Now we look at another reboot, this time it's Bugs Bunny.
I've already mentioned last year how great a character Bugs Bunny is, so I don't need to repeat myself in that regard, however like every character of a certain age and genre, his original content was the stuff of cartoon legends but now finds himself a victim of changing fortunes and Wabbit is just another chapter in this character's story.
Don't get me wrong, this is Bugs Bunny in his own territory, not sharing with other Looney Tunes in a big city but doing what he does best in giving a little payback to the people that annoy him.
It would be a very unfair comparison to say that this is bad because it's not the original, the original was of it's own era and had it's own charm and cannot really do well in a modern era even if much of it's content is timeless,it wasn't perfect, towards the end of it's run, Bugs Bunny ran out of content and had a hard time continuing beyond 1964 when censorship was a major thing for cartoons mainly due to the advent of Children's TV. I can honestly say Wabbit is actually fairly good, while not all the jokes hit the mark and the animation style is questionable, but for what they managed to work with, they did a pretty good job.
Warner Bros under Sam Register has this strange form of luck, it's not just Bugs Bunny, it's Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, the DC Universe and Teen Titans. They seem to create this notorious popularity for taking away the charm of these franchises but amongst the chaos there exists some of the best cartoon writing in the modern era so it comes down to personal taste and not letting your nostalgic views cloud your judgement when looking at these reboots.
Wabbit for me started shaky and there are plenty of characters it can do without along with some jokes that need some work done, however it's still very much a work in progress that's getting better as it goes along and season 1 is no where near finished yet, but again it still comes down to taste as to whether or not you consider Wabbit a good cartoon.
Remember "One person's vision is someone else's nightmare" but also remember that it's actually impossible to recreate an old show from it's original state with the most obvious reasons ranging from the original production crew, writers and actors being dead or very much retired, one of the last things that Mel Blanc left to the world was a number of successors to continue his characters voices and Bugs Bunny still sounds just as good now as before, so all this hate that these shows get is unjustified because on their own merits they can still entertain the world and as I grow up I may one day show my kids and grandkids about Bugs Bunny as my father showed me and I'll look on the TV and he'll still be there 50 years from now and that to me is worth more than how good or how bad his shows are.
I've been into Dreamworks lately so lets begin with Megamind.
The typical superhero setup is established as two intergalactic beings are sent to Earth, one following the path of good as Metro Man while the movie focusses on the blue skinned, big headed menace known as Megamind.
One day after the uptenth time of going through the battle between good and evil routine, Megamind actually wins the battle, destroying Metro Man in the process, giving him full control of Metro City.
But losing his sense of thrill in fighting a worthy opponent and falling for TV Reporter Roxanne, Megamind decides to create a new hero using Roxanne's cameraman Hal, while at the same time dating Roxanne in disguise but Hal's lack of heroics and failing to get Roxanne to love him turns him into an evil villain, leaving Megamind to try and save the day as the some how alive Metro Man refuses to do so.
The psychology in this film is clever, in Megamind we have a goal that's been achieved but nothing else to aim for leaving a feeling of emptiness, in Metro Man we have someone who feels he's been put into this position by virtue of his powers but isn't allowed to have a choice of being normal, in Minion he feels that he is losing his boss by the fact that he's being influenced by his own self loathing to make poor decisions, Roxanne doesn't know who to trust anymore as everyone from her cameraman to Metro Man to Megamind himself show sides to them that she wasn't expecting and Hal is a jerk who feels that he can get anything he wants because of superpowers because his own life sucks and somehow makes it worth it.
That's quite a lot to cover and in a Dreamworks picture that really doesn't get a lot of appreciation; its got a very strong set of characters and while the story can be a little bit weak in places, I never felt that it went for cliches or try to end on a "Business as usual" ending which could've ruined the whole film if it did.
Dreamworks is a worthy rival of Disney and films like this show that it can compete on equal footing.
Let it be said that I'm not one to follow trends especially when ninjas took over the world but lets see what was released by the west to tackle the might of Naruto during the mid 2010s.
