Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Loonatics Unleashed - Going Underground

Open on Chinatown, where it looks to be Chinese New Year. Because it’s always Chinese New Year. The same way it’s always Mardi Gras.

Lexi (the girl bunny, because I’ve decided I’m just calling everyone else by their old names) and Daffy are getting takeout (because what else would they be doing there?) when Lexi suddenly hears something via her super-hearing and the buildings start to shake. “Comically” splattering Daffy with all the food he was carrying.

Then it starts to shake more, and a guy lets go of a serving cart of more Chinese food which splatters…more on Daffy. Who was still splattered from the first time. Was that supposed to be funny? Er? Then another guy lets go of another serving cart and Daffy teleports out of the way, but a carton flies off and splatters on him anyway. Oh come on, you just did the same stupid thing three times in the same thirty seconds! That doesn’t even count as a running gag.

Then we pan out and it looks like all the ground around Chinatown is sinking, except only one building’s apparently sinking, a big purple one with an atom symbol on the side. I know you were making this for kids with tiny attention spans, guys, but if you don’t care why should I?

Then that whole part of town on the hill sinks into the ground instead, so was that part being raised up? So why does it sink into the ground from up there…forget it. Although I’m kind of curious if they’ll try to explain how nobody was inside those buildings when they collapsed and didn’t get crushed.

Then a nerdy-looking midget walks up to a glowing green jewel and laughs after saying “there’s going to be a whole lot more shaking going on!” Okay, that’s not even a joke. If it was “a whole lot OF shaking going on,” that’d sound dumb but at least it’d be a reference to something. Not that I’d expect this show’s target audience to have heard that song.

After theme song, we return to the Loonatics in their meeting room, and a comment from Bugs enlightens us that the ground wasn’t sinking, that one part rose up. To make that one building sink, apparently.

Wile E. wheels in a miniature rendering of the city but isn’t happy with it because he had to make it “on my break. Total rush job.” Okay, how long was his break? The show doesn’t even explain the characters’ powers, how am I supposed to know their scheduling regulations? Heck, these guys are a superhero team. Not exactly a 9-to-5 job.

Lexi notes the detail’s so extreme it even has little trains that actually run, then looks at her watch and adds “and on time.” That’s not even a joke either. How would she tell that from glancing at her wrist? Does she memorize train schedules? When they get around via jetpack?

The point of the model city is no matter what tectonic variations he tries, Wile E. can’t figure out what would make a little mountain rise up in the middle of town like that. Not that investigations matter, because Zadavia pops in right then to conveniently explain who’s behind this.

One Dr. Thaddeus Dare, a scientist who made it his life’s work to find a way to control rock. Daffy shouts out, “Whacko, party of one!” after that. And he should. I mean, imagine the practical applications of that kind of power, like preventing earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, or digging foundations for a new building in one day.

Disfigured by the meteor crash, he grew more and more reckless until he was “banished by the scientific community.” And not, like, arrested or anything? Just driven out of the scientific community? What’d he do?

“Lemme guess, a guy that into rocks went underground, right?” Bugs posits. Not hard to figure out, are these shows? Kind of makes you wonder why they bothered pretending that those little fuzz balls weren’t the same as those big honkin’ monsters in that other episode.

“Deep underground,” Zadavia answers. And if he was a probable threat, why has nobody done anything about him until now? Anyway she also knows about the jewel he stole, the Jade Serpent Crystal, “said to contain untold energy.” Said to? With all the ridiculous hyper technology on display in this show, that seems like something they could at least tell, even if they couldn’t tell what kind of energy or what they could do with it. Heck, it was in some kind of research lab when Dare stole it.

Zadavia warns them that if Dr. Dare figures out how to tap the jewel’s energy, “there’s no telling what he might do.” Yeah there is, it’ll have something to do with rocks. Also, it looks like Dare really meant to just steal the building with the jewel and all the ones around it collapsed into the ground by accident. Not exactly awestruck by this bad guy’s competence.

With the exposition dropped in our laps, it’s time to head out and stop the bad guy, with Bugs trotting out his usual line of “Let’s jet!” I thought that was some kind of play on how whenever he said that they’d fly out in their jetpacks, but here, as you’d expect, they hop into a handy drill tank instead.

Funny, I suddenly wish I was playing WURM instead.
They drive around underground with no indication whatsoever they know where they’re going until suddenly the vehicle’s grabbed by a bunch of rock monsters. One reaches in and grabs Lexi, leading to a not terribly impressive battle sequence. As soon as Lexi gets away from the monster with help from Daffy, she starts shooting lasers from her ears left and right, but didn’t think to turn to the one carrying her and try that.

I will admit this part had one attempt at humor that wasn’t completely terrible, with Bugs spouting off “What’s up, rock?”

Things reach something of a climax when one of the monsters throws Taz off a cliff, and Bugs, attacking it in a fit of rage, knocks it off the same cliff. Right on top of Taz, in fact. Way to avenge your teammate there, dumbass.

Through it all Wile E.’s been trying to get the drill thingy started again, and tries to hook up something to a battery but the cable’s too short. He completes the connection by using his own body and is fried in the process. Which is okay because his power is to heal. Which would’ve been a nice thing for the freaking show to explain.

Then Dr. Dare himself shows up, and as badly-written villains are wont to do, he explains his plan. Which is to drag everyone else underground while he lives on the surface. That’s kind of a new one for mole-man type villains, I’ll admit. It doesn’t really make any sense, but hey, he’s supposed to be crazy anyway. He then uses the jewel to bury the Loonatics’ drill vehicle, and commercial.

We return to Taz digging them out with his tornado powers, even though it’s a tunneling vehicle and digging through rock’s the whole point. Zadavia calls them and tells them that Dr. Dare’s doing exactly what he said he’d do, so they hurry back to the surface and find…the city gone and lots of people still standing around a rocky wilderness? Huh? The Loonatics hop on ATV’s that can apparently drive straight up sheer rock walls to get to Dare’s new castle, which literally has a giant green “come get me, heroes” beacon on top.

What is this, Loonatics or Biker Mice From Mars?

Some more rock monsters show up to get in their way, but as in many a badly-written show the bad guys get easier to beat the closer we are to the credits, and Lexi knocks the entire group off the mountain with one ear laser.

Dr. Dare says he thought he left the Loonatics buried, and Lexi hits him with “Haven’t you heard? Down is the new up.” Was that a joke? For real? Then what I have to admit is a not-terrible attempt at humor rears its head when Daffy says they’re going to stop him “stone cold.” That probably only worked because the only character I can stand said it.

Dare uses the jewel to encase them in crystal so he can keep them around as trophies. That is, in crystal up to their noses, so Bugs is free to shoot off some laser vision and hit the jewel, setting them free. Dare tries to run for it, and Lexi and Bugs decided to use some rehearsed acrobatic maneuver to cut him off (#29, if you care), even though he has  short legs and they could catch him anyway without any trouble. And it’s not as if any of the Loonatics can teleport.

Bugs and Dare have a sword fight that ends when Bugs reflects a beam that turns Dare to stone. Wile E. uses Dare’s crystal keyboard thing to somehow make the city come back, and I’m suddenly feeling like not watching this show anymore and playing some Torin’s Passage.

We started stupid, so let’s end stupid. It turns out the petrified villain’s been deposited in the middle of a freaking park for safekeeping. Oh yeah, nothing could possibly could wrong. At least it sounds like it wasn’t the Loonatics’ idea, but I can’t shake the feeling it was Zadavia’s…

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