Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Thundercat's Whiskers

The cardinal sin of many a recent comics or cartoon adaptation is the pomposity with which the filmmakers approach the source material. It’s not really their fault – they are only in it for the money (show me a director burning with the creative desire to make a Denver, The Last Dinosaur flick, and I’ll show you a weirdo) , and they realise how much the core group of fans have invested in the trials and tribulations of, say, a garbage truck that can metamorphose into a triceratops. Early bad buzz from otherwise rather laggard interweb folk can turn a blockbuster into a dud before it even has a chance to screen for the press (case in point: The Spirit – though Frank Miller and his EGO seem to be responsible for the brunt of that backlash). So Hollywood has been taking the sequacious nerds, and their beloved robots, knights, whatever, as seriously as they do themselves. I have written about this before, but just to recap, it’s a relatively recent trend. It started with (a kiss? No) Bryan Singer’s X-Men, and like an avalanche in tights, it picked up speed and debris along the way, culminating in the bloated juggernaut that is The Dark Knight (Aside: I recently read a comment somewhere that compared Nolan’s film to Bergman – I weep tears of blood for the youth of today). Albeit devoid of éclat, élan, and joie de vivre, three qualities that define superhero comics of yesteryear, the film massacred at the box office, and third-rate knock-off copies are already in the pipeline. Fingers crossed for a Power Pack film with the team made up, solely, of victims of child abuse!

Anyway, Devin Faraci at Chud, whose Top 15 films of 2008 piece is – as always – a brilliant read, has posted a hilarious fanmade live-action trailer for Thundercats. I, too, thought it was an excellent piece of satire, demolishing a wide variety of recent Hollywood mainstays, such as the fustian blockbuster, in one fell swoop, but reading some of the comments by the video’s creator WormyT, I have the vexatious feeling that it might have been a more serious attempt than I originally assumed.

Who cares? Trust the art, not the artist. This is priceless!


Robert T. said...

Hi Ali,

How are you doing? That was indeed a well-made video. It looked almost too real to be fake; and when Brad Pitt uttered the signature battle cry, "Thundercats Go!," it was almost uncanny.

The latest Batman film, for me, left a not really pleasant aftertaste in the mind. (Oh, I liked the film so and so, but I wouldn't compare it with the works of Ingmar Bergman.) I was bothered by some of its philosophical implications that brimmed over the cup from being too full. Yes, the word you used, "bloated,' is the exact word.

As much as I hate to say this, the genre seem to be moving in the direction of darker gray, a place where white constitutes only a very small portion of things. It tells you to your face, "Welcome to the real world." More and more, too, it can't distinguish between uninhibited violence and violence that needs to be restrained. (I have that same complaint with Kung-fu movies.) I don't know if it has always been like that with Hollywood, but I'm certain Superman wouldn't kill (or seriously damage a limb of) someone who committed a crime of petty thieving. Glorifying violence only leads to a numb and violent society.


Anyway, during the '80s, there were few cartoons that I really liked. Thundercats was one of them; and so was Dungeons and Dragons. And then, there was also Ulysses 31. The animation is admittedly very hammy, not to mention ancient. Still, I would love for Hollywood to do it rightly in film, and transform it into something original and unique, as the cartoon was during its heyday. It had some cool stories in it; well, actually, rehashes of Greek mythology. Filmmakers who have the penchant for the Dark Palette will get their hands full on this one, for I believe that gods have the ability to be more evil than humans can ever be.

Btw, I love Ulysses beard. Wish I could have a beard like that. Alas, I am mostly hairless, except for my crop of hair.