Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rare Superhero Flix: Power Pack (TV Pilot)

I've found more obscure Comic Book Characters to talk about than Tank Girl.  Sadly, Lori Petty is not in this thing.  What is this thing?  It is Power Pack, the 1991 TV Pilot that went unsold.  Show of hands- who remembers Power Pack?  The Comic has a strong, but small fan-base.  The short version: they are young children (8 to 14 years old) with super powers.  Most notably, one of them is Franklin Richards, the son of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman.  Depending on when the Comics are written, he is either vastly-powerful (some mental powers) or has no powers at all.  He's not in this.  I don't know why I brought that up, honestly.  I guess I just like to waste your time- kind of like this.  Anyhow, someone thought that this could be a show, which is why we are here today.  Thanks to YouTube, I can watch someone's VHS Copy of this obscure Superhero Pilot.  The Pilot doesn't tell us the whole Story, since I guess they were going to give us actual explanations for things in the main show.  Yeah, good call.  To find out what you may or may not have missed since this didn't become the next Blade: The Series, read on...
The film begins...IN SPA-ACE!  A nameless voice says that he gave his powers to some kids (not shown), but hopes that he/she/it didn't make a mistake.

In lieu of showing us anything related to this all-powerful being, they give us an overview of the kid's powers.  They include super-speed (with rainbow trail)...
The ability to shrink (which is used to retrieve a retainer down a drain), telekinesis (which is too boring to show) and...
Whatever the hell this is.  Something to do with making a ball of energy or starting fires with your mind.

Seriously, doesn't she look like Drew Barrymore in Firestarter?
With a third of the run-time gone now, let's get to what little plot this 27-minute Pilot has.  One of the boys goes to a 'Haunted House' with some of his new classmates.

Wait- this is The Magic Christmas Tree!
The trio find an amulet-like thing and take it.  Later the same day (I think), it starts to glow.  This leads to...
Zordon on a rampage!  Rangers- shit is getting real!!!
It wouldn't be a superhero Film/Pilot without a Dutch Angle.  That is all.
The Film builds up dramatically to...three of the kids putting the amulet back on the painting.  Why the unexplained ghost is trying to stop them from doing EXACTLY WHAT IT WANTS is anyone's guess.

The Pilot ends with the kids playing and the parents none the wiser about how they're super-powered kids nearly died.  The End.
That was...understandably not picked up.  The whole idea is underdeveloped and could really have used another Script Treatment.  Who is the cosmic being?  What is his purpose?  When did he meet this kid?  Why aren't we shown this?  Who is the Ghost?  Why is he so upset?  Why was Orson Welles so upset?  Anyhow, this feels like a lost opportunity.  Kids with super-powers- interesting.  Kids with superpowers battling an evil ghost- even more interesting.  The Pilot- not at all interesting.  I can accept that they changed things- like removing Franklin Richards and making the kids all related-, but they did make some mistakes.  One of the big things in the Comics is that they kids hide their powers from their Parents.  In this film, they just already know.  Oh, that might have been interesting!  In summary, this is interesting as a bit of TV curiosity, but that's about it.  If you liked the Comics, there is very little appeal.  It is not as goofy or fun as other failed Marvel Pilots- two of which I gave out for Project Terrible- like Generation X or The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.  It is rare and weird, but that's it.  Fun Fact: The Director is apparently the same guy who played Colossus/Juggernaut on X-Men: The Animated Series and looks kind of like this...
Up next, I begin Project Terrible with a classic bit of 80s trash.  If you can't get E.T., you can at least get Ronald McDonald.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. This is definitely something I can see someone wanting to have a try at making. Four superhero kids with fun powers could make a for a fun kids show and all kinds of "even kids can make a difference" life lesson stuff. That said...this sounds like a kind of awful version of the comic and at the time at least probably would have been better to do as an animated show. Nowadays maybe effects and budgets could handle it live-action, but in the 90s, before the "holy crap, Marvel makes awesome movies, let's throw money at them" days, this just wasn't likely to work. Power Pack could be something Marvel could try to toss out as a kids' show today, though. Now that they know what the heck they're doing, it might work.

    But really? A ghost? Huh. Not what I would have picked. Maybe do something at least remotely related to aliens, given that's where the kids' powers come from (and that a fight with aliens who kidnapped their parents is the first plot of the comics, I think). Shouldn't the pilot episode have at least some bearing on the main plot your show will have, if any? I mean, I recognize that some pilots don't end up being used as the actual first episode, but a random ghost just seems kind of out there.

    Thank you for not giving this to me. I don't know if Generation X is going to be much better, but...thank you for not giving this to me. O_O