For 800 years the town of Norrisville is protected by a ninja, in order to keep this going, a new ninja takes the fold every 4 years, next to take the ninja costume is Randy Cunningham 9th grader, however it's not long before he gets enemies in the form of the Sorcerer and his two main allies, Hannibal McFist a big time business man with a mechanical arm that has its own brain and Viceroy who may as well be called Baxter Stockman.
Randy must learn the many teachings of the ninja while defeating his enemies in order to keep peace in Norrisville.
This is the most mixed of mixed bags for many reasons.
1. It clearly took lessons from the Ninja Turtles school of cartoons with it's obvious choice of villains yet they have some top quality voices from the likes of Tim Curry, John DiMaggio and Kevin Michael Richardson.
2. It clearly took the torch from American Dragon a show with a similar premise but then rips off Sailor Moon by having it's victims become monsters.
3. The two leads were clearly part of the Mordecai and Rigby dynamic but are also both jerks.
4. Randy has to keep his identity secret but the ninja is not only common knowledge his so called best friend exploits it.
So yeah mixed bag is an understatement but at least the show itself is entertaining and while it looks like it is pandering to the new millennials need for ninjas and street cred, it's actually a fairly enjoyable show and the fact that the leads are jerks actually makes a change from the typical lead with phenomenal cosmic power and the typical wisecracking fun loving 10 year old that goes with it.
So despite taking more than a few pointers from previous shows, Randy Cunningham 9th Grade Ninja is a good show, now you just need a shorter title and you might actually be remembered. *Smoke Bomb*
I'll be on a roll today as I try and review a ton of shows in a short time.... No really, I'll start with Teen Titans Go.
Teen Titans was originally a psuedo anime super hero show that is very well fondly remembered back in the days of Toonami, exploring the lives of Robin, Starfire, Beastboy, Cyborg and Raven, while very compelling with it's action it also had a good mix of dark drama and oddball comedy and any fan of the show would love to see this come back yet this remake that they chose to bring back is nothing but oddball comedy to the extreme to the point where you can't really call it a Teen Titans show; it really was a strange choice yet in a crazy roundabout way this is still a good cartoon.
Yes I can see all the criticisms, yes some of the jokes are somewhere between juvernile and WTF, yes it does feel like a kids show yet they sprout references aimed at my age group and yes the characters do feel badly dumbed down, and yes compared to the original there's no comparison.
Yet I actually like it. Despite all the heavy criticism this show gets I really don't hate it, it's a reminder of the cartoons of old when all you really want to do is laugh and not need a degree in storytelling to even pass the most caustic of critics, simple pleasures has it's place alongside strong storytelling and sometimes the only way that works is with a familiar property like the Teen Titans, and look on the bright side, the Marvel equivalent to this show is the Super Hero Squad Show which is a million times worst than this.
Next on the review train is Shonen Jump's Gintama.
In alternative Edo Japan, aliens attack and take over after the Shogun wusses out on the battle and betrays the samurai, handing power over to said aliens.
The characters we focus on are Gintoki and his two friends Shinpachi and Kagura, each with their own unique talents and past as they do odd jobs around the Edo region to pay the bills, sort of feudal Japan Cowboy Bebop. However old allies come back to haunt Gintoki and his many allies.
Plot is fairly straight forward but it's hard to really understand what's going on when there is so many gags going on, the film I watched which I'm basing this review on is part of the main story abridged into an easily digestible film and I can honsetly say the experience is unapologetically crass and vulgar and Gintama is very self aware of this as it lampshades the fact that a) it's no where near the level of the likes of Naruto and Bleach and b) the 4th wall breaking stuff with Warner Bros.
The dub especially takes advantage of this as it uses every possible gag in the book and while the majority of the gags hit the mark it does take away the impact of it's more serious scenes leaving me unsympathetic when a character dies or not feeling invested in a good fight scene and that can be Gintama's biggest problem.
Do I enjoy it? In a way, it doesn't do anything different that Shonen Jump hasn't already done better and the fact that it's self aware can make it seem 2nd rate but I do enjoy the experience on show.
Final Verdict: Gintama can be fun but it doesn't break any new ground that hasn't already been tried and tested by better Shonen Jump anime. Not to say it's bad but it is very predictable.