Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed - It Came From Outer Space (Snark)

Wile E.’s hard at work in his lab, and fails to notice a large rush of air indicating Roadrunner sneaking by him at high speed. I’d say he’s absorbed in his work, but this is the same super genius who had to scientifically determine that some guys he saw teleport had teleported.

Roadrunner uses a science thingy to make a single birdseed big enough for a sandwich, and is caught by an indignant Wile E. He has some other nerd stuff to do somewhere else, though, and despite Roadrunner just sneaking in to exploit his inventions, Wile E.’s satisfied with a promise that Roadrunner won’t do it anymore.

Not only does Roadrunner start messing with Wile E.’s stuff as soon as he’s gone, Lexi comes in and starts messing with it too as soon as they find something that looks like a video game. Hey Lexi, how’d you like it if Wile E. borrowed your surfboard without asking? Of course since this is a TV show, it’s an incredibly simplistic spaceship shooting game. Lexi even tries for the high score.

They make a little too much noise shooting at electronic asteroids and spaceships, causing Wile E. to run back in and tell them that’s not a game, it’s the controls for a very real weapon system. The spaceship they were shooting at was very real, and belongs to a now very pissed off Marvin the Martian. Or, Melvin. Probably the laziest reinvention on the show, but then, how do you change Marvin to be more suitable for an action show except by giving him bigger guns? Which he immediately aims at Acmetropolis.

After theme song Marvin’s on the Loonatics’ TV, demanding their complete and total surrender for blowing up his starbase or he’ll blow up their stupid city. I mean planet.

Daffy derides Marvin’s threat, daring him to blow up the moon if he’s so tough. Which Marvin does. Which would seem to be a hugely bad thing, but of course goes unmentioned forever.

Undaunted, Daffy dares him to blow up some distant stars and after another salvo the sky is completely dark. Of course that’s not even close to how starlight works, but I’m tempted to overlook that one. Partly because I’m watching a show about cartoon animals (if not cartoon universe physics), but also because, holy crap, it’s our first credible villain of the season. How’d one of those get in here?

And for all the bashing I do to the other Loonatics, I’m not going to ignore that Daffy was a complete idiot here and a catastrophe of galactic proportions has just taken place because he shot his mouth off at the villain. Who knows how many millions of lives, thousands of years of civilization, were just wiped out in an instant? This time, I admit I see him as the show wants me to see him. Dude, what the HELL????

Then again, this is the exceptionally toothless breed of American action cartoon. There was probably nothing there to destroy. The show certainly doesn’t act like anything happened except the night sky’s slightly less pleasant to behold. All anybody says about this, now or ever, is Bugs going, “Let’s not get carried away, Duck. Leave something that twinkles up there.”

“Maybe I should do the talking?” Lexi interrupts. “I mean, I am the one who caused this.” Yeah, you really are, aren’t you? Sure Roadrunner started playing around with the doohickeys first, but who’s dumber, the fool or the fool who follows? Seriously, these guys who are happy to ignore (apparently repeated) warnings from the super-genius that his inventions aren’t toys are supposed to be the planet’s first line of defense.

But let’s not withhold blame; this same super-genius doesn’t think his teammates need anything more than a stern warning to stop playing with this stuff. How inventing a really good lock or two?

She brings up how she thought she was playing a game, and Marvin remarks he’s something of a gamer himself but being a member of the feared Martian race, finds it hard to find anyone willing to play against him. So he’ll spare Acmetropolis if she’ll come aboard his ship and be his opponent from now on.

Bugs reacts badly to this, saying nobody’s taking Lexi anywhere, but Daffy cuts him off and urges him to reconsider. I get it, Daffy’s supposed to come off as a craven little coward thinking only about his own skin.

He’s still right.

Superheroes are supposed to be loyal to their teammates, but they’re also supposed to be self-sacrificing and own up to their mistakes. Frankly, playing checkers with an alien as recompense for blowing up all his stuff is getting off easy. Especially if the alternative is Marvin shrinking the entire planet and hanging it from his dining room ceiling, which it is. He gives them 24 hours to reach a decision.

Bugs tries to get a solution out of Wile E., who thanks to his Plot Convenience Sensors answers that Martian technology is far beyond even him, and Marvin’s ship produces energy something on the magnitude of a trillion times the power of all Acmetropolis put together. The best they can hope for is to hold Marvin at bay for a while. Nonetheless, Bugs is so determined to ignore good sense he declares, “Well, we got no choice. If Tiny wants a war, we’ll give him a war.”

It's like Wile E. knows this is a bad idea but knows what'll happen to him for contradicting Bugs...

