead.
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In addition to the regular Robot Chicken voice actors, the special also recruits many of the original actors from The Walking Dead to reprise their roles—Andrew Lincoln (“Rick”), Jon Bernthal (“Shane”), Sarah Wayne Callies (“Lori”), Norman Reedus (“Daryl”), Steven Yeun (“Glenn”), Lauren Cohan (“Maggie”), Chandler Riggs (“Carl”), Danai Gurira (“Michonne”), Michael Rooker (“Merle”), Melissa McBride (“Carol”), Lennie James (“Morgan”), Scott Wilson (“Hershel”), Josh McDermitt (“Eugene”), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Negan”). This adds a whole new level to special. It’s so much fun hearing those same voices from The Walking Dead saying things you would never dream these characters would/could say on the series. The dialogue is uncensored, and the humor gets a bit raunchy at times, pushing the boundaries that may offend some viewers. However, I found it to be hilarious.
The animation looks great—I often forgot that I was watching something that was stop motion animated. The characters look so much like their human counterparts, and move quite naturally. For the dialogue, the mouths are often 2D-animated on top of the stop motion characters. The picture quality on the Blu-ray looks excellent, and the audio track makes nice use of the surround and stereo channels to help bring the action on screen to life, while also providing clear dialogue. The Blu-ray includes a nice assortment of bonus features, including four behind-the-scenes featurettes, eight deleted scenes, and two audio commentaries. The disc comes packed in a standard HD keepcase, along with digital copy redemption instructions.
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
- Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
- Subtitles: English SDH
Digital HD (Redemption Deadline: 3/31/2019):
- Digital HD copy of the special redeemable via Vudu
- Inside Robot Chicken The Walking Dead: Look Who’s Walking (7:28)
Robot Chicken executive producers Matt Senreich & Seth Green, and digital design supervisor Kei Ching talk about how the special came about, working with The Walking Dead executive producers Scott M. Gimple and Robert Kirkman, how the process of making this special differed from creating a normal episode, selecting what material from The Walking Dead to cover, and getting the entire The Walking Dead cast to play their own characters. Includes behind-the-scenes footage of the sets and how the models/characters were created, and a glimpse of the cast in the recording booth—including Daniel Radcliffe’s cameo as one of the Terminus singers.
- Cut Sketches
This collection of deleted scenes are a mix of animated storyboards and fully animated sequences. Each is introduced by various combinations of writers Breckin Meyer and Mike Fasolo, co-creator Matthew Senreich, executive producer/head writer Tom Root, and writer/director Tom Sheppard. There is no Play All option.
- The Best Medicine (1:01)
(storyboard) Rick wakes up in the hospital to discover Patch Adams is his doctor
- La La La I Can’t Hear You (:41)
(storyboard) Flashback of the real reason why Father Gabriel’s parishioners were locked out of the church/allowed to get eaten
- Tara Through the Sand Castle (:15)
(storyboard) Even the writers can’t even recall what this short scene of someone running through sand was supposed to be
- Daryl in Terminus Room Bath (:25)
(storyboard) The Terminus folks try to give unwilling Daryl a bath
- Patches (1:01)
(storyboard) TV commercial for most popular eye patch store in the Walking Dead universe
- Michonne Double Dutch (:29)
(fully animated) Michonne uses her walker pets to play double dutch with Carl
- That’s Entertainment (1:09)
(storyboard) Comedian Ghallager entertains the people of Woodbury
- The Barn (:37)
(fully animated) Rick discovers what’s really going on in the barn…square dancing
- The Best Medicine (1:01)
- Behind the Screams (1:41)
As the Robot Chicken crew members describe their jobs for the camera, they are surprised by a walker who sneaks up behind them. Participants include model builder Kevin Fallon, assistant director Matt Sheldon, head of costume department Julia Kalugina Rosner, lead set dresser Anuardi J. Cantre Santiago, editor Mike Mangan, animation assistant Sarah Tejeda, head of digital design Kei Chong, digital designer Grace Garcia, lead scenic painter Alicia O. Ellsworth, and director of photography Aaron Wise.
- Sketches to Die For (4:31)
The cast and crew talk about their favorite sketches from the special. Participants include The Walking Dead executive producers Robert Kirkman & Scott M. Gimple, writers Breckin Meyer & Matt Fasolo, co-creators Seth Green & Matthew Senreich, writer/director Tom Sheppard, executive producer/head writer Tom Root, and Josh McDermitt (“Eugene”).
- Bawkward (:50)
The cast and crew try to imitate what the Robot Chicken would sound like if it had been turned into a walker.
- Audio Commentary with Seth Green, Josh McDermitt, Tom Root, and Tom Sheppard (22:27)
The first commentary includes co-creator Seth Green, actor Josh McDermitt, executive producer/head writer Tom Root, and writer/director Tom Sheppard. While the guys are fun, they constantly get sidetracked talking about things unrelated to the special. Topics include the LA wildfires, Chandler Riggs and Carl’s hair, the conditions of the Walking Dead set, veganism, shaving their heads, the Dip song, Michael Rooker, and more.
- Audio Commentary with Matthew Senreich, Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Tom Sheppard, and Seth Green (22:27)
The second commentary includes co-creators Seth Green & Matthew Senreich, writer/director Tom Sheppard, and The Walking Dead executive producers Robert Kirkman & Scott M. Gimple. This commentary does a slightly better job of staying on track. Some of the topics include the CBS Special opening logo, how The Walking Dead folks got involved with Robot Chicken, Breckin Meyer’s tendency to break things, Michael Rooker’s singing voice, who was most surprising in the recording booth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Dip, Chandler Riggs, Daniel Radcliffe, the bar scene, Josh’s improvisation in the bullet machine scene, and more.
The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special is a hilarious collection of The Walking Dead themed shorts book-ended by a framing story of the Robot Chicken nerd visiting a Walking Dead Museum. While the special is only 22 minutes long, it is packed with laughs. The Blu-ray provides a solid presentation of the material, a digital copy of the special, and a lot of great bonus material that fans will really enjoy. Fans of The Walking Dead should have a lot of fun revisiting moments from the first seven seasons of the series, seeing those events in a fun, different new light. The fact that many of the original cast members are reprising their roles makes this all the more enjoyable. This release comes recommended!