Friday, June 6, 2014

My Crazy Youth: That Time Batman Beyond Fought Dinosaur Cult Terrorists!

I've teased this one in the past, but never followed through.  That ends now.

Batman: Beyond was a really neat show that did well in spite of the challenges.  One- follow Batman: The Animated Series.  Two- replace Bruce (as the lead) with a teenager.  Three- turn the show more Sci-Fi, but don't lose the audience.  For the most part, it succeeded in all three ways.  The show got three Seasons and was used as an attempted springboard for another show (The Zeta Project).  New lead Terry McGinnis was a strong, fleshed out character that stands on his own today.  In fact, he's part of the big crossover event in DC's New 52 right now- 'Future's End'- so that says something.  The Sci-Fi part is a bit trickier as most of the better Episodes felt like proper updates to the Mythos.  They featured new villains like Inque or made use of older ones in neat ways like Starro.  The Sci-Fi element really comes into play in this Episode, the 2nd part of a 2-Parter.  Why do the 2nd part and not the first?  Well, like the Writers say in Commentary 'I'm glad I only worked on Part 1.'  Commentary is a neat tool for finding out how people really feel sometimes.  The first one sets up a character- Zander-, then shows him to be evil- leading the villainous Kobra- and shows him interacting with our lead.  It is in Part 2- now featuring a second Writer for the Teleplay- that things get...well, weird.  When you see Kobra's plan, it is a bit...well, weird.  Let's take a look together, shall we?
In the Recap, we see Zander training with Terry, as Bruce insisted that he do.  This guy is...well, he's obviously not evil-looking at all.
Of course, he's the heir apparent to Kobra, which is half-Cult/half-Terrorist Group.

Feel free to make the Serpentor comparisons- you know that they're valid.
At the end of Part 1, he captured Terry's friend since she is tough and spirited.  She's now in their base in her proper Temple of Doom attire.  While trying to flee, she discovers right when this Episode jumps the shark...
They made Dinosaur Men.  Just...just think about that.

Oh and add The Super Mario Bros Movie to the mix of things that seemed to have inspired this Episode.  Yea?
Terry sneaks in and he's followed by a Ninja.  If you saw Part 1 and don't get that this is the lady who trained them, then you should find everything in the world to be surprising.
Zander explains his *interesting* plan to our lady.  The plan: drop a bomb in a nearby Volcano (to Gotham?!?) to super-charge Climate Change and cook the Planet.

The people that will survive: his Dinosaur Men, of course.  Oh and her...if she chooses to be with him.  Romantic, right?
Terry and the Ninja (coming this fall to NBC) spring into action as the villains near the Volcano.  How far away was it?  They only flew- in their base, mind you- a few minutes at most that we could see.
Zander's face-off with Terry and company is rendered void of all drama when he turns himself into *sigh* a gray Dinosaur Man.  The silly-to-dramatic ratio is just way off here.
The bomb is stopped, but, naturally, the ship starts to go into self-destruct mode.  Terry and his lady flee while the Ninja lady stays behind with Zander Rex got nothing.

Even so, your 'valiant' sacrifice is still a bit silly when you consider the last 22 minutes.  The End.
It is not the weirdest one featured, but that is part of the problem.  The show, as a whole, is grounded in a certain level of reality.  It is set in the Future, so there are allowances for advanced tech, flying ships and, yes, gene splicing.  There is an early Episode about people doing basic gene splicing.  So, the idea, is not bad in theory.  However, when you have started turning people into Dinosaur Men, you have crossed an invisible line of logic.  It is just silly.  I watched this one originally awhile back on Disc, which is how I got the Commentary Track.  It is funny to hear the guys joke about how good Part 1 is and how silly Part 2 got.  It is not done with disrespect, mind you, as these guys worked together for years.  Batman: Beyond is a much saner and well-made show than this Episode would lead you to believe.  It only got more interesting with the Retcons done in Justice League: Unlimited.  I should really find a goofy Episode of that show to even things out.  Only time will tell (but it won't be next).
Next up, Thundarr does something silly even by its own standards.  It involves robots, a Wizard and...The Alamo?  Stay tuned...

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