Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Captain Planet and the Planeteers - Skumm Lord

So guys, it turns out they're making a live-action Captain Planet movie. My brain's still trying to decide if this is merely just a bad idea or if this is a so bad it's good kind of an idea. What's even sadder is that a small part of me, the horrid part of me that remembers watching this show as a kid, wants to actually see this train wreck unfold on screen at least once. Mostly because I want to see how modern CGI would render out Captain Planet's mullet.

So to celebrate bad ideas with big budgets, I'm going to do a Captain Planet episode. Pray for my soul, gentle readers because this will be painful.

The perfect test to see if someone lived in the 90's; if they flinch
when they see these faces, then they grew up in that era.
Choosing a Captain Planet episode is sort of like a grim game of Russian Roulette. Sometimes you'll pick an episode that has something you can laugh at, or sometimes you'll pick an episode that's just barbarous preaching and "save the planet!" for about 20 minutes. There are episodes that everyone can relate to, like the illegal dumping of garbage into the ocean, and there are episodes that skew a little too far into the far left to be comfortable, like the episode that says that people who have more than two kids are killing the environment. It's rather telling that I know a couple people in my college that couldn't see this show as a kid because their parents thought it was liberal propaganda, it's THAT bad.

Luckily there's one such episode that I can deprive some form of enjoyment out of because of a couple things. For one, the environmentalism takes a back seat in this episode (or at least as far as it could get to the backseat, seeing as this is Captain Planet) and becomes more like a science fiction horror mixed in with some sort of medical drama than anything. Another, it's got Jeff Goldblum as a giant rat. Yes, this is a Verminous Skumm episode and this was back when DIC Entertainment could afford Jeff Goldblum to voice for their cartoon. Maybe they should've saved some of that money for some of their other shows, especially considering how cheaply animated the Super Mario Bros. Super Show was.

My friends, I'm going to show you an episode of Captain Planet where everyone in Brazil turns into hideous rat creatures. I'm going to show you...

Skumm Lord

Airdate: October 6, 1990

Availability: On DVD

I'm not going to really cover the intro to this cartoon since I'm sure everyone who's lived in the 90's remembers it. I just have to say one thing about it; all of the other Planeteers stop something with their powers, from dolphins getting captured to elephant poachers, while Ma-Ti just sort of stands there in the middle of a forest fire because his Heart power does absolutely nothing to save the day. "Ma-Ti got ripped off with his Heart power" is one of the major points that's brought up whenever someone mentions Captain Planet, but hey, I'm not one to bunk tradition.

Way to be totally useless, Ma-Ti!
Judging by the stereotypical drums and some close-ups of some tropical birds, the episode opens with the Amazon Rainforest, aka one of Captain Planet's favorite topics of discussion. Enjoy these unspoiled examples of nature's wonder while it's still there, because you know some asshole is just going to bulldoze it or burn it all down just because he can in this episode.

It's probably a bad sign when the first Planeteer to talk is Ma-Ti because he's going to show the others his village's shaman. You know why? Because immediately that's when the viewers know that a large portion of this episode is going to be about Ma-Ti, and Ma-Ti just proved how useful he can be by standing in the middle of a forest fire in the intro.

Linka is just as disappointed about this as we are.
The others stay mercifully silent as Wheeler (aka the stupid loudmouth American children were supposed to both relate to and be annoyed by simultaneously) complains about stupid boring plants and silly old shamans, easily setting him up for great humiliation later on. Hey Wheeler, if you think plants are stupid, why are you a Planeteer? Isn't protecting plants sort of one your biggest jobs, what with rainforests being all threatened and all that? Luckily, he finds a vine and decides to play Tarzan, thus proving to the audience that Wheeler's about as smart the people who decided that a flying blue man in tight red underwear is the perfect symbol of saving the planet.

"Duh huh huh, plants!"
But because of Wheeler's stunt, the entire Amazon rises up to smite the infidel as he narrowly avoids being eaten by a snake and getting eaten by fire ants all within a 10 second period. Of course Ma-Ti shows up to use some plants to heal Wheeler's wounds, probably while hoping that Wheeler quietly dies of an infection so they can give the Fire Ring to someone less stupid.

