Review: Thundercats 2011 (Non-Spoiler)
Combining myth, might and magic, Cartoon Network's new Thundercats series raises the bar for revamping old 80's cartoons.
Fans of old will happily embrace this new version of their old friends, as a new lion ascends to the throne.
Newly devoted followers to Thundera will be created as they lay witness to what has just been set loose.
While the new Thundercats is composed of many different and recognizable themes present in the fantasy genre, by the very nature of the show, you can't help but continue to watch. The animation is superb; gone is the colorful "super hero" feel from the original, in its place is a darker grittier version lending itself more akin to Lord Of The Rings or even Avatar: The Last Airbender. The premiere episode is certainly more mature, as the many battles, explosions and deaths offer up something lacking in animation from a majority of the childhoods of veteran TV-goers. The music score easily exceeds any expectations, as it further exemplifies the sheer epic nature the show exudes.
The plot, admittedly familiar and predictable, is a fresh enough take to keep you on the edge of your seat and hold your interest, as the new creators do include enough surprises, and generally overall wonderment. It is in keeping with the Thundercats mythos where the amazement lies. The show incorporates just enough of the original to more than peak curiosity, which original fans will certainly enjoy, yet at the same time offers something new.
The voice actors cast for the iconic roles only add to the glorious return that is the Thundercats.
The Legendary Larry Kenney is back to voice King Claudus, father to Lion-O. Kenney, of course recognizable for the Lion-O of old, brings something no other actor could have: a sense of legacy, a passing of the guard, a bold and powerful presence like no other.
Will Friedle (Blue Beetle from Batman: Brave and the Bold and more) is the perfect choice to articulate a young prince Lion-O; a prince who is caught up with the problems a youthful spirit brings, while not only yearning for a father's approval, but also the duties that come with being a member of the royal house.
The voice of Grune The Destroyer is instantly recognizable as Clancy Brown, whose talent has been used in not only many animated series, but live movies, as well. Clancy brings with him that deep and shrewd voice -- ever encompassing that demands attention.
Matthew Mercer, a voice actor known in the gaming community, is the perfect fit for Tygra, bringing an arrogant yet ever faithful nature to the invisible tiger.
The lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui lends her voice to Cheetara, giving her both a flirtatious and sexy aspect, while at the same time emitting a most dangerous presence.
Corey Burton offers up his talents as the "grandfather" to all Thundercats, Jaga, with a similar sound to the late Earl Hammond who voiced the original. In the case of Mumm-Ra, Robin Atkin Downes gives similar credibility to the character Hammond also made famous.
Fans of Cartoon Network's Regular Show will be able to pick out Wily Kat, played by Eamon Pirruccello, with Kit played by Madeleine Hall; both offer that innocent and mischievous characteristic that comes with being the two youngest members of the Thundercats.
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show, Lilo and Stitch) portrays, arguably the most beloved of all the Thundercats, Panthro, and brings with him that stern authoritative familiar sound, but with that - also something new.
Slithe is that same evil sounding slithery reptile that fans are used to, this time by Dee Bradley Baker, who is well known for Perry The Platypus in Phineas and Ferb.
Thundercats succeeds in that it transcends numerous genres; Arthurian elements are at play, Greek myths, Japanese and American animation. Fans of notable brands such as Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, and even Gundam will find Thundercats appealing. Likewise, a viewer just looking for an overall good story and look, will come off feeling entertained and satisfied.
Thundercats airs Fridays at 8:30pm ET on the Cartoon Network.