I used to occasionally watch “ThunderCats” back in the 80’s when I was a kid. I know it wasn’t exactly action-packed with an intricate storyline as I would wish it to be, but it had its good episodes and it was good for its time. The animation was good, and the soundtrack was just fitting to its premise. When I heard that Warner bros. television was rebooting the 80’s animated series for 2011, I was very curious and most of my curiosity stems from the fact that the animation is being done by Japan’s Studio 4°C. This reboot promises new life to the 80’s characters as it introduces new twists and turns to the world of Third Earth and the Kingdom of Thundera. Premiering in a 60 minute pilot movie on Cartoon Network, my curiosity has been rewarded…
The citizens of Third Earth is being protected and ruled by the kingdom of Thundera with Claudius (voiced by Larry Kenney who used to voice Lion-O in the original series) as its king. Brothers Lion-O (Will Friedle) and Tygra (Matthew Mercer) are very close, and with Jaga (Corey Burton) advising them, the two manage to stand by each other even through their rivalries. But when Third Earth is attacked anew by the Lizard army and Thundera betrayed, the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra (Robin Atkin Downes) once again risen to power, Lion-O is forced to flee with Cheetara (Emmanuel Chiriqui) and Tygra to recover the book of Omens that may lead them to victory…
My expectations for this pilot movie is extra low, as a debut in Cartoon Network usually means a series meant for kids and young adults. However, I did like the “Masters of the Universe” reboot and Cartoon Network was the home for the impressive Justice League animated series, so I was pleased to see that “ThunderCats” actually had ambition to improve on its established premise in the 80’s. The writing in the pilot took time to develop the mutant world of Thundera and to allow the viewer to really get into the depths of our characters.
I liked the way the script made Lion-O and Tygra brothers, this made their relationship much more stronger than in the TV series. Tygra is seen as the more smarter of the two when it came to skill and battle savvy, while Lion-O is the kind who looks for the best in anyone. Some may see him as a cock-eyed optimist, and this may be why he has been chosen to be the new heir to the kingdom. Jaga is the Yoda-like presence who leads the clerics; a group of speedsters with incredible skill in battle. Cheetara is sexier than ever and looks more warrior-like. Mumm-Ra is arguably more creepy than in the original series, the lizards led by Slythe (Dee Bradley Baker) looked considerably the same to their original incarnations. For a TV pilot, it takes a lot of time introducing characters as with Wily Kit and Wily Kat, thieves in the market places of Thundera. It also presents several welcome changes and surprises to the now-classic characters created by Tobin Wolf. (yeah, Snarff is still here)
What I also liked was the attempt of the writing to establish differences between the reptiles and the cats. The Cats rely more on magic, tradition and mysticism with the use of some medieval weapons, while the reptiles seemed to have adapted the use of science and technology. It was wise to inject a certain parallelism as well as differences to the way the two races go about their existences. One may say that despite the use of science, the reptiles have the hand of evil sorcery behind its power and gives the idea that magic is a science merely misunderstood, and the way to victory may well be to understand your enemy. I also liked the added developments given the sword of omens, it makes that mystical sword much more interesting than merely something that calls everyone to battle.
The animation is very nice and fluid; it carries strong influences of anime around it. The battles serves up enough PG violence as it could muster and I was happy to see that even for a Cartoon Network feature, it wasn’t afraid to go a little dark. Deaths and betrayal are rich in the world of Third Earth; I rather thought that it gave the premiere a little of the adult mood and tone. The pilot also has several invaluable moral messages to the young, as it sets a tone for understanding, to be open to new ideas and the commitment to peace.
“ThunderCats” may not be a perfect premiere movie and it is too soon to tell if the entirety of the series will be a success; but this pilot movie was enough to make me interested for the next episodes. I really am uncertain if I’ll follow the series, but I am sure that I’ll probably watch it when I am relaxing and there’s nothing else on. The new reboot had enough action and potential depths to its story, and I am interested as to how it will all turn out.
This show has promise and will hopefully be renewed. Instead of the world bending for the plot in this version, the plot has to fit into a world which the characters were then created and placed into. There's a lot more intricacy, character building, and theme complexity in this version of Thundercats. It will pay off for those who are patient. The kids who watched the original Thundercats are grown up now, and thankfully, so is Thundercats.
I was lukewarm with the idea of another reboot of an 80’s cartoon series, but I did enjoy the “Masters of the Universe” reboot and Cartoon Network did do quite well with “Ben 10”, "Teen Titans" and “Young Justice”, so I decided to take a peep at it. This new ThunderCats reboot seemed more ambitious in developing complexities than the original series. I liked the way the TV pilot introduced … more
ThunderCats is an American animated television series executive produced by Sam Register, and produced by Ethan Spaulding and Michael Jelenic based on the original characters created in 1985 by Tobin "Ted" Wolf. It is produced by Warner Bros. Animation with animation provided by Japanese animation studio Studio 4°C. The series is a reboot of the 1985 television series of the adventures of a group of cat-like humanoid aliens living on the planet Third Earth, and Lion-O's ascension to the Thunderian throne. The new series began with an hour long premiere on Cartoon Network on July 29, 2011.