Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thundercats Hooooold up! I Got Some Questions.

I've been waiting for this new Thundercats cartoon ever since I saw the first trailer. I heard the original Lion-O was going to voice the King and I started geeking out. I'm not a big fan of reboots I'd rather see something original. But, I get it. There's some profit to be made in mining my childhood. Growing up we had about 5 channels and had to get up to change them. Back then we all watched the same shows. Now entertainment is diluted over 500 cable stations, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and more. Be that as it may, this particular night, I was tuned into Cartoon Network. The show had a promising start. We begin with an overhead shot of Thundara and slowly zoom into the city. There is some epic, original music and Count Dooku is doing the voice over. He speaks of the Book of Omens and a prophecy of a great king, born of fire, will do battle with "ancient spirits of evil". (Nudge. Nudge.) At this time I'm thinking that they just might pull this off.

That elated feeling didn't last long.

You remember the original story? The Thundercats are a race of cat people. The main character, Lion-O, and his small band of guardians narrowly escape their exploding home world. The cats go into cryo-sleep during their 25 year trek to their new planet. Once they arrive, we find that Lion-O's cryo-sleep pod has malfunctioned and he is now an adult. To become worthy of his birthright and leader of the Thundercats, Lion-O must overcome various obstacles and challenges. This new series has Lion-O, still young, having the responsibility of a king thrust upon him as the city is destroyed during an attack made possible by the cats lack of technological knowledge and betrayal. Sounds good on paper, right? Well, there are some story points that had me questioning how smart our felines are.


Fast forward 30 minutes to the big battle. The cat people are under attack by an army of lizard people with catapults. The lizards are shooting fireballs that smash into the protective walls surrounding the city. What do the cats do? Lower the gates and step outside the safety of the walls, cross the bridge over their protective moat, and shoot arrows at the lizard men. Wha? Don't bow and arrows work from the top of these walls just as well? Outside the walls the cats now have their backs to their own defenses. Luckily the bridge can be used to escape if -- Oops! The lizard men booby trapped the bridge. (Why didn't they detonate the bridge when the King was crossing it, I don't know.) Oh, and giant Mechs come out of the woods and start firing rockets over the walls and into the city.

Cut to Lion-O, on his terrace, watching his city being destroyed by technology. Lion-O has always been fascinated by technology. Disguising himself as a commoner he has obtained quite the collection. There's an earlier scene where Tygra teases Lion-O about his interest in technology. Lion-O has all these sketches of the trinkets he's picked up on the wall as if he's been studying them. Now, Lion-O spots some lizard stick one of these trinkets against a statue. The lizard soldier smears his finger across the top scanner and runs. The scanner lights blink rapidly and the mine detonates. Rushing to his room, Lion-O grabs a couple mines that are lying around and takes out two Mechs with two mines.

My beef with this scene isn't that the Mechs are so poorly made that one mine totally decimates them. What I can't believe is that Lion-O never ran his finger along the scanner when analyzing these things. He actually does this in his room, mimicking the lizard soldier, and somehow it doesn't blow up in his face. Why not make the mines more complicated so that Lion-O would have to actually observe how they work? How about a code to unlock the weapon. Maybe you hear a hydraulic hiss as a piece rises out of the base. To arm the mine you turn this piece half a rotation and press it back into place. Yeah. Something like that. You know, something a little safer, so the mine doesn't activate while you're running with them in a bag for instance.

Cheetara keeps her speed in this version. We found out that she is part of Jaga's Clerics. Jaga can run fast too. During the battle, these special forces come out of nowhere and help out. To the viewer, it's a big surprise that these guys even exist, but why did the king wait to use them? Why not use them in some kind of coordinated attack from behind the lizard army when the King attacks? Maybe these guys could have been used to evacuate some of the people inside the walls? That would have been cool to see streaks of color saving people from crumbling statues and walls THEN reveal what they were when the come to the Kings personal aid. It would have also made a good story point explaining why the Clerics didn't show up sooner. How about this was part of the lizard army's plan. Shoot bombs into the city to keep the clerics busy and divide the cats forces.

Now, Pantho finally shows up as a prisoner; beaten and bound. He's the King's buddy who has gone missing. When the King sees Panthro he goes all "Thundercats Ho!" slashing through any and all lizard men to reach his friend. Once freed, Panthro promptly stabs him in the back. You see, Panthro was really Mumm-Ra in disguise. Was this Mumm-Ra's grand plan? Seriously? Start a war and hope the King kills enough lizards to get to a disguised Mumm-Ra so he can kill the King with a dagger?! Did the lizard people know about this plan?

Alright, last one. The King is now dead and the cat army...well, we never see them again. Who knows what happens to them, or to the other cat civilians. Is everyone dead? All the Clerics are dead. Mumm-Ra killed them all with one blow. Anyway, Lion-O, Cheetara, Snarf, Tigra, and a wounded Jaga are trying to make their escape through a hidden tunnel. Jaga, holding his side, tells the three of them to leave him, he will only slow them down. Remember, we just saw Jaga running as fast as Cheetara as the LEADER of these super fast clerics. Slow them down? I figure his crawling speed is faster than Lion-O's running speed. So, the group leaves Jaga, who is mowed down practically instantaneously. It happens so fast that Lion-O has time to turn and see it before a giant stone wall descends from the ceiling preventing anyone from following them. I know this because they aren't followed. Why did Jaga have to die again? He couldn't have made it behind the giant stone wall too?

I got a better ending. Hows this? Jaga is fatality wounded from Mumm-Ra's torturing. During the escape into the tunnel, Mumm-Ra takes a shot at Lion-O because he wants the Sword of Omens. Jaga jumps in the way and is totally going to die in, like 5 minutes. Dragging Jaga, they just make it under the stone wall. The escape tunnel exits behind the city, next to a lake. Jaga gives Lion-O his speech about finding the Book of Omens, dies, and they stick him on a wooden raft. Tygra wants to follow tradition and light it on fire, but Lion-O, now king, forbids it. A fire will give away their location. Or wait, how about Lion-O wants to light it, and Tygra says no. This is a way to show that Lion-O still has things to learn, and Tygra doesn't respect Lion-O as a King yet. Maybe Lion-O cries a bit, an Tygra yells at him.

You see what I'm saying? The ingredients are there. I'm still going to watch a couple more episodes. Wasn't a fan of the Moby Dick homage or the episode after that with the tree people. Even with all this complaining, I haven't given up yet. I'm hoping, like the first season of the Clone Wars, there's going to be some sweet episodes coming up. I'll definitely hang around until the next episode with Mumm-Ra. I want to see his "Mumm-Ra the Ever Living" form. I've already seen the toy version of Mumm-Ra at full strength, but it only makes me hungry for a classic Mumm-Ra. Icon Heroes released a sweet Mumm-Ra figure. The color is "dead on", meaning, the blue skin looks like zombie flesh. The face sculpt is accurate and the added white on his brow and deep, blood red eyes bring it all together. Mumm-Ra is in his "I just changed from that Grandpa-Monkey-Mummy looking guy into this ripped Adonis of Evil" stance. His head dress straps look like they are still blowing from the transformation winds. Past Generation Toys has the 2011 SDCC version of this figure. So, not only do you get Mumm-Ra in all his glory, but you get the exclusive pet, Ma-Mutt.

That's enough writing for today. I will talk with you again next week.

R. Ticulation

No comments: