Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! ThunderCats! ..... yawn
Well, people on the internet have been jizzing themselves for months over this thing. Cartoon Network has been marketing this thing as much as I have ever seen any cartoon series marketed. There were even advertisements for it playing as trailers in movie theaters. I have a feeling that Cartoon Network really wants this to be their own "Avatar the Last Airbender." Did they succeed? I know it's just the first two episodes, but... no. No they did not.
That had to be the most cliche forty-four minutes of television I have seen in ages. I know some people will tell me "it's a cartoon for children, what did you expect?" Honestly, I did not expect anything from this particular show. But I did not expect anything from an aforementioned Nickelodeon cartoon a few years ago. Cliches aren't bad in and of themselves, it's how they are used. And "ThunderCats" is just... totally paint by numbers.
Let's do a brief cliche count, shall we?
* Friendly rivals (Lion-O and Tigra)
* Ancient evil returning (Mumm-Ra)
* Mammals good, reptiles evil (Cats vs Lizards)
* Clever street urchins with big dreams (Wily-Kat & Wily-Kit)
* Cute animal sidekick (Snarf)
* Death of the hero's father (*snicker* ....Clawdus)
* Death of old, wise mentor (Jagga)
* Vision of a dark future (Lion-O seeing Mumm-Ra in the Sword of Omens)
* Carefree young boy has to learn to be a hero (Lion-O)
* Medieval weapons versus technology
* Betrayal to the enemy (Clancy Brown)
* Trojan Horse ploy (SERIOUSLY!)
* Ugly bad guys, pretty good guys (lizards vs cats)
* Cute kid sidekicks
* Fantasy world where technology is considered a lost myth
* The Slow-motion "NOOOOOOO!" while father falls to his death in slow-motion.
Again, I acknowledge that cliches are cliches for a reason, but when you cram this many into such a short space of time, and you don't spin them around and do something new and fun with them, it's just tired. "Avatar the Last Airbender" had a lot of cliches too, but it did its own thing, had fun with it, and not afraid to step outside the box. "ThunderCats" stays inside its litter box, and seems perfectly happy to do so.
Now, I'm not saying that basic archetypes and fantasy storytelling are a bad thing. I'm a huge fan of the "Lord of the Rings" and that is about as archetypal as it gets. But, at the same time, this is 2011, and it's all been done before and better. Put your own spin on it. I will give them some points that at least one cat is bad, and at least one lizard is good. But I need a little bit more than that.
I also need to ask why Mumm-Ra is even in this show? As cliched as mammals vs reptiles is, I understand it. Where does a crazy mummy fit into all this from even a thematic position. And he just seems to come out of no where. His name is mentioned once at the beginning, and then he kills *snickers* Clawdus and reveals himself, and everyone is like "OH CRAP! MUMM-RA!!!!" Uh huh... I've seen "Transformers" remakes build up Megatron and "GI Joe" remakes build up Cobra Commander far better than this. Just poof, he's here and we're supposed to be terrified. I think the only reason Mumm-Ra is in this is because he was in the 80's cartoon and it's expected.
His dialogue was also quite cliche. "You cannot comprehend the forces you are dealing with!" I smacked my forehead the moment he said that, but I cannot say I was surprised by that point. Of course, Mumm-Ra needs viagra, because whatever he was going to do, he totally failed to get it up. So, when the time comes when the show really needs to sell their Big Bad, he's laughable right out of the gate.
The reveal that Cheetara is cleric of Jagga is weak. Why? Because we are never told who the clerics of Jagga really are? And why Cheetara being a cleric is surprising.
And then there is the first scene where Lion-O is attacked because the stupid, thuggish citizens didn't recognize him. When they find out he's a prince, they shit themselves and run. Then later, an angry mob decides to attack BOTH princes despite knowing who they are. So stupid.
Oh, and who else was shocked to see Clancy Brown turn out to be a bad guy? Yeah, the one character I liked and he turned out to be a villain. Though, knowing me, that might be why I liked him at all. However, I can contest this by saying he became much duller once his treachery was revealed. He betrayed the king because serving him "got him nothing" except, you know, a position of power, a great feast, and since the ThunderCats are imperialistic, probably land. If we didn't spend so much time focusing on stupid mobs trying to kill the princes, maybe we could have seen what motivated this guy.
So Lion-O and Tigra have a best friend/eternal rivalry thing going. Who else sees a love-triangle with Cheetara coming? In fact, it's such an obvious cliche that if it doesn't happen by the end of the first season, I will stick any foreign object you care to name inside myself.
And now, for some questions and random thoughts.
So, the Sword of Omens is the most powerful weapon on the planet. I know, in future episodes, Lion-O is going to use it against the far more technology advanced villains. And yet, I don't care how cool your sword is, if your fight doesn't end up like this...
... you fail.
Did anyone else expect Wily-Kat and Wily-Kit to break out and start singing this?
So, how soon until they cram in three or four other enemy animal races. I'm sure they'll have birds and gorillas because the old series did. Me, I want to see anthro chihuahuas.
Cheetara is making a lot of furries' balls drop now. But, I can hear the excuses now... "it's not furry if they have humanoid faces." I never got the cat-girl thing at all. But I also imagine she's going to be very popular in Japan.
Me, I hope Lion-O and Tigra turn out to be totally gay for each other, never admit it, have a huge falling out and Tigra turns into a winged lipstick monster and then rapes Cheetara after sacrificing Snarf, Wily-Kat, and Wily-Kit to the forces of Hell.
Seriously, how does a crazed mummy fit into this?