Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thundercats (2011)

Believe me, I know that the entertainment industry is reboot crazy these days. Everything old must be given a modicum of new and sold as awesome. Sadly, there are a lot of failures created this way. Fortunately, there are a few shows that deliver. Thundercats is one of them.

The new version is a nice re-purposing of the original. We still have the basic cast of characters on the heroic side, and two notable classic villains; Slythe and of course Mum-Ra. The action takes place on Thundera this time. Rather than fleeing their homeworld, as in the original, the kingdom of the cats has fallen on bad times when Mum-Ra returns and leads the lizard men against the cats with the aid of advanced technology and a traitor cat leader. Lion-O and company are out to find the book of omens, certainly the only way to defeat the ever-living Mum-Ra.

A few nice things that they take into account, but do not beat you over the head with, are social issues. As with the original there are many types of cats, but only the lions may rule, thus some internal racial tension is created. The other notable race of "people" are the lizard men, whom the cats have no qualms about enslaving and/or destroying. Lion-O is aware of these issues, and it creates a perceived weakness in his character amongst those he rules. This time around Tigra is his adopted brother, and superior in most of the stereotypical leadership roles, but is rather rash and uncaring. Were he a lion he would have been heir apparent. Cheetara is part of a religious sect of sorts, having a bit of a mystical kung fu aspect to her character. Panthro is a general who was lost to Mum-Ra, but obviously makes a return. Willy Kit and Willy Kat are very much their old selves, save that they are street urchins who fall in with Lion-O's crew despite his reticence.

In all it is a nicely done show. There is some good fan-service for those aged enough to have grown up with the original. If I am not mistaken, Lion-O's father is voiced by the actor that originally voiced Lion-O in the '80s. There are still the "Thundercats, ho!" and "ancient spirits of evil..." lines. If you ask me, this was done with a lot of love for the original, but an understanding that remaking or continuing the original series would not make sense. It is definitely worth your time to check out.


kal said...

About three months ago, when I first heard about the return of the THUNDERCATS I was stocked. I was a big fan of there's. Then I watched one of the original series episodes. What a freakin' trainwreck that was. Talking snarf, lots of lesson learning and inapropriate laughter at inapproapriate time. It was a nightmare. This time, instead of just rushing in I would stay back, gather some episodes and see what happens. I just finished the whole 'Tree of Omen' story arc and I can find little fault with it. The creators obviously love the Thundercat brand and made sure the brand kept all the good and junked all the bag (talking Snarf) It's a fun cartoon that is funny the younger you are. Plus there is nothing more fun than chasing someone around my house with the Sword of Omens.

Unknown said...

i thought thundercats were awesome when i was a kid, what 20 years ago? lets see what happens

Darius Whiteplume said...

Kal - the old one could get silly. My favorite was the one where Lion-O had to beat all the other cats for his right to be in charge. I was so happy Snarf was a non-talker in the new one.

MM - I like the story of the new one, but miss some of the old bad guys.

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