Pictured: Someone who has no right saving the planet.
After that episode of idiocy, we finally meet the shaman. The shaman is basically the stereotypical noble savage Amazonian tribal guy who knows more about plants and animals than anyone who uses that evil black magic science stuff. He's basically a proto-Na'vi. You can probably guess where this is going to go before we even get to the plot of this episode; something bad will happen and the shaman will be the only one who can help. He's that obvious in his savage nobility.

He also likes to wear a hat that looks like a giant pineapple slice.
But before Ma-Ti can get all cozy with his mentor and warn him about the dangerous redhead in their group, a disembodied woman's head with Whoopi Goldburg's voice fills the sky with her ghostly image, warning them of an eco emergency! Ma-Ti just tells his shaman that it's okay, it's only Gaia, the goddess of the Earth. I wonder what the mentor is thinking, probably having his native religion horribly proven wrong with the sight of a major deity floating right in front of him.

"Beware, I live! I hunger, cowards!"
What's the eco emergency? Verminous Skumm. Subtle name there. To those who never watched the show, first, I want to say that you're a more fortunate soul than I am. Verminous is an eco-villain, and the eco-villains are basically different representations of different things humanity can do to totally crap up nature conveniently formed into something Captain Planet can beat up with his fists.

In his case, Verminous Skumm's main shtick was disease and crime, because he's part-rat (whether he was born part-rat or was mutated into a hideous rat creature is never explained, because backstory would mean characterization and this show has none of that) and succumbed to cartoon animal stereotypes. Unlike some of the villains who ruined the earth's precious resources for money, he commits his crimes because he hates the world and wants to see it burn. He's arguably one of the cooler eco-villains, just because none of that lecturing Captain Planet can give him affects him in any way. He knows that even if he did recycle, humanity will never accept his hideous deformed visage, so they can all die from a plague for all he cares. 

Also, he's voiced by Jeff Goldblum, meaning there's
a The Fly joke in this episode somewhere.
The Planeteers ask what Brundlerat has been up to, and then Gaia conveniently shows them a recording of what Skumm did from multiple camera angles, leading me to wonder just how the hell she recorded all of this. I guess this is implying that Gaia is omnipresent, but if that's the case, why didn't she call for an eco emergency the moment she saw Verminous Skumm emerge from a sewer pipe with some strange bubbling liquid instead of waiting until long after the event has passed? The Planeteers have fought him before; they should know he never has any altruistic goals in mind.

So yeah, Verminous Skumm is spreading a disease called Rat Rot by suspiciously walking out of sewer pipes, pouring evil-looking yellow liquid into water supplies, and hoping that the locals don't notice that their water is now bright yellow or that some guy with torn, rotten clothing is sneaking around their village.

She noticed, but she sure doesn't care.
What does this sickness do? Oh nothing, except turns people into grotesque rat monsters. Yeah, apparently Verminous Skumm developed a disease that causes great physical mutations to whoever drinks it, which sounds less like a disease and more like the work of those glowing green canisters of mutagen from TMNT. Verminous Skumm is amazing like that.

So all it did was give her buck teeth, facial hair, and elf ears? Worst mutation ever.
And if this isn't bad enough, the people infected with this Rat Rot are now instantly under the cheesethief's  control. Way to go, Verminous Skumm. Not only did you rip of the TMNT mutagen, you just ripped off an episode of TMNT TV series. At least the Rat King controlled his hideous half-men, half-rats from Channel 6 with a neat looking flute instead of doing this to call them.

It's kind of funny how Skumm looks a lot like an albino Ganondorf.
Okay, fine, Gaia somehow didn't stop one village girl from being infected, I guess she's still on top of this before it spreads, right? Well, it seems that way, until we find out that an entire freaking city has been infected already with the rat monster mutagen and the Planeteers now have to stop it from spreading over the entire country of Brazil.

