Monday, 8 August 2011

If I woke up looking like that, I'd walk towards the nearest living thing and kill it

I love you,Vista. Oh wait, I meant the other thing - GOD DAMN YOU TO HELL.

Strange symmetry is afoot in my 'toon watching this week as Futurama, Naruto and Thundercats all feature the same plot and I'm not sure which bit of signposting I liked better - Thundercats' obsessive sea captain shouting "for hate's sake I spit at thee!" or Futurama just calling this week's episode Mobius Dick and being done with any pretense at all.
I like Thundercats, although it's been only three episodes so far and some of the logic is baffling, but it's great to be able to point at cartoons nowadays and make serious observations about narrative techniques and use of themes rather than how utterly stupid something is even as an idea, and when you can point to individual episodes of something like Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated as sub-par because it doesn't advance the series arc enough or is too continuity-heavy to work as an episode of tv in and of itself, it's almost enough to be able to admit in public that as a grown ass man I still watch cartoons. Almost. As anyone in the creative industries will tell you, the internet doesn't count.

Anyway, Thundercats is best described as Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Lord of the Rings, and as much as I enjoy it, there's something fishy about the royal lineage element of the backstory that strikes me as off and contrary to some of the character development in the first episodes. It's contrived in how it pushes characters together and doesn't quite work in isolation as it's clearly a reinvention aimed at those with knowledge of the previous version of the franchise, but at least it's nowhere near as heartbreakingly terrible and straight-up disturbing as that comic book reboot they had in the early 2000s, where Mumm Ra was keeping the two kid Thundercats as his personal sex slaves (and you can Google that shit - someone actually wrote it, got it approved by the Thundercats licensing bods, and then actually went out and published it). I sound negative, but this here cartoon is good fun that takes time to breathe before the fights break out, with slow pans over desolate vistas and an occasionally mournful soundtrack atypical of current animation and more like something that you'd expect to have been made in the 1980s when we all thought we were gonna die and got fixated on putting nuclear apocalypse allegories in almost everything. But time passes and Cold Wars end and left without topical allegory, Thundercats looks to the precedent set by Lord of the Rings' false history that never was approach and seems to be doing okay so far with it.

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