Friday, December 2, 2011

Loonatics Unleashed - Weathering Heights

Here I am again, venturing once more into the most laughably controversial review series I’ve ever done. And no, you’re not going crazy, I didn’t put mistakenly “Loonatics Unleashed” instead of “Eclipse.” Although with the way Stephenie Meyer loves to misappropriate other literature you could well be forgiven for thinking so.

Just for the record, yes I’m skipping the third episode, “The Cloak of Black Velvet.” It’s for the same reason you haven’t been seeing more Generation Z reviews. The futuristic rendering of Zorro was pretty bad, no doubt about it, but honestly the worst thing you can say about most of the episodes is they’re just plain boring (one could argue leaving no impression at all is even worse than being able to pick it to pieces, but that’s a whole other thing). Same thing with the third episode of this cartoon. It was dull, but after watching it three times I couldn’t find anything else to focus on. And even though Loonatics Unleashed does have something of an ongoing story, that particular episode was pretty much disposable.

So. Here we are again at a premise I’m still amazed was ever approved. Open on weather reporting celebrity Misty Breeze. It’s kind of cute the way this cartoon’s trying to act as if that job wasn’t only pretty much outmoded when this episode was made, but that it’ll still be going strong nearly eight centuries later. And when I said “celebrity,” I meant it. Misty actually has her own merchandise. A weather lady with merchandise. Somehow I can buy the talking cartoon animals but I get stuck on that.

Misty’s gofer suggests doing a piece on barometric pressure, which sounds painfully like something a writer with no knowledge of what meteorology involves ripped from the dictionary to make the character sound down with it. Never mind how you’d do a “piece” when you work on the weather report. They kind of only have one segment. Misty turns her down anyway, because she’s a pompous bitch who dumps coffee over the gofer when it turns out to be cold.

Oh, and Misty’s voiced by Candi Milo, who also voices the team’s dickish mentor. It’s almost like she was being punished for working on this show by being given characters who were bigger assholes than the villains. At least here she’s kind of justified, since the gofer’s not too good at her job if she’s not back with the coffee before it gets cold.

This indignity makes gofer so mad a tiny rain cloud appears over Misty that makes her, well, storm off in a huff (and which nobody reacts to as if it's at all unusual). The camera crew decides to let gofer host the weather shoot, because apparently this job is so not-outmoded in the future they actually go out and shoot it in the field. During the shoot a storm picks up as she talks about it, and a lightning bolt strikes her. She then starts talking like a villain and whips up a tornado that blows Misty away. I’m not sure what the lightning really did, because she was already altering the weather by talking about it and making it rain on people she didn’t like. With a boss she hated and an interest in meteorology already, I don’t see how this could only be coming up now.

And think about what it says about this show that someone becomes a supervillain over their intense desire to host the weather forecast.

After the theme song we return to the Loonatics not saving people from the chaos created by the storm, but by fixing their satellite dish which was apparently knocked over by the high winds. I don’t know, the broadcasting equipment on a superhero base seems like something it would take more than a heavy wind to knock over, so you’d think there are people they could be helping.

They’re fixing the dish so Daffy can watch Misty deliver the weather (News flash! It’s stormy!). I’m sorry, weather forecasters with fans. Yeesh. And Daffy flips Taz off the roof when he comes up to check on their progress, but is that his fault or the guy who stood on the hatch’s fault? Because when the others catch Taz and bring him back up, Taz is all mad like it was the guy who opened the hatch somebody was standing on’s fault.

Look, I know how being a superhero is about doing things regardless of the danger, but superheroes who don’t bother to be smart about it tend to stop being superheroes rather quickly because they’ve been turned into a smoking blemish on the floor. And before you say Taz isn’t that smart, Wile E., the team’s resident genius is up there with him. Then again, he’s the same resident genius who was working on a laser cannon in the same room another character was having mock combat with flying saucers

In fact, now that I think about it are we sure it's still 2772? That's what the DVD case says, and there's this counter that rises up during the opening sequence implying that's the year, but according to the opening narration that's when the asteroid hit. When they show the planet from space, there's this big chunk missing from it, presumably from the asteroid. It's a cool touch, sure, but the thing is it's obviously been built over. Building takes a while.

Anyway, right then Misty lands on their satellite dish, and after a cutaway the Loonatics are jetting out to look into her claims of an angry intern blowing her away. Daffy wonders aloud who could ever want to hurt Misty Breeze, to which Lexi replies “Anyone who’s ever met her?” Hey, maybe she’s a bitch, but that puts her three steps beyond any other character we’ve seen (or haven’t) up to this point in terms of development. I think Lexi herself might get two lines in the entire series that reveal even the tiniest details about her as a character. The ones in the ice age episode about winter coats making her look fat, and finding out she was trying out to be a cheerleader before she got her powers.

Their mentor, the mysterious Zadavia appears to them in giant TV screens they happen to be flying past, and helpfully informs them that strange weather’s appearing “all over the planet.” Because a woman flying through the air and coming to rest on their roof didn’t indicate that, I guess. That’s pretty much all she says before signing off. Wow, good thing she’s around.

