THUNDERCATS: BOOK ONE
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I was just a little too old to really get into “ThunderCats” when they first came to America. I remember buying a comic book or two in middle school, but that was more for investment purposes than for love of the stories. It was a similar experience with “Transformers,” which is why the Michael Bay movie series has been of little interest to me. I suppose if they ever get that live-action “ThunderCats” movie going, I’ll have a similar reaction.
However, there is a new television series produced by Warner Bros. which brings these classic feline heroes to life again on Cartoon Network. And like the animated series based on the comic book heroes in the Marvel and DC universes, “ThunderCats” works exceptionally well.
The story follows the cat civilization of Thundera who have been under attack by the evil Mumm-Ra. The young prince Lion-O must step up to be a leader of the last survivors Tygra, Panthro, Snarf, Cheetara, WilyKit and WilyKat. This is a series of finding the power in yourself to stand up to your enemies and lead your people.
Stories set entirely on a different world with entirely non-human characters can be a challenge, simply because they are harder to relate to. However, “ThunderCats” manages to make the cat characters human enough, both in action and problems to overcome, that this doesn’t harm the series.
Geared towards an age range in the upper elementary grades, “ThunderCats” captures the imagination and sets up a long-form story that can keep the interest with action while dispensing some good messages and lessons throughout.
The 2-disc DVD set comes with the first eight episodes of the series, including the two-parter “Omen,” which sets up the series. Even with no prior “ThunderCats” knowledge, these are easy to follow. And while they have the same 80s-era silly elements that “Transformers” has (which is apparent by looking at some of the character names), it’s an entirely enjoyable series for kids today and their parents who may have watched the original “ThunderCats” in the 80s.