Monday, November 19, 2012

Loonatics Unleashed – The World is My Circus

Let us return once again to that terrifying world of the future, Acmetropolis, for another embarrassing outing with those most deservedly forgotten heroes, the Loonatics.

A pink spaceship floats over the city/planet, while a voice booms out over the rooftops boasting of containing the greatest show in the universe. And it depresses me to say this, but this gaudily-clad figure is the Ringmaster, voiced by none other than Tim Curry. If I squint really hard I can kind of pretend Skull Master and Freako the Clown fell into the Brundlefly machine together, which made this a little easier to get through. Pay attention to that modifier.

He unveils the pride of his show, the “galactic oddities” which are each a mix of two regular animals. They do this thing where they all ride around on a big beach ball and switch positions, which didn’t strike me as particularly impressive since I’d just seen and hadn’t had a chance to get used to these monsters. So I wasn’t really able to remember which was where in between switches.

Then the Ringmaster brings out his dwarfish sidekick Otto the Odd, who’s the target in a knife-throwing act. Sort of. One of the monsters sucks up some kind of yellow balls in its trunk and shoots them at him, but I have no idea if those balls are supposed to be dangerous or not so the effect is largely wasted.

As the spectators are leaving, Ringmaster tells Otto to turn on the “sonic DNA scrambler,” and a kid is turned into some kind of crocodile-goat thing that our villains then show up to collect. Brilliant scheme there, guys. You not only couldn’t just do this to somebody who hadn't attended your show, you had to go pick them up in the same clothes you wore at the performance. In a city with a known superhero team, yet.

Granted, not a particularly effective team by anyone else's yardstick except maybe Bananaman’s, but still…

Back from theme song, Ringmaster sends Otto to feed the monsters their slime, and from the back Otto’s outfit is colored like the Ringmaster’s. One monster, some kind of chameleon/monkey hybrid, has gotten out of its cage and slips past Otto. When he complains to the Ringmaster, wondering how “she” got out of her cage, Ringmaster claims responsibility (“I let it out”) and laughs claiming “She’ll lead them right to us.” Although we’re going to wonder how that critter was captured in the first place once we find out who it is.

You see the inconsistency in those sentences? The guy paid to didn’t.

Over to our “heroes,” where Wile E.’s invented what sounds like a gun that shoots sticky slime to trap villains. I don’t think I mentioned this before, but his character’s gag, apparently, is that everything he invents has a name like “the science electron glucose hydro projector” something-thousand. At least, I think that’s supposed to be a joke. With this show’s bass-ackward priorities, it’s hard to tell.

Hey, you asked what it was. Why you lookin' so annoyed, Lexi?

Daffy complains about everyone being in their meeting room, but no sign of Zadavia. Lexi retorts, “Patience, is a virtue, duck,” and he retorts right back with “What are you, a fortune cookie?” Even Bugs is on Daffy’s side, since what kind of mission-dispenser is late for meetings?

Lexi tells everybody to shut up because she hears “something I don’t like.” This proves to be the lizard-monkey thing, and as it de-camouflages off the wall alarm bells start going off. For about five seconds. Daffy tries to zap it, but Bugs catches it and noticing the tag on its collar for the circus, they decide to take it back. All six of them. Even though they’re expecting a call from Zadavia.

They fly their jetpacks up to the circus ship and drop off the lizard-monkey, and Ace decides it’s trying to lead them somewhere and the team follows it into the area where all the other mixed-up monsters are kept. Bugs fails at witty banter once again when he notes, “Something in this place smells fishy. Oh, that’d be you.” Because he’s next to a fish tank holding some kind of camel-fish. Get it?

A couple vulture-rhinoceros things come in, and when Daffy tries to give back their little acquisition, they punch him, which leads to a quick little fight the Loonatics easily win. Probably deliberate on the villains’ part, since when the Loonatics enter the next room they find a log of genetic experiments giving away the Ringmaster’s plan, but are also trapped in a bunch of cylinders.

He comes in and explains how he’ll turn them into hybrid freaks and stick them in his performance just like that kid. Taz slobbers something unintelligible and disparaging, and Lexi adds, “I’m right there with you, [Taz].” That’s not funny either. You guys aren’t very good at this.

Otto throws the switch, but Wile E. shoots his handily-established jello gun up through a tube so it covers the gene-splitting machine, which explodes, leaving the Loonatics a bunch of mismatched freaks like the others. Although they conveniently still look a lot like themselves so there’s no trouble telling them apart.

This also mixed up everybody’s powers, so when they try to attack, nothing happens. Ringmaster summons his other monsters to “Round them up! All of them!” As opposed to just some of them?

