First Impressions… ThunderCats My Reviews 21 OCT 2011

For generations, the Thunderans have lived and thrived in the kingdom of Thundera, with the cat bloodline being the only race strong enough to ensure the fragile peace between the various species that inhabit the land. However, the legendary Book of Omens warns of the return of the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra, and as such King Claudus together with his powerful Sword of Omens stands always at the ready.

However, an unforeseen treachery is about to change everything, particularly for the young and impulsive prince, Lion-O, who will soon find himself banding together with his adopted brother Tygra and the cleric Cheetara as they are thrust into a now unfamiliar world on a mission where they can’t rely on anyone and have to face off against what is now a fearsome Lizard nation, led by an evil incarnate, and supported by weaponry the likes which have never been seen before!

Now this is how an action-orientated kids show ought to be, no question about it. Having no real nostalgia of the original 80’s ThunderCats series to fall back on other than one or two of the toys I used to own back when I was a kid, and an image in my mind of the main character peering through the sword’s upwards curling hilt decorations, means that I wasn’t too taken up when the big Internet hype machine started up after it was first announced that they were producing an updated remake of what apparently was a pretty popular 80’s Saturday morning cartoon.

However, having now seen the first couple of episodes of the series, I am most definitely a converted fan. The writers have taken what is to be honest a fairly silly setup to work with and scripted a fantastically engaging fantasy world and storyline that does everything it needs to do in order to entertain both kids and adults (when I say adults, I mean adults like me).

Strong, likable characters, well defined villains and a clear series goal, in what seems to be a well thought out storyline which is so far certainly as thrilling and entertaining as what you could possibly hope for from an action adventure tale – and if that wasn’t enough, it even throws in enough throwaway and slapstick humour just to make sure the kids remain interested as well, without detracting from the show as a whole!

And have I mentioned the animation yet? Unlike recent big offerings like Wolverine and the X-Men and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes which could have been ten times more enjoyable if they featured better, more polished art, ThunderCats weighs in featuring absolutely gorgeous anime-styled art with very fluid animation, courtesy of the well known Japanese production house, Studio 4°C. The end result looks amazing and combined with the great voice actor selection that brings everything to life, you are left with a fantastically polished kids animated series, that is certainly deserving of some praise.

So as a first impression summary, ThunderCats has certainly impressed with the first couple of episodes and by the looks of it, Cartoon Network has yet another hit on their television network hands! (In other words, they’ve got me hooked, yet again.)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.