The Loonatics arrive at the scene of the weather forecast and are confronted by the angered gofer, now going by Weather Vane. That’s really the name you’re going with? I'm even more disappointed in gofer because as someone who knows more about the weather than her stuck-up boss, you'd think she'd know weather vanes have nothing to do with weather. It sounds plenty stupid anyway. It’s not even Weather Vain, which would make some sense with her flipping out over wanting the spotlight.

She whips up some cloud monsters to attack the Loonatics (just so you know, “kick their butts” isn’t a strategy), which fails because it turns out getting the monsters wet disperses them. Wow that’s a lame weakness. The show isn’t helped when Daffy, in the clutches of one of the creatures, pleads for a “water egg” when he whips up one of his power balls and jams it into the monster’s mouth. Are the effects of his only offensive power random? That’s a crappy deal. Oh, and he doesn’t get a water egg, he gets an orange juice egg. How exactly did he get picked for this team with a power like that? The show never explains that, even in the episode where flashbacks show what everybody was doing before getting their powers.

Oh, and writers? When you have a character who can shoot lightning bolts, please don’t ever have them make “shocking” puns ever again, okay? It sure isn’t doing an already limp show like this any favors.

WV whips up a tornado then, and Taz attacks it as a tornado and destroys it. Which kind of makes you wonder why he doesn’t destroy the entire nearby landscape by using that power if he’s stronger than a full-fledged tornado. Yeah he’s a superhero now, but he still shows practically zip in terms of restraint. Hell, Coyote had to invent capture devices to keep him from eating all their food.

With the Loonatics having withstood all of her powers, WV decides to use all of them at once, demanding that Misty Breeze be brought to her or she’ll destroy the entire city. Maybe she shouldn’t have blown Misty away in the first place if that’s what she wants. And pardon me for bringing up a stupid point, but Acmetropolis is a "city planet." Is she powerful enough to destroy the whole planet?

God, this show’s stupid.

The Loonatics save a train whose tracks were destroyed by a lightning strike, and after doing so Bugs pops the doors open and asks “Who ordered the Acme heroes,” prompting a round of cheering from the people they just saved. Wow, modest. Especially since the Loonatics don’t even do anything to evacuate the people they just saved. Having said that they fly away on their jetpacks. An old lady claims to have known his great-great-great-grandfather, but unless they’re saying people live 200 years in this universe, I think somebody’s math is off because there’s no way she could be talking about Bugs. Is she supposed to be Granny or somebody? Because, well…there's another Granny analogue in the second season.

Once again, voiced by Candi Milo.

With the train safe the Loonatics return their attention to Weather Vane. Bugs orders them to box her in, “one of us from each side.” Instead it looks like everybody approaches from the same side.

Bugs tries to deliver a withering bon mot, but it ends with an extremely artificial silence that hangs in the air for a second before the cameraman’s line is heard and interrupts him. Weather Vane split already. Zadavia appears then and tells them that she’s detected weird energy 35 miles off the coast and “all efforts to contain Weather Vane have failed.” What efforts? Their efforts? Because they stopped trying to contain her to save the train, and probably could’ve taken her if given a chance to do so based on what we saw. Are other people trying to contain her? Who are they?

That whole “nobody’s been able to contain Weather Vane” stuff doesn’t get any easier to swallow when Daffy personally chases her down over the ocean to defend Misty’s honor. He sends her spinning out of control with a kick. Gee, getting close enough to hit her seems pretty easy and looks like it works pretty well.

WV responds to this by whipping up a cloud-dragon. Um, don’t her cloud monsters explode when they get wet? I notice the animators aren’t showing it’s raining anymore after coming back from the commercials. Besides, it’s flying in from the ocean, where there’s tons of water they could use to attack it. Hell, by now the city streets are flooded so there’s water they could use against it pretty much everywhere it could possibly go.

Before commercial...

...after commercial.

The Loonatics even mention “a busted fire hydrant isn’t going to take that thing out.” No, but what about the standing water everywhere you look? I find it pretty hard to believe Taz couldn’t whip up a waterspout to take that thing out. But no, for some reason they think it makes sense to instead go the exact opposite route and instead dry the dragon out. So they lure it to a volcanic island, with Daffy being towed behind the Roadrunner as bait.

Anyway, while they’re distracting the dragon, the others set up machines to make the volcano erupt. This destroys the dragon, and makes everything all better because when the Loonatics get back their view screen lady tells them all traces of weird weather are gone. Even the flooded streets have been cleared. She's not sure what happened to WV (“We can only assume she escaped”), and neither am I. Was she supposed to be inside the dragon or something? Kind of hard to imagine her surviving a volcano going off in her face If she wasn’t, well, why exactly didn’t she just whip up another dragon, considering the trouble they had to go through to get rid of that one? And why would she just leave? Oh, because they’ve run out of runtime. As a matter of fact Weather Vane does show up again later. When she does it's because another villain's breaking her out of jail. Yet here they're saying they don't know what happened to her.

Daffy finally gets his chance to hang with Misty (who turns off the monitor Zadavia’s on, claiming “I’m the only pretty face on this channel!”) and get the short-tempered weather starlet to autograph some of that merchandise of hers I mentioned. He even rented a dump truck to bring it all over. Kind of trite, but when everyone else on the team is so much more boring than this guy, well he tends to kind of become your favorite by default.

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