DVD The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers
The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers began life as a student revue act that its creators developed into a series of two-and-a-half minute shorts for the CBBC website. The concept grew into a full blown animation co-production between the UK and Canada that won the Best Children’s Animation BAFTA in 2006 and has been shown in over eighty countries worldwide.
Xan, Enk and Adi are the Amazing Adrenalini Brothers, daredevils and stuntmen with an almost suicidal disregard for their own personal safely.
Travelling all over the world – and occasionally, it seems, through time and into fiction – the fearless trio live for performing outrageous stunts for the entertainment of anyone they can get to watch, if only to satiate their own addiction to danger…
Even a children’s TV show is often only as good as their central characters, and the three protagonists of The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers are lovable balls of crazy. Despite the brothers being united by their love of outlandish stunts, their personalities are very different from one another. Xan is the oldest of the brothers and the leader insofar as he sees it as his job to tell the others what to do. Physically shaped like an egg timer, he is fixated on his appearance and believes himself to be considerably more charming than he comes across as. There is a running joke of him hitting on every woman who crosses into his field of vision, only to be consistently ignored or shot down. One of the few times he was successful in his wooing, the object of his affections turned out to be a man (French King Louis XIV, complete with flowing cavalier locks).
Enk is the smallest and youngest of the brothers, and, as such, he ends up doing most the dangerous stunts, mostly because Xan tells him to. Most of the time, he is fired from a cannon, launched from a catapult or shot from a bow – ending up careering through the air screaming “Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!” like a sausage-shaped Beaker from The Muppets. He is often distracted by shiny objects and will chase after them like a hypnotised magpie with the occasional cry of “Glinky!”
Adi is the largest of the brothers, his appearance of a square with limbs is akin to that of a circus strongman. Which is appropriate, as his strength is of almost superhuman levels. In the episode ‘Kilts Of Uproar’, instead of using a log for caber tossing, he uproots an entire tree and hurls it with such force it half-demolishes a castle. In contrast to his physical prowess, his personality is that of an overgrown child. In the beach-set ‘Waves Of Turmoil’, he is seen paddling in the sea wearing a rubber ring and giggling “Splooshy, splooshy!” as he splashes the water around himself.
Although the show is aimed at children, it is made with the assumption that parents will be watching it alongside their offspring.
The brothers are from Réndøosîa, a fictional Eastern European nation that borders the equally fictitious Grimzimistan, with whom they share a mutually antagonistic rivalry. None of them can speak any English, and the “Réndøosîan” in which they talk to each other is nothing more than pseudo-Slavic sounding gibberish. However, there is some consistency to it, allowing a portion of what they say to be understood. For example, Xan frequently begins his announcements of their latest “stunta grandi-max” with “Misi gooti ji misi hooti…,” which presumably translates to “Ladies and gentlemen…” Another repeated phrase “Botsna rata!” seems to be a catch-all exclamation for expressing confusion, irritation or anger. Although there is no indication of precisely what it translates to, when a schoolteacher looks it up in a Réndøosîan-English dictionary, she is quite embarrassed by what she finds.
Although the show is aimed at children, it is made with the assumption that parents will be watching it alongside their offspring. As such, a number of touches that give adults some satisfaction crop up here and there. Variations on movies such as Spartacus, The Fantastic Voyage, Chariots Of Fire, James Bond and Little Shop Of Horrors all make appearances. The episode ‘Heist Of Absurdity’ is a clear riff on The Italian Job, and the background music is of that peculiar legal loophole of soundtracks being altered just enough to avoid copyright infringement, but still close enough to their source to remain recognisable. The recurring lyrics of “Self-Conservation Association” only add to the audacity.
The artwork of the show is incredibly simple – it was originally developed as Flash animations – which befits the target audience of young children. Arms and legs are single black lines the same width as character outlines, and the bodies are little more than basic geometric shapes with brightly coloured clothes and faces. Despite this, the characters are still expressive enough to properly convey their emotions in a way that complements the tones of voice.
The series contains 78 episodes in all, but manages to maintain original ideas and settings in virtually every one of them. The short running time of each episode – around seven minutes – means that even the most attention deficit child will not get bored easily. However, the same can’t be said for adults. Despite each episode being an imaginative variation on a single theme, the baseline repetition does become a little grating if too many episodes are seen in quick succession.
Although The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers is very much a children’s cartoon, parents can still get a lot of enjoyment while sitting watching it with them. However, there is a definite psychological limit to how much of the primary colour fury they’ll be able to take in a single sitting.
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