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Danger! 50,000 Volts! (2002) - DVD Review

By Widge - posted 08.06.05 @ 8:08 pm
Danger! 50,000 Volts! DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Directed by Matt Gillbe & Matt Griffiths
Starring Nick Frost

Features:

  • All eight first series episodes
  • Bonus episode: "Danger! 50,000 Zombies!"
  • Running audio commentary by Frost and members of the crew
  • Dangerous facts

Released by: Rykodisc.
Rating: NR.
Region: 0
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Yeah, you'll want this just to show it around.

The world is a dangerous place. Pretty much, no matter where you are, you are susceptible to it sneaking up on you and handing you your ass. That's why we should be grateful for Nick "The" Frost, Chazzie award-winning actor, who in his spare time becomes the Sir David Attenborough for the potentially lethal. He circles the globe seeking out danger, confronts it, smirks at it, and then instructs us, the audience, on what to do in that situation.

The show is freaking hysterical. Whether it's Frost's presentation skills, the wiseass titles that appear on the screen, Frost being shrunk to miniscule size to duke it out with deadly arachnids, or his ability to freak out the experts that are brought on the show...you will laugh. You just can't help yourself. Also hilarious are the "Too Dangerous to Film" segments, in which an animated Frost tackles the things they didn't want to risk. Or couldn't afford. Or both. But what makes the show work is that when Frost is in it, talking to these experts, he may be playing the goof, but he's also genuinely interested in what they're telling him. Then, in some cases, he turns around and applies what he's learned. So the show is funny, but it's also informative as well.

The features are as bizarre as they are extensive. Every show has a commentary. All of them have Frost, they usually have the director of the episode, a producer, and sometimes the person who handled research. The commentaries are filled with the right balance of information about the production, in-jokes and stories, and just general misbehaving. The package is a bit confusing, since you would assume that without "Series 1" or something on it, this must be the extent of the show. But it's through the commentaries I learned there's more of this to be had. Which is a good thing.

The bonus episode-length bit is "Danger! 50,000 Zombies!" and it pairs Frost with Shaun of the Dead amigo Simon Pegg, here playing the part of a mad as a hatter Aussie professional zombie killer. Done just like the regular series, complete with animation, it differs in that it's rambling and slightly incoherent and slightly surreal. But regardless, it's damn funny. Watch for the cameo from zombie Steve Emerson, Winchester owner from Shaun.

Nick Frost and a friend from Danger! 50,000 Volts!

Beyond that, the only other bit is some kind of "Holy shit, watch out!" symbol that appears during the show in the lower left hand corner of the screen. You hit Enter on your remote to flip to one of the Dangerous Facts. The only problem is, I must have missed the part where it told you to do that, because it wasn't until much later that I realized that must be what the symbol was for. To be honest, though, save yourself the time: when it switches over to the Fact, it lingers a bit too long and breaks the show's odd rhythm. You're better off watching them all in one fell swoop as a bonus feature.

Informative illo from Danger! 50,000 Volts!

The show's damn funny, that's the bottom line. I want a Series 2 set immediately, please. And I'm telling you, you'll want to own this one, because nobody over here's heard of it. So you'll want to break all your friends in on it. Well done, Mr. Frost.

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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