That's it. They don't get with Zadavia to try to find some other way out of this, or even try to call Marvin back and try to parley, admit they did a bad thing to him and try to work things out without giving up their friend or their planet. Just, "he wants our friend, he's going to have to fight for her. Even though it, is in fact, all her fault he's threatening to destroy our civilization. And all the innocent people of Acmetropolis will pay the price for our folly if we can't beat him." These guys? Superheroes?? I don't think so.
How many times have you heard a hero say “Let these people go! Take me instead!” What a bunch of maroons, huh? Even though Wile E. just said a fight’s a foregone conclusion, Bugs is seriously saying, “To hell with the world! The Loonatics look out for number one!”

If Daffy had launched the missiles, none of the Loonatics would be letting him forget it.

Especially Lexi…

But Lexi actually agrees with Daffy. This is her fault, she should own up to it and accept the consequences. She says she feels like Helen of Troy, and then goes on to explain how her incomparable beauty caused a massive war. Well, technically it was Eris, goddess of fucking with people, and Paris’s hormones when offered power, wisdom or the love of the world’s most beautiful woman…and way to torpedo your sympathy for this gesture with that comparison.

Comically Roadrunner tries to shoulder the blame for poking around Wile E.’s stuff, and Wile E. tries to shoulder the blame for inventing the weapon. How about shouldering the blame for just not locking the door?

Marvin’s deadline runs out and he sends a bunch of robo-thingies that start shrinking buildings and military units that try to stop them. Wile E. raises a planetary force field, but it’s only a temporary solution because as he said, Marvin has way more power than them and can easily outlast them.

Wile E. trots out his molecular reconstructor, which you might remember from “The Family Business,” except now it’s way bigger and eats up way more power, so while it could theoretically restore the shrunken stuff, actually using it for that purpose could prove problematic. And he’s not concerning himself with stopping Marvin’s forces first before coming up with a reversal process because shut the hell up. Bugs continues to remain defiant that Marvin’s not getting one over on them.

And what's THAT? Why don't they turn around and shrink the buildings behind them?

Everyone falls asleep around the meeting table and wakes up to the Martian forces pulling out. Bugs can’t comprehend why they would until the Loonatics find a message from Lexi that she’s taking Marvin up on his offer.

“Why would she do that?!” Ace demands. Maybe because she’s facing up to her mistake and it’s the only way to save the planet what with how all of your guys’ job are superheroes, ya long-eared lunkhead. In the last Loonatics article I speculated that the real reason they’re seen as heroes is the public doesn’t find out the details of how they actually defeated the villains and learns it’s mainly a contest of who’s more incompetent. Something tells me a highly sanitized account of this one’s going to be what makes the papers too.

Lexi left a P.S. that Daffy was right when he said it’s better for one person to sacrifice themselves than for everyone to suffer. And I swear I’m not kidding, the rest of the Loonatics are mad as all hell at him for putting that idea in Lexi’s head. FUCK YOU GUYS!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, SHOW??!

Look, superheroes are supposed to stand by their teammates. Yeah, great, good for them. But first and foremost they're supposed to look out for ordinary people who can't defend themselves from supervillains and alien warlords. Lexi is doing that by offering herself up so Marvin won't destroy the planet, and the other Loonatics are wiping their asses with that by insisting on battling it out with a far superior foe, the hell with all the regular people, when it's Lexi's fault Marvin is threatening all those people to begin with.

But no, they have to go get Lexi back, even though this was her decision, and it’s before they’ve seen any evidence that Marvin has no intention of living up to his side of the bargain (Because I won't let you forget, the Loonatics started this, and they're the ones who never tried to be diplomatic or make a deal with the guy. Just met his threat with a threat of their own). In fact if Marvin realizes what they’re up to, and he probably will when he finds out Lexi’s gone, all this is going to do is antagonize him and make him do something even worse. Good one, Bugs. You know, if he’s supposed to be willing to do something this ill-advised because he and Lexi are interested in each other, as is kinda-sorta implied a few times, maybe they should’ve done more than kinda-sorta imply that before

Remember Lexi’s stupid and vainglorious comparison of herself to Helen of Troy? The Loonatics latch onto that and build a big robot horse and hide inside to sneak into Marvin’s impenetrable battleship. And this probably only works because his stupid robot dog’s the only one around when they try it.

Although it’s kind of satisfying with how the horse doesn’t fit through the hangar doors and they get bashed around before it gets turned sideways. Meanwhile Lexi’s playing Marvin at some kind of giant version of checkers. They don’t bother to explain how the game works, but they do explain that Marvin’s a cheater.