Uh, Gaia? People turning into rats probably should've caught your attention before an entire city fell under Skumm's control. What kind of deity are you if you wait until hundreds of people are already mutated before declaring it an emergency and yet the moment a small fire breaks out in the rainforest you get all freaked out?

"Eh, they're not killing any endangered species so this isn't a problem."
The lazy goddess of the Earth sends the teenagers off to deal with an entire horde of angry rats under Skumm's control instead of, you know, sending them to deal with the disgusting vermin before this could happen. The teenagers decide to fly around in their highly advanced yellow car airplane thing (which runs on solar power and they never give away the technology to a populace that could use it) until Ma-Ti uses his Heart Ring to spot someone with the sickness who will no doubt lead them to Skumm. I wonder if the Heart Ring has an app where it can just zoom in only on half-rats.

Splinter taught them to be ninja teens,
He's a radical rat!
Sure enough, the kid leads the Planeteers into the sewers, making it really, really hard for me not to fill this blog post with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references. They're able to follow him even when he disappears out of sight because Ma-Ti can shout "Heart!" and suddenly sense him with his ring. How does that even work? Can he just zero in on other hearts with his Heart Ring, and if that's the case, why didn't he get interference from the other Planeteers or the city-goers above him?

No one likes a show-off, Ma-Ti.
So yeah, thanks to Ma-Ti's ring, they find out where Jeff Goldblum is making his Rat Rot. No offense, cartoon, but here is where my suspension of disbelief dissolves the moment I see Skumm and his rat army making entire cauldrons of his Rat Rot in a sewer system with advanced pulleys and everything without anyone in the city getting suspicious of the strange activity. Surely someone would've noticed where the hideous pests are going. Please tell me the Planeteers aren't the only ones that care that people are mutating and then disappearing into the sewer systems. I say this a lot when it comes to 90's cartoons, but where the hell are the cops!?

All he needs is some pizzas and it'll be just like the sewer systems of New York.
Ignoring the lack of public defense, Verminous Skumm is making more Rat Rot. He tests how potent it is by drinking it, leading me to wonder if the whole "I was born a rat-person in the sewers" thing is just a sham. Seriously, he's mixing up chemicals that cause heavy physical mutations that suspiciously resemble his own, and he has the technological know-how to create new and deadly diseases. It isn't that big of a stretch to conclude that some researcher was working on untested chemical warfare for the government, had an accident as cartoon scientists are wont to do, fled into the sewers, and is now trying to turn the rest of the world into rats so he's less of an outcast.

"Needs more salt."
And then I realized I basically created a backstory for a character in Captain Planet of all shows and that's when I think I should lay down and consider wasting my energy for shows that actually deserve it. Although it does puts a bizarre new spin on Captain Planet when you picture him beating up what is essentially a person suffering from a very crippling, physically altering disease.

He laughs, but inside he knows he can never see his wife and kids again.
Despite all of his scientific genius, Verminous Skumm wasn't smart enough to post guards anywhere, allowing the Planeteers to hang their bodies out of a doorway and talk very loudly for several hours about what they're going to do next. Kwame (the black kid who has the Earth Ring, for those fortunate enough not to know their names) decides the best way to shut the Rat Rot sewer factory down is to start an earthquake. Uh, Kwame? You're currently underground and these sewers don't look that well-built. If the roof falls on anyone and causes their brain matter to leak out their caved in skulls, we know who to blame.

This would be funny except he narrowly avoided getting squished by
several tons of destroyed pipelines.
Luckily, no one is harmed (at least, no one important to the show) and Verminous Skumm tells the elemental dorks that they'll pay for this like the cliched animal-themed villain that he is. He then calls upon the might of his giant mutant rat army to fight off the Planeteers, which marches after the kids while all of them are imitating a praying mantis. I'm not sure why cartoons consider this pose "rat-like" when I have yet to see an actual rat do this.

What's the Planeteers' solution? Run. Way to be heroes, guys.

Instead of, you know, using their elemental powers to seal off their escape or to possibly aid them in any way, the Planeteers decide to puss out and call Captain Planet. And even though summoning Captain Planet involves a pretty elaborate ritual like saying the elements in order and pointing their rings to the sky, the mutated rat people decide to just stand back and let the teenagers shoot a rainbow of death into the air and summon a flying blue man in red spandex.

