If you were fortunate enough to have been a child for a part of the 1980s, you might remember a gem of a cartoon called Thundercats. (There was a 2011 remake of the cartoon with the same name, but we won't address that in this blog entry). Today we're going to be totally 80s, and talk about what is wrong, and oh so right with Thundercats!
My memory of the cartoon is a little fuzzy, so I wanted to watch one of the beginning episodes. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the first episode. Instead what I found (thanks to YouTube!) was the 1985 Thundercats movie, Thundercats, HO!, which is really more of a mini-series as it was composed of five separate episodes meant be watched on five separate occasions. This means, there was a ton of pointless fights, times where Lion-O ran off alone, got in trouble, was rescued, lather, rinse, repeat, and it happened all over again. The prisoners Lynx-O, Pumyra, and Bengali escaped their captors on three separate occasions, only to be captured again. The plot didn't actually pick up until the last 20 minutes, or what would have been the last episode in the mini-series.
I don't want to talk too much about the absurdity of the plot (the all-powerful and immortal Mumm-Ra sends his goons to do his bidding, but they are always defeated by the Thundercats. If he is so powerful, why does he have to rely on incompetents to do his bidding?) the bad acting, or the sometimes bad animation. I want to talk about the magic of the 1980s that Thundercats embodies.
In the world of the Thundercats, it's perfectly fine to be half-animal, half human. It's even better if you're half cat. It's even better if your name comes from the animal you're supposed to be (Lion-O, Cheetara, Lynx-O). It's even better if you wear leotards. It's even better if you have the technology to go to outer space, but no cell phone. It's even better if you can talk to dead people.
Today for once, I won't talk about plot holes, or political incorrectness. I just want to talk about the freedom to be absurd. The freedom to make up a crazy story, and believe in the plausability of the story, and just have fun with it. There were a couple of times in the story where I felt that if my seven year old daughter had the chance to write for Thundercats, she would absolutely make the same choices. That's how imaginative it was. Pure, creative, craziness, where everyone is invited to join in and lose themselves in this world. Everyone is invited, everyone is welcome--especially cats in leotards!
Parents please be aware, this cartoon is not for small children due to violent images.
The lovely Thundercats picture was taken from this site.