While the Loonatics search the ship it turns out the shrink-bots have returned, and the captured pieces in Marvin’s game determine what parts of Acmetropolis get shrunk. This lets Bugs tell Wile E. where to project the force field to keep more buildings from shrinking, although it doesn’t actually get rid of the shrink-bots so he’s not accomplishing anything besides cutting down on how much cleanup they’ll have to do later.

To address the morality of the Loonatics’ actions in this episode, it’s okay for an honorable character to ignore a deal when he knows his less-than-honorable opponent is ignoring it too. Now it’s okay for them to go on the offensive since they know Marvin’s a lying POS, but oh no, they had to put all Acmetropolis at hopeless risk just to have Lexi around when the planet became a ceiling decoration before.

Then again, Bugs really isn’t that honorable, is he?

Roadrunner finds Marvin’s mondo-super power generator thingy, which is on the bridge of the ship for easy access by meddling heroes, and teleports it to Loonatics HQ. With Marvin’s power source taken care of the Loonatics plot their escape, only to find out the thrusters on their horse-ship got smashed when they were being reeled in. Oh no, they’re trapped! Wait, no they aren’t because there are plenty of ships there they can steal to make their getaway and always were! Holy shit, that mattered!

Marvin sees the Loonatics on the security cam, realizes he’s been trick and puts the ship on red alert. “Something tells me that’s not the welcoming party,” Bugs hilariously observes. He orders his magic sword into defend configuration, which is somehow accomplished by projecting parts of the blade outward and covers his friends by deflecting lasers with it while they run.

And this scene’s really annoying to watch because the entire screen goes red every time a laser fires, and lasers fire A LOT. It’s like the most aggravating dance club lightshow ever.

These are...

...seriously not...

...all the same screencap.

Marvin still has functional security systems after the Loonatics stole his power thingy?

Marvin shows up then and they decide the episode really needs some of the old-style humor. Because you can go right from a scene about fighting off laser turrets to a semi-lengthy humorous dialogue exchange without any bumps. Not that this show’s any proof.

Marvin says intruders make him so angry. Bugs asks, “What’s up, doc?” Marvin tries to force Bugs to take an Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator. Yes, Marvin really tries to force Bugs to take something he knows is going to explode. The reason Bugs took it in the old cartoons was because Marvin was going to blow up Earth if Bugs didn't take it. Bugs refuses, Marvin tries, Bugs refuses, Marvin tries, Bugs pulls the old switcheroo and agrees to takes it, Marvin takes it back, and Bugs lets him have it. Literally.

And I really can't find this funny because once again, this whole mess is the Loonatics' own fault.

The Loonatics get away and with Marvin’s stolen power core Wile E.’s able to restore all the shrunken buildings. Which is still just curing the symptoms, because Marvin’s still there and now he’s even angrier, firing on Acmetropolis with a salvo of missiles. Lexi uses the game/weapon controller thingy to shoot down the missiles and then Marvin’s ship itself which suddenly isn’t so unassailable after all. Could they have been a little more clear about this, please? Like it had a really good force field that doesn't work now because the Loonatics stole the main power system (Evidently not the only one)?

He flies away in a little space chariot before it blows up. Guess we aren’t meant to think about all the other shrunken planets we saw in Marvin’s collection before, but after the rest of this episode that doesn’t surprise me a bit.


The Loonatics cheer Lexi’s mad Asteroids skillz, but considering the episode wouldn’t have happened in the first place without those, it smacks of covering a hole with a poster.

Our anemic end-of-show humor comes from Roadrunner promising never to play with Wile E.’s inventions again, and then immediately seeing a button he can’t resist pushing. One Wile E. put there specifically for that purpose, as it drops a cage on the fast-talking hooligan. As Marvin flies away to plot anew, he comments on the blackness of space and wishes he’d spared some stars to see by. Those wacky space invaders!

I understand this wasn’t the best of reviews. I only had one big complaint, but seriously, this episode wants me to think the Loonatics are the victims, when all they do is turn everyone under their protection into a victim. I don't care if it was an accident or not, initiating a god damned missile strike is not something that just gets you a slap on the wrist. Period.

Can't help but notice how conspicuous Zadavia is with her absence during a full-scale invasion of the planet, too. Would've really liked to hear her take on Bugs's alien relation policies.

In a way having only one major complaint against an episode is kind of a mark of distinction in and of itself considering what show this is. On the other hand, the first truly dangerous-seeming villain of the series is Marvin the Martian, and he only seems that way because of all the ordinance he’s packing. Furthermore, it’s all downhill from here, since there’s only one episode to go before the three-part season finale. And who’s the only A-list Looney Tunes character we haven’t seen?

Yup, that's right...

1 comment:

  1. "A-list Looney Tunes character we haven’t seen?"

    Speedy Gonzales?