sword of omens, give me sight beyond sight
i'm not sure if i'm going through a second childhood too early but blame it on popular media whose vacuum of good ideas has forced it to dig deep into the mid/late 80s and early 90s pop lore for remakes and reboots. despite being panned by critics, i'm still a huge fan of the transformers franchise and i love all three movies and there were several scenes where i watched with mouth agape, seriously. never, in my wildest prepubescent or teenage dreams did i ever dream of seeing live action versions of ironhide and bumble bee and optimus prime on the big screen. or that seeing G.I. joes duke, scarlett, ripcord and snake eyes -- even cobra commander -- would bring me so much joy. i mean, i used to have action figures of these. hasbro made really great toys in the day. makes me regret not having taken good care of any of them. but then again they lived full lives: they made me happy, allowed my imagination to go wild, notwithstanding the fact that they plowed through dirt, got shot at hundreds of times, and made non-gymnastic flips, not of their own accord, of course. i wasn't a violent kid, but i've always loved big explosive scenes.
come to think of it, the old tygra was too orange, the original panthro, too purple
of course, everything is subjected to a reboot: histories and legends are re-written, updated. for the most part, it's okay. the transformers and G.I. joe of my time were preachy, and probably had very bad dialogue. of course, i'm saying this with the benefit of mature hindsight. at the time, i thought they were the best things to ever happen on television. this is exactly what's being done with the 2011 incarnation of another classic 80s cartoon: thundercats. this certainly counts as one of those shows where my mom needed a crowbar to pry my eyes out of the tube because i stayed glued, fearing the appearance of mumm-ra.
no spots on the new cheetarah, who's really a minx
the thundercats of the 80s, much like anything and everything that came out of that generation, were soft-core, didactic, and slow-paced. no one got badly hurt or died, you always learned some valuable lesson towards the end (mostly variations of the 3 virtues and other values), and kind of visually static. over 15 years later, it's become gritty, brooding, almost philosophical, probably profound, and runs on jet fuel (or in this case, thundrilium). in the first two episodes alone, there's so much death and destruction, this ain't no parable for sure. my mom wouldn't have let me watch this back then. the story has been re-told: anyone from my generation should forget about a talking snarf (who was actually lion-o's nanny), a fatherly panthro, or a stoic cheetarah. now, there's tension between adoptive brothers lion-o and tygra, who both have an odd attraction to cheetarah, and there are neither monkeys nor jackals. of course, we only have until episode 7, so the lizards may yet expand their arsenal -- and we see that in the same episode where other species are introduced.
the last episode also explains the universe of the current thundercats, and why the first episode opens with a world without technology, and an intra-species war. lion-o's spirit goes into the book of omens and travels to the past when the cats served a very powerful mumm-ra in search of the eye of thundera. i think this episode is sterling because it pays homage to other things from the past: mon*star from silverhawks, another preachy cartoon by rankin/bass, appears on screen when mumm-ra talks about dominating the other species, and when leo (lion-o's ancestor) puts a magical stone into his gauntlet, he is covered by this golden armor that makes him look like voltron (defender of the universe). only eagle-eyed cartoon junkies would have noticed these, as well as recognize the cameo of tigersharks -- yet another cartoon from the same makers. i mean, this is just pure joy on a platter!
the current lion-o has a mane inspired by dragonball Z
overall, i'm liking the series. it's aired on a friday evening in the US, so it normally becomes available for download late saturday. so what other 80s/90s cartoon is up for a reboot? rainbow brite? the care bears? i seriously don't mind. as long as they take me back to a place of nostalgia.