There’s something addicting about Matthew Hughes’ “The Damned Busters”, the first book in his ‘To Hell and Back‘ series featuring insurance actuary Chesney Arnstruther. After accidentally summoning a demon and causing the legions in Hell to go on strike, Chesney strikes a strange deal with the Devil and becomes novice superhero the Actionary. Well, at least for two hours every day with the help of the rum-guzzling demon Xaphan, a weasel-faced demon who’s watched one too many Cagney movies.
There’s something addicting about this book… even while there’s something not good about it.
I realize how that sounds, but I don’t know any other way to say it. I’ve been struggling with this feeling the entire book. The story is decent and clever, with a humorous style that channels Douglas Adams without truly capturing the absurdity that perfectly captured the essence life itself that Adams seemed to effortlessly put down upon the page throughout the Hitchhiker’s Guide series.
Perhaps just as Chesney is lost within the world of his comic book idol, Malc Turner aka The Driver, his adventures as the Actionary and the events of the book from the moment he summons a demon on, are intended to emulate that comic book atmosphere with characters that are almost bland in their cartoonish, stereotype roles.
When he smashed his finger with the hammer, did drawing blood cause him to summon a demon, or pass out and dream all of this? Chesney does seem like someone who might faint at the sight of blood.
Good thing “The Damned Busters” is just addictive enough and ends on a cliffhanger that I can’t help but be interested in the second of the trilogy, “Costume Not Included”.
We all knew this was going to happen.
In an age where everyone is obsessed with being green and pretending to give a shit about recycling and saving the environment, a Captain Planet movie was inevitable.
This day was coming and yet, on some level deep down where I wasn’t drunk, I was still shocked.
So on one hand you have a superhero that materializes when five friends join powers to fight pollution and junk. There’s environmentalism and teamwork, look at that. That’s a great concept.
On the other hand you have a guy in knee high boots and what is essentially a bikini, with a green mullet.
Is this movie really necessary? We already have An Inconvenient Truth, it won a couple Oscars so obviously some people watched it.
I think we got the message—we need to save the environment. There are at least four electric cars out now, clearly we learned our lesson about the whole saving MotherEarth thing.
Do we need another movie kicking it down our throats?
It’s tough taking a TV show and turning it into a theatrical film. For one, most animated shows from the eighties and nineties that film producers are mining like they’re at freakin Sutter’s Mill don’t always translate so well. You’re taking dozens of episodes and condensing it down to two hours of coherent thought, something most cartoons are entirely incapable of.
Making a Batman movie at least has the advantage that he has his core villains, the real heavy hitters; Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, maybe the Riddler. He had decades of comic book material to work off of before an animated show popped up. When it comes to your average cartoon series, you don’t have that to fall back on. You just have balls-ass-crazy plots and villains that have been slapped together using a Mad-Libs formula and a six-foot bong.
Where are the big-screen adaptations of Jin Jin and the Panda Patrol? Dog City? That’s one I want to see, but with that dark, gritty Batman Begins kind of feel. How about Double Dragon? That game was awesome they could totally make a badass movie out of—oh… right, never mind that one.
Listen to this, he “was released from his egg by a group of interracial California teens… The kids taught Denver the finer points of skateboarding and other pastimes while protecting him from concert promoter Morton Fizzback who wanted to use the dinosaur to make money.”
What is not to love about that? That description has everything; skateboarding, dinosaurs, evil concert promoters! And in the sequel, Denver can fight Godzilla! Boom! Franchise crossover! This shit practically writes itself.
I guess when you consider how much absolute crap was kicking around in the form of animated kids’ shows twenty years ago, there could be worse things to pick than Captain Planet. The powers-that-be for this film have already said they’re very excited and “expect to make a spectacular series of films.”
This is both terrifying and a relief. Terrifying for the obvious reason that series implies we’re going to have hippies in man-kinis flying around telling me what an asshole I am for not composting that orange peel for a handful of films. And it’s a relief for the exact same reason.
Like I was saying before, cartoon series don’t always translate well to the time or plot constraints of a film format. So the idea that they’re planning on making multiple films is definitely good news.
This means they can use multiple bad guys and most likely, bring them all together with Dr. Blight stealing the Planteers’ rings and creating Captain Pollution with the help of the other major villains of the show.
OK, that might sound a little like the Superman/Nuclear Man thing from Superman IV, but for a movie I think you
have to do Captain Pollution.
The problem with this movie isn’t going to be the ridiculous plot or mulletted-mankini’d hero. They keep pumping out Transformers movies, so there’s a market for big-budget cartoon reboots. One of the producers of the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon is actually the driving force behind Captain Planet, so that’s another plus since Transformers is going to make gajillions no matter how terrible it is.
And who doesn’t love mullets? If anything, the presence of a mullet is only going to expand the film’s demographic.
The problem is that this is a movie about the power teamwork in saving the planet by recycling and using renewable energy sources, about not decimating thousands of acres of forest to build a mall and how it’s not cool to dump millions of gallons of industrial waste product into the ocean. Blahblahblah, the environment is super sweet and stuff, we got it. But do you know what all really that means?
This production has to be the greenest fucking movie in history. You can’t have it any other way.
Let’s go back to Superman IV: the Quest for Peace, ok? When you cut through it all, Superman represents the United States and Nuclear Man is the Soviet Union. Look at him, he could be Drago’s long lost twin.
And the whole fight between them—yes, a horribly scripted metaphor for the political climate of the late 1980s. They fight on the moon! Around an uprooted American flag!
When you think about it, that can boil down to environmental metaphor as well. Superman draws his strength from the sun, Nuclear Man is atomic powered. And who wins? Renewable Energy Superman, that’s who.
Captain Planet isn’t a metaphor; this is literally a movie about a guy who saves the world one freaking recycled soda bottle at a time. This production has to be completely sustainable.
This film set should stand as a beacon for hippies and Al Gore, a shining example, a city on a hill for all to model themselves after. This shall not be a mere superhero movie, no, this shall not be a simple re-imagining of a precious early nineties cartoon resource! No—this film shall stand for all as a functional example of how society should operate! We should be inconveniencing ourselves in every facet of our lives insisting on recycled, recyclable, organic, hormone-free, oil-independent, hippie-endorsed products for the sake of future generations!
Oh god, what am I even saying? Have you ever seen a movie made out of tofu?
This is going to be awful.