Friday, April 26, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed - Acmegeddon: Part Two (Snark)

Last time on Loonatics Unleashed, a new uber-villain with about the worst possible choice for a voice actor freed some of the Loonatics’ old enemies to plant some kind of device in their headquarters for no adequately explained reason. When the villains failed he sucked them back to his headquarters with Daffy tagging along for the ride. Then Zadavia showed up to explain how the new villain is…her brother!!

“My brother will exterminate anyone close me.” We’re going to find out something about her that makes that sound kind of dickish of her, not that Zadavia wasn’t pretty dickish anyway. But for the moment, also consider “If we do not act soon, Acmetropolis will be destroyed.” Everyone on the entire planet’s close to her, then?

After the theme song it almost sounds like Bugs is finally doing a little something to call Zadavia out on all her mysterious bitchy behavior throughout the season as he asks, “So chief, you gonna spill the beans or do we wait for Duck to end up as your brother’s main course?”

She does indeed answer, explaining she’s from the planet Freleng (get it?). She and Optimatus were born into the royal family, but Optimatus was…not very nice. Which nobody found out until the day he was a young man and announced to some kind of council or other that he wanted them to help him take over the universe. His megalomaniacal tendencies seem like something that would’ve come up before. I don’t care if you like this show, there's not much in the way of shades of gray.

When the council refused to back him, his (of course) robotic minions took them hostage and Optimatus installed himself as dictator of Freleng. Fearing his pacifistic sister would plot against him, he tried to capture her too, but she easily fought off his stupid robots and slightly less easily Optimatus himself with rainbow lasers from her hands. Because she has quite a bit in the way of superpowers herself, it turns out. Ultimately she fled Freleng in a spaceship. Optimatus was “accidentally” caught in the thrust as the ship blasted off, explaining his mildly mangled features.

She fled to Acmetropolis. “I thought I left no trace for him to follow. I was wrong. Somehow, my brother found me.” He was the one who tossed the meteor at Acmetropolis that gave everybody their powers, you see. It was her intervention, via some really big rainbow cannons, that prevented an apocalypse and just resulted in the show as we know it.

Let’s think a little about how, by Zadavia’s own admission, she just left Freleng under Optimatus’s absolute rule. No mention of all the other planets in the universe he intended to conquer she left to fend for themselves. No mention either of her intending to gather allies and go back. Zadavia came to Acmetropolis to hide out from her brother and that’s it. The creation of the Loonatics was a nothing but a happy accident. Ain’t Zadavia great?

But here’s what I really don’t get. If Zadavia had such great powers at her disposal, and Optimatus already knew she was there because he tried to destroy the planet with the meteor that empowered everybody…why has she been hiding behind the Loonatics all this time? What did operating at a remove achieve? At least say she was trying to get them ready to take them back to Freleng and overthrow Optimatus with her. I’m sorry, I just don’t get that. I get instead that she was too chicken to do anything but run and hide, and had a convenient excuse to keep doing so when there was a superhero team to do the dirty work for her. Until Optimatus finally decided to stop fooling around and get directly involved, anyway.

Hell, think back to The Comet Cometh, where Wile E. had to build the team a ship so they’d have a way to get to the asteroid that was about to pulp the planet. He mentions that now and the upgrades he’d have to install to get to that volcanic asteroid thing (where Zadavia detected his presence). She tells him no need, they can just go in her ship. And she made Wile E. build a spaceship from scratch when her new home was facing meteoric annihilation for the second time, because of her presence, which she damn well knows was why, because…??

He probably meant it as a joke, but I found it a little gratifying when Bugs looks at the ship and quips, “You been holding out on us.”

On the asteroid Optimatus berates the villains again and has one of his robot troopers take Daffy away. Because there’s no reason to just kill him and have it over with. Other than the writing sucking like I just described…

As the Loonatics speed to the rescue, Wile E. finds a gizmo that looks just like the chip the villains used on the Loonatics computers (which was supposed to do what, again?). Zadavia explains that her planet’s technology is universal and can be used to control any kind of technology. It makes even less sense than the problem it's used to resolve.

Oh, and Bugs, who was already driving, doesn’t ask how the controls actually work until they’re halfway there. *Whimpers*

Remember how I asked why Zadavia made the Loonatics do all the work when she had so much power of her own? Optimatus calls them and sends a taunting message that they’re about to meet their doom, then launches some really stupid-looking attack ships to shoot them down. When the Loonatics start to get overwhelmed Zadavia herself flies out of the ship and blasts the bogeys or throws them into each other with her own powers.

She does get zapped and starts to get dragged away by one ship, but that’s probably because Bugs distracted her by telling her it wasn’t a good time “to go for a stroll.” Taking a page from his beloved leader’s book, Bugs tells the other Loonatics to get out there and save their boss. He does promise to cover them, but he wasn’t handling the weapons very well, and that really was the whole reason Zadavia had to go out there…

The other Loonatics fly out in some stupid-looking jet-equipped spacesuits that were no doubt figure variants for the toy line this show mercifully didn’t rate. They’re able to take out a few ships (but not save Zadavia), but then their ship is shot down with Bugs still inside. They’re all torn up inside at the demise of their leader…for about two seconds before he reveals he got out in time. Lexi hugs him with relief, and maybe that’s supposed to be an indication of a romantic subplot, but…neither of them have personalities and the writers have put no emphasis on their personal lives and I don’t care.