Superman wished he was this gay.
Course, then we run into a problem. Captain Planet, in all of his sparkling homosexuality, was able to blow the rats away from the wimpy teens and save them, but then he's quickly taken care of with a little spritz of Skumm's Rat Rot. Seriously, Captain Planet is barely on screen for little more than a minute before the villain beats him. See, when Captain Planet is hit by pollution, he weakens and then disappears. Kind of a horrible weakness to have when the main reason the villains are called "eco villains" is because they pollute.

When Captain Planet is hit by the Rat Rot, he unfortunately doesn't turn into a shiny flying blue rat monster, probably because that would've been too crazy even for this show. Instead he gives the Planeteers his best William Shatner impersonation while telling them that basically it's all up to them now on account he's such a waste of animation ink and paint. Then he disappears after shouting "The Power is yooooours!", which isn't very uplifting when you're a group of teenagers fighting a legion of mutants. I'm sure "The Power is yours" will be very useful while several ratmen hold them down and take turns gnawing their faces off.

What a wuss.
The team decide to split up, possibly to make themselves even easier targets for the plague of vile beasts. Wheeler, Linka, and Gi (aka, the whites and Asian) decide to form one team, and the minorities (Kwame and Ma-Ti) form the other team. Based on what I know from horror movies, that means Kwame and Ma-Ti are screwed and will be the first to die. The small pause and the expressions they exchange each other really says it all.

Meanwhile, it turns out Verminous Skumm has his own helicopter. Not going to ask how a giant ratman managed to get his own helicopter or even if he built it himself. Anyways, he's using his mandatory flying villain vehicle to dump the toxins he's made into the Amazon River. Now, Seth Brundle, why didn't you do this first? The Amazon River is a pretty dang important source of fresh water. It would've certainly saved you more time to go for that target first instead of attacking random wells scattered throughout Brazil. You could argue he was testing it first, but he had mutated an entire city before he decided to use the Amazon River. Skumm's just terribly sloppy with his plans.

I like that he brings the village girl along. He sure is fond of that rat person in particular.
Also, according to Linka (the blonde girl), the helicopter has a name. The Skummocopter. Ahahaha, wow. That is just such an awesomely cheesy name that it bears repeating. The Skummocopter better have been a toy at one point in the 90's or I will lose all faith in soulless 90's merchandising.

Also, Wheeler demonstrates how much he just flat out sucks by dooming his entire team within three nanoseconds of forming it. How does he do it? By being a total moron and attacking Verminous Skumm head-on, of course. Wheeler, I don't care if you have a ring that can shoot flames out of it, Skumm eats small children out of pure spite.

Really? This is all the Fire Ring can do? Kwame can start a freaking earthquake
and all Wheeler can do is light campfires? Why do they need him again?
All his attack does is cause a small fire that can be easily put out, calling into question as to whether Fire is more useless than Heart. Verminous Skumm, insulted by this redheaded genetic accident breathing his oxygen, actually does something smart; he dumps Wheeler into a vat of Rat Rot just because he can. The giant rat monster didn't even need to do anything to the other two Planeteers because Wheeler splashes them both with the Rat Rot while struggling to get out of a tub shorter than him. Hey, thanks, Wheeler. It's not like this disease comes with horrifying mutations and instant slavery to Skumm or anything.

Come on, guys. Just leave him and let him drown.
Kwame and Ma-Ti both show up with their mystical save the planet yellow cruiser thing (I don't know its name and I sure as hell aren't going to look up Captain Planet trivia), and sure enough the other three Planeteers turn into rat creatures all thanks to the thick slab of moron they like to bring along every mission. Thanks, Wheeler, I knew I can count on you to save our planet.

What is Kwame and Ma-Ti's reaction to their friends losing their humanity and mutating hideously before their very eyes? Well...this.

