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‘The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart’ Movie Review

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After over a generation of hijinks, heroism, and heartbreak, The Venture Bros. has come to an end. Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart, the grand finale to the epic 7-season, 20-year saga, is now streaming on VOD platforms for all to enjoy. But did co-creators Christopher McCulloch and Doc Hammer stick the landing to their life-long passion project? After years of building up questions, are the answers satisfying?

That answer, not surprisingly, is yes. Despite being the creation of only two writers, The Venture Bros. has blossomed into a full universe of its own with a rich mythology and enough unique characters to rival the densest comicbook catalogs. Hammer and McCulloch finished season seven with plans for a full eighth season to wrap up all their storylines. Condensing everything into a single 83-minute movie forced the creators to make difficult decisions and sacrifice side stories in order to pay off the most important beats for the finale. But somehow it all still works, and boy, did they do it with style.

venture-bros-hank-dean-go-team-venture (Adult Swim)
 

The mysteries of The Venture Bros.

Going into Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart, we naturally expected the finale to answer the most important lingering questions from the show so far. In our Venture Bros. guide, we broke down some of these: 

  • Who is Bobbi St. Simone?
  • What’s going on with Scare Bear?
  • Will the time travelers come back?
  • What does the title of the film mean?
  • Who crashed the Fitzcarraldos’ plane?
  • How does the Monarch react to his family heritage?
  • Will long-absent characters like Molotov and Triana show up?
  • What happens when Rusty learns that he’s a clone?

We also knew that the film would introduce several new characters, including Nina Arianda as Mantilla, Hal Lublin as Clayton, Jay Pharoah as Nuno Blood, and Jane Lynch as the mysterious Bobbi St. Simone. In addition, we could also assume that the finale would tie up loose character threads, reveal the final truth about Hank and Dean’s mother, and probably leave us with a shocking surprise or two.

And while it doesn’t cover everything a full season 8 would have, Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart does its best to answer as many questions as it can!

The Monarch, Gary, and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)
The Monarch, Gary, and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)

 

Overall impressions from The Venture Bros movie

The story picks up right where the end of season 7 left off. Given that Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart is the finale of such a lore-heavy show, I was stressed about preparing for all the callbacks and references – but I didn’t need to be.

Thanks to the extended runtime, Radiant is a very relaxing watch. Each scene has more room to breathe than any individual Venture Bros. episode ever had. At less than 90 minutes, the tightly paced film feels completely relaxed and natural, giving it pleasant rewatchability.

The visuals of Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart are better than ever before. Over the course of the 20-year series, the animation and character designs have continually evolved with modern technology, and I love how this informs the characters’ growth as well. I love the trend towards street clothes and brand-new locations like Dr. Orpheus’ headquarters.

The answers in this finale are as shocking and satisfying as a Venture Bros. fan would expect. This is not only one of the most important installments in the whole show, but simply one of the best. I was amazed by how many meta references, odd characters, and new ideas Hammer and McCulloch were able to introduce in a natural way. And as a finale, the movie delivers on the history of the show as well. Brimming with revelations, jokes, fantastic callbacks, and memory montages, Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart nostalgically pulls on fans’ fondness for the series while pushing the story forward in hilarious Venture Bros. style.

Dr. Orpheus, Dean Venture, and Jefferson Twilight in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)
Dr. Orpheus, Dean Venture, and Jefferson Twilight in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)

 

[Warning: Spoilers below for The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart]

The radiant growth of The Venture Bros.

More than anything, Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart demonstrates The Venture Bros.’ evolution as a multi-layer coming-of-age story about fathers, sons, and the search for self-identity. Despite the fact that they all come from unnatural births and variations of clones, each member of the Venture family is so unique that they stand apart as completely different characters.

But beyond that, they’re also dynamic. Each character undergoes monumental growth and change over the course of the show, completely transforming their role in the world between the pilot and the finale. I don’t think there ever has been, or ever will be, another science fiction story that uses clones to actualize the quest for individuality as effectively and as emotionally as The Venture Bros. does.

Brock and the O.S.I. in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)
Brock and the O.S.I. in The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim)

My verdict on Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart

It’s true that an eighth season could have spent more time resolving the loose ends and side characters – but for 90 minutes, this film is as focused and powerful as it could be. Creators Christopher McCulloch and Doc Hammer do a fantastic job focusing on the main plot as a singular event storyline. It might not be a full season, but it’s a dang good movie.

In a world overrun by soulless studios and floundering franchises, Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart is a breath of fresh air. Even from the earliest episodes, watching The Venture Bros. has always felt like chatting with an encyclopedia of the eclectic, and Radiant is no different. As quirky and original as ever, Hammer and McCulloch stay completely true to form as they say goodbye to their beloved characters for the final time. From the revamped intro to the extended closing credits, there isn’t a moment of Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart that doesn’t feel handcrafted with love, tears, and deep personal meaning. The show might be over, but the baboon hearts will always beat on.

Are you caught up on The Venture Bros.? What did you think of the finale? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site @MyCosmicCircus for more radiant reviews coming soon!

Also, check out our Venture Bros. guide for a brief recap of the show and a breakdown of the major characters. The perfect guide for your next rewatch! 

The Venture Bros. Guide

venture-bros-guide-04

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Vin

Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Obsessed with the Midnight Sons. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!

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