We then cut to Daffy in the hoosegow, and get an idea of just how the show overinflates Bugs’s greatness. See, Daffy escapes by tricking the robot into giving him a glass of water, then throwing it on the robot while it touches the electrified bars, shorting them both out. As hard as it wants me to believe otherwise, this show's version of Bugs simply can't come up with a plan that doesn't culminate in him shooting lasers out of his eyes.

Optimatus has his sister brought in to watch as he destroys Acmetropolis. The villains protest because he promised to let them rule it. Massive’s actually the one to point this out, even though he was the one who thought Optimatus might just be using them. Besides, they failed to live up to their end, ergo their reward is forfeit. The villains ought to be glad Optimatus thought enough of their potential usefulness to let them live at all…except for how they’re villains.

They attack him, but are easily overwhelmed. And Massive calls him a “one-eyed Cyclops.” From that line alone, I can’t imagine how Warner Brothers thought there was a chance to save this show.

Clash of the Third Rate Villains.

Daffy sneaks in and takes his powers back from the unconscious Sypher just before Optimatus gates his former accomplices back to Acmetropolis to await its demise. Daffy gets in Optimatus’s face to stop him from getting doomsday started, and wreaks havoc on the villain’s robot forces with their stupidity and his ability to teleport out of the way when two of them shoot at him from opposite sides. I don’t know if the show’s more down on him than it has any right to be or the villains just suck.

Then again, the robot who brought Daffy his water seriously did have a slice of lemon to go with it when he asked for one. I wept for the fact that I was supposed to see them challenge the heroes, but I will admit to being a bit amused. See? I can even compliment this show when it earns it.

He keeps the stupid robots busy long enough for the rest of the Loonatics to get there, and then Zadavia and Optimatus themselves grapple in a struggle for supremacy that’s about as pulse-pounding as the one between Edward Cullen and Victoria, with all the stupid rainbows flying around.

While this goes on our idiot heroes tries to stop Optimatus’s new plan to destroy Acmetropolis (why does he even care if his hated sister is right there in his lair along with her protégés, surrounded by his army?). This one using a giant wormhole to send Acmetropolis to “some kind of cosmic meat locker.” Because outer space isn’t cold anyway. By the way, Optimatus never said that on-screen. Maybe the script did say that. Maybe it even explained that the chip he gave his flunkies to install in Loonatics HQ was necessary for that part of his plan. But neither made it into the show.

Unfortunately Wile E.’s too unfamiliar with Freleng’s technology to stop it. But then he remembers the chip Zadavia told him about that can be used to run anything, like Optimatus's computer. But the chip's still an example of that planet’s technology, and he presumably still has to program it to make the computer do what he wants, so I fail to see how we’ve moved from our starting point at all.

But it does let him stop the doomsday weapon, and honestly I’d rather they not try to get scientific. My head hurts enough already. The Loonatics keep the robots busy while Wile E. tinkers with the doomsday machine. And remember what I said about Zadavia hiding behind the Loonatics when she has so much personal power? Yeah, she wins the fight with Optimatus.

The “good guys” get away, Optimatus gets sucked into his own wormhole into “some cold, remote part of the universe.” And Optimatus is indeed shivering in front of a pathetic little campfire in the ruins of his command center. Look, Loonatics writers? I already know you guys aren’t very good, but space is cold. By default. There’s no reason for any part of space to be colder than any other if they’re equally distant from stars. And I suck at science. And I'm only bringing it up because they did.

Back on Acmetropolis everyone starts to realize the world isn’t about to end after all, including the villains. They figure the Loonatics probably sacrificed themselves to stop Optimatus and nobody’s left who can stop them from taking over the world. Even though they didn’t trust each other even when they were working for him. What’s to keep them honest now? They are freaking villains.

As usual it doesn’t matter because we know the Loonatics aren’t dead. They appear and rush to battle their lesser foes as things fade to end credits.

And that, my friends, is Loonatics Unleashed season one with the just plain lame episodes omitted. I don’t know about you, but I can sure tell this was a redesign slapped together in a hurry by people trying to develop a concept that was fundamentally unworkable in the first place. When the first version got smacked down hard, it seems they decided to play it as safe as a comic book-type cartoon as humanly possible. No characterization, no world-building, minimal explanations, an absolutely pathetic attempt at an underlying plot, and no effort made at all on the freaking jokes.

I know I’ve said multiple times I don’t usually take behind-the-scenes factors into account when I make my observations in these reviews, and I meant that. But I’d be interested in hearing what executive decisions took place after the change from the original “scary” version to the bland finished product. It doesn’t feel like a superhero show or a Looney Tunes vehicle, and barely feels like the latter even in the second season. It just happens to have more familiar faces than the main characters by then.

If anything, the first season’s many failings probably came from a tight deadline and the desperate push to salvage the show after the much worse original concept was thankfully dropped. But failings are failings no matter their source, and this was one of the lamest excuses for a climax I’ve ever seen. Technically Breaking Dawn's is worse, but after three books of nothing there was no possible way for me to be let down.

Did the show get better after this? Yes. A little. But was it doomed from the start? Yes. A lot.

The DVD set came without much in the way of bonus features, mainly the option to watch all the trailers again, but also a very dumb Dragon’s Lair-style game where you use the direction buttons on your remote to shoot down meteors. If you fail the Loonatics are annihilated in a blast visible from orbit.

I lost a good couple times before I got bored, let me tell you, buddy.

1 comment:

  1. I aways thought this show was worthless... I didn't think that it was THIS damn terrible. Then again, I give this show some leeway simply because it had NO potential whatsoever in premise.