I can't even decipher what these emotions are supposed to be.
Despite the fact that they were going to find a cure anyways, the remaining Planeteers decide to bring the rodent-like Planeteers aboard their flying ship so that they can cure them. That's so redundant it has to work! Long story short, the remaining environmentalists have no difficulty roping up the rat kids and flying away, which in turn angers Skumm and causes him to follow them in his helicopter Skummocopter. I'm not sure why he follows him, to be honest. I guess after defeating Captain Planet and three of the Planeteers, he's feeling a bit overconfident with himself.

"For Zul'jin!"
But wait, Ma-Ti has a suggestion. Maybe if they see the shaman, he'll know how to cure them. Ah, see? I knew the noble, wise, pure good shaman who is one with nature and would never pollute would be the answer to their problems, even though Rat Rot is completely man-made and is nothing this world has ever seen before. Sure, humans are now sprouting rat ears and tails but grind up some rainforest plants and they'll be as good as new!
Turning into a giant rat man is just like contacting the measles in this universe.
But before we can meet the shaman, we need a somewhat uninspired aerial chase, what with both the heroes and the villain up in the air. It would've been exciting but the chase lasts way too long and consists of Ma-Ti pulling off impressive, nearly impossible maneuvers in the air because of a videogame on Hope Island and Kwame looking like he's stewing in his own feces. Verminous doesn't even fire one shot at the vehicle in an attempt to kill them all; the only exciting thing in this entire scene is seeing the poor black kid drop log after log in his pants with each passing turn.

I'm sure Ma-Ti was thankful for the confidence boosters.
They get away, since they are the heroes and all that, but not before Skumm launches a tracking device at them and saying that he'll be back. Uh, Mr. Giant Rat? If you can launch things from your Skummocopter that can actually hit the flying Planeteermobile (a villain first, might I add, since normally villains have terrible aim), why didn't you launch something more conventional like a missile or some lasers? Hell, throw the Rat Rot! Maybe it'll seep into the plane and turn the other two into rats.

As you might have noticed, up until now this episode didn't really feel like a Captain Planet episode. Mutant rat people, a disease that horribly disfigures anyone who contacts it, aerial chase sequences, and a villain taking control of an entire city using mind control sounds almost too awesome of a plot for this show.

Unfortunately, the shaman decides to ruin it for all of us by installing some heavy-handed environmentalism into the episode once they talk about the cure. He says that the only cure for Rat Rot is a very rare plant that may be gone due to deforestation. How convenient that he knows how to cure this disease that never existed before Skumm and how convenient that it's an endangered plant Captain Planet can make us feel bad about.

"Haha, I'm just messing with you. The real cure is Aspirin."
They head to a patch of cut down patch of land where the plant was located, only to find some portly Jerk Mcjerkface driving a bulldozer. Since he's destroying rainforest ground and therefore is Bad in the Captain Planet universe, he has to be a total assface about his job instead of being a two-dimensional human being with human emotions like the rest of the cast. "This land is getting used for what it does best, raising beef cattle!" he says, probably while wearing boots made out of baby seal skin and wearing a jockstrap made out of the harvested tears of slaughtered manatees.

"Get away from my bulldozer, I have endangered resources to carelessly destroy!"
While the shaman just shoves the point home that destroying the rainforest is a Horrible Thing, he suddenly spots the plant conveniently growing just a couple feet to the left and they all run back to the village without stopping the man in the bulldozer, making this little guilt trip scene entirely pointless. Guys, if you're going to complain about the deforestation, just standing there and complaining isn't going to help your case. Have Kwame create another earthquake and destroy that rainforest-killer! If he uses his Earth power right, he can bury all of the evidence.

Also Ma-Ti turned a solid gold statue.
Back at the village, it turns out Goldblumrat is there freeing the "Rodenteers" as he calls them. Skumm, you're inches away from getting sued by Disney for making a mockery of their Mickey Mouse Club. He tells them to dump some Rat Rot into the village water supply, but considering this village is deserted and only the shaman seems to live here, I doubt this will do much harm.