Bugs, who’s saddled with Daffy’s energy egg-conjuring power, hits one charging monstrosity, attempting to quip, “Hope you like your eggs sunny-side up!” Whether that was supposed to be a joke or an action star one-liner, it was a pretty bad one.

Things continue in this vein. Daffy accidentally fries Roadrunner, which is okay because he has Wile E.’s healing power. But he still talks really fast, for some reason, even though somebody else has his speed powers. I even went back and watched his flashback from the last episode again; he talked at a normal speed before getting his powers. Watch it yourself if my word ain't good enough for you.

Lexi says that with everybody having everybody else’s powers, they’re not going to win this one. And she makes an attempt to link this show to the old ones with her disdain for her new “Pepe le Pew” look. Are the classic characters legends on Acmetropolis some seven and a half centuries later? If you're going to try to establish some kind of time line, let alone take the serious approach to your show, you should think about these things. Especially come second season.

Anyway, Bugs agrees. “I never thought I’d say this, but haul tail!” I’m surprised you don’t say it more often, with the competence on display. They escape into some sewers through a hole in the floor. After explaining everything we already figured out about how their mutations also swapped around their powers and a pointlessly quick fight with some kind of “gorilla-snake” (what’s that doing there? Does the Ringmaster drop his failed experiments down there or something?), Wile E. says they need a plan and Bugs shows us why he’s in charge.

Where do you see "gorilla" in that?

“The way I see it, we gotta somehow rebuild the Ringmaster’s sonic DNA scrambler, and reverse the transformation.”

Brilliant. Got any other brainstorms you want to toss out while you’ve got everybody’s attention, Glorious Leader?

Oh, and Lexi’s grossed out at being in the sewer and needs a bath ASAP. Because she’s a girl.

Somehow instinctively knowing their way around the Ringmaster’s gigantic ship, they find where the DNA machine is and Wile E. speeds off to fix it while the others try to hold off the guards. Bugs shows his razor-sharp tactical prowess once again with this little gem: “That’s it. We can beat these guys if we work together.” That’s just now coming to ya, huh?

The idiots have no trouble fighting with each other’s powers now, and after knocking out Ringmaster, Wile E. rebuilds the DNA gizmo into a portable gauntlet form in exactly four minutes. Please get your damn stories straight, show. Is he an accident-prone genius, or just a genius?

Anyway, Wile E. turns all the “galactic oddities,” his teammates, and the lizard-monkey thing back to normal. The lizard-monkey thing having been Zadavia the whole time. Okay, how did the bad guys capture her and turn her into a lizard-monkey? Did she step out for a night at the circus? Do other people know she’s in charge of the Loonatics?

Oh come on, how did that thing get up into a cage?

She semi-menacingly tells Daffy “We need to talk” over his previous treatment of her. No, Zadavia. You need to communicate better. She couldn’t like make a “Z” in the air with her fingers and then jump on one of the countless computers and type “I’m Zadavia, help me”? Nooooo, all she managed was pointing at the door out of the meeting room.

Closed door...

...opened door?

Ringmaster tries to run away, but when the Loonatics corner him, Otto whips out a remote control and turns his boss into a big cobra-lobster-octopus thingy. Otto declares that he is the real boss of this operation (Translation: They could only get Tim for this one episode). Which is why the Ringmaster acted like the boss when nobody else was around.

Wait, what?!

In the course of the fight both Wile E.’s DNA glove and Otto’s control are destroyed, but Wile E. remembers that it was a sonic DNA scrambler; they can undo its effects with a sonic boom. Sure, whatever. This involves Taz and Roadrunner going around Ringmaster in circles really fast, and for some damn reason the rest of them shooting their various energy blasts into the resultant tornado too.

This does does succeed in turning Ringmaster back to normal, and in the process also cripples the ship, which crashes into the ocean. How convenient. And in case you care, Wile E. stops the fleeing bad guys with his jello gun (where did that go while he was an alligator-zebra-coyote thing?).

Back at the base for the wrap-up, Zadavia’s thanking the Loonatics and is about to leave when Bugs tries to ask, several times, if maybe there’s somebody she wants a private word with. Okay, maybe there’s some small effort behind made to link him, personality-wise, to the original model. Except that as a pretty standard, non-Deadpool-esque superhero, it just ends up making him seem like an asshole.

She says no, then she leaves. Then she pops back in and does want to chew Daffy out for how he treated her as a disgusting lizard-monkey that couldn’t be bothered to communicate its identity to them.

Who are you and why do we listen to you again, Zadavia?

I'm finally off the first disc! Yay!

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