And then he's going to get the Triforce of Power and conquer Hyrule.
With their rat friends gone and Skumm clearly behind this, Ma-Ti actually decides to do something amazing with his normally non-amazing Heart Ring. When he hears from his animal friends that the rat mutants are going to poison the village's water supply (which is really too far away to be accommodating for that poor village) so he decides to stop them with eagles and a horde of monkeys. That's actually pretty awesome. Funny how it takes an eagle nearly clawing someone's eyes out in this cartoon before I can call it awesome.

If Ma-Ti only did this more often...
Of course, that single endangered rainforest flower that will probably die out thanks to the evils of Man cures the Rat Rot. Who saw this coming? Wheeler even apologizes for calling plants stupid earlier in the show, but unfortunately he doesn't apologize for being a total waste of space back when they were fighting Skumm earlier.
He's about as useful as Simon Belmont in Captain N.
But wait, Skumm is dumping a bunch of Rat Rot into the Amazon River (does that count as polluting if it only affects humans?) and that little dinky plant isn't enough to neutralize it all! The group of eco-friendly teenagers need some sort of contrived flying plot point in order to magically clean up the Amazon! You know what that means. Don't try to fight it folks, because by their powers combined, he is Captain Planet.

So, is he intentionally gay or did the animators really screw up somewhere?
Also, despite the fact that getting squirted by Rat Rot hurt him enough to vaporize him, Captain Planet is able to dive into an entire Amazon River filled with the stuff to get rid of it. Way to totally not be consistent, Captain Planet. Did it only count that one time because it wasn't in water? Were you just faking it when you were hit with the Rat Rot that one time? You suck and your underwear sucks, Captain Planet.

Also, he destroys the Rat Rot by turning into a fireball and burning it all, which I hope doesn't cause Rat Rot vapor to fly into any clouds and cause Rat Rot Rain (which would be an awesome name for a band) later on down the road. I guess it doesn't because Captain Planet never accidentally pollutes. How? Because he's freaking Captain Planet and he doesn't want to be setting a bad example.

He's flaming in more ways than one.
After he deux ex machinas his way through the Rat Rot, he takes care of Skumm pretty dang effortlessly. Seriously, it's embarrassing how little Verminous Skumm puts up a fight when earlier in the episode, he was resourceful enough to take down the sparkling floating man quickly. All Captain Planet does is fling the rat around in his helicopter and then fly off with him in it, no doubt giving something for Dr. Blight to bring up and laugh about at the next Eco Villain Get-Together.

I know I keep making gay jokes, but seriously, look at him! He's got body glitter!
With Verminous Skumm taken care of (we're not shown how, we just assume that he's locked up somewhere), Captain Planet now has to recover more of those endangered plants to cure the Rat Rot victims. Now, I hate to bring this up, but isn't harvesting a bunch of an endangered plant kind of hypocritical for someone who says that harming endangered wildlife is wrong? Those plants aren't going to be able to reproduce and make more plants if they're boiled up and made into medicine. I guess it's okay to take advantage of a finite resource as long as Captain Planet says its okay.

Captain Planet zooms through the air like an oily Californian surfer that suddenly was granted magical powers, and when he spots an entire acre of the mysterious endangered plant, he makes a pretty scary face that looks like he's going to sexually molest the plants before harvesting them. I'm glad this face is only one screen for a couple seconds because otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.

Captain Planet rape face.
But with Skumm gone, the show needs another one-dimensional villain for Captain Planet to thwart. Looks like it's time to reintroduce the bulldozing asshole again, only this time he's going to burn down acres of plants on account it'll be a lot faster to kill them. Ahahaha, holy crap. This guy just really hates the rainforest, doesn't he? I wonder if he had a Californian Condor omelette for breakfast and washed it all down with the blood of baby pandas. 
"I love slashing and burning virgin timber!"
Captain Planet decides to stop these heartless slaughterers of rare plants and animals by summoning a rainstorm to put out their fires. The evil destructors scream and run away from the rain, probably on account they sold their souls to Satan and now are weak against pure, clean water. When the storm dissipates, it honest to god forms a giant rainbow behind Captain Planet, making my job way too easy.

He's sending out gaydiation!
So after a rainbow forms behind him, he glitters like a Twilight vampire and flies around picking purple flowers. I wonder if he also likes interior decorating and Sex in the City. He stops to say that once the rainforest is gone, it's gone forever, possibly to make us feel bad, but personally I feel bad for his costume designer. I wonder how that guy felt when he had to make a stretchy thong made out of red spandex.

It is physically impossible for a mere mortal to ever be this gay.
So the flying blue man in tight underwear cures the Rat Rot, hammers the fact that burning the rainforest is bad, yadda yadda yadda, but whatever happened to Verminous Skumm? Well, it turns out he was locked up in a hut while Captain Planet jokes that he's either going to throw him into prison or a zoo. Hah hah, it's funny because Skumm no longer counts as person thanks to his hideous physical mutations! We also learn that Verminous Skumm doesn't even have hair like normal people do; instead, the top of his skull is covered in rat hair, invoking even more pity at the fact that Captain Planet likes to beat up this deformed man.

Also, I have a very good question to ask Captain Planet. Why didn't you use the cure on Verminous Skumm!? Even if it doesn't work, the least you could do is be a good sport and try.

I'm sure a shave and a wig would make him almost passable for a human being...
And so our episode ends, but not before we get a Planeteer Alert, which is basically a Sonic Sez or The More You Know for Captain Planet. At the end of each episode, the Planeteers address you, the audience, with tips on how to help save the planet, possibly so that the executives broadcasting this will go "Hey, this is educational!" and feel mighty good about themselves after cancelling Swat Kats.

This replaced Swat Kats on some channels.
In this Planeteer Alert, we learn the rainforests are being cut down, but we can stop this from happening by not using paper products that are only used once and by recycling newspapers. That's all fine and dandy but we heard from Dastardly McEvilman that they were bulldozing the rainforest to raise beef cattle. Way to totally not get your own episode, Captain Planet.

"Hello, I'm here to trivialize the politics behind deforestation!"
And at the end of this kind of useless alert, Captain Planet says "The Power is Yooooours!" and then shoots the viewers with a magic bullet fired from his pointer finger.

I hope that magic bullet was a memory wipe spell, because I know there's something I'd like to forget I watched.

But one last thing about this show before I go. Seriously, watch the credits. You'll spot some crazy stuff in those credits. It's worth the risk of potentially getting the "Captain Planet, he's our hero" song stuck in your head until the end of time.

How the hell were they able to get so many of those actors on this show? It's downright mind-blowing. Sting's paycheck alone would've been worth the budget of at least 16 Super Mario Super Show episodes.

The Moral of this Cartoon
Everything has a cure just growing in the rainforest, including a bio-engineered chemical weapon created by a mad scientist meant to genetically alter whoever catches it into hideous animal people. That's why destroying the rainforest is bad. If you destroy the rainforest, we could end up turning into rat people.

Also Wheeler sucks.

Final Verdict

There's a very good reason Captain Planet is made fun of even to this day. Its morals are heavy-handed, its superhero is a spandex-wearing dork, and the Planeteers are annoying little squirts. No one's going to watch this and think it's a good show by any means; Captain Planet did NOT age well and it's reserved mainly for mockery or nostalgia trips.

That being said, this episode did have some good sides to it. If you're familiar with DIC Entertainment, this show actually had passable animation considering the studio. It's not amazing by any means, but uses a lot of shadows to describe form and it manages to keep the ultra-realistic style really consistent without deformation.

And ironically the things I like about this episode are the things that I hate about Captain Planet as a whole. I like that the main problem was NOT something environmental, I like that Captain Planet was barely in it, and I like that the villain had a motivation besides pollution or ruining the environment, and I like the sort of sci-fi turn it went as opposed to "Oh, no! Pollution!". There's a small line where Skumm calls it a rodent revolution and, in my Captain Planet-induced haze, thought that him staging a takeover of humanity actually made him just a tiny bit more two-dimensional.

But yeah, in the end it's a goofy, goofy cartoon that I could never see myself or anyone else watching this unironically for entertainment value. It's too preachy of a show to gain it that honor. In short, the power to not see this is yooooours!