Sunday, August 21, 2011

Loonatics Unleashed - Going Underground

Okay, I've been making fun of DIC Entertainment for way too long. Time to make fun of yet another product from the animation company renowned for making some of the best shows in the 90's, Warner Bros. Animation.

No, Batman fans. This logo isn't going to turn into a police helicopter with
headlights shining down on Gotham City.
I don't think even Disney can really touch the versatility the Warner Brothers Animation brand has. I've seen a lot more people say they hate or love everything Disney stands for than their lead competitor just because of the level of variation in Warner Bros. On one hand, they're responsible for Batman: The Animated Series, Animaniacs, and Tiny Toons. On the other hand, they're responsible for Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, Johnny Test, and Baby Looney Tunes. It's really hard to say what my opinion is with Warner Bros. because they brought me both intense joy and intense sorrow. They can do it for the art and then whore off their characters in the very same breath.

So thus, instead of ripping into the really obvious bad cartoons Warner Bros. is responsible for, I want to first make fun of their show that honestly can't decide whether it's a bad cartoon and a good one, a cartoon that, like Captain Planet, everyone's heard of and laughed at but never actually sat down and watched it.

So thus, the punchline for every joke about trying to make aging cartoon characters more relevant for today's audience, Loonatics Unleashed.

They're tiny, they're toony, they're all a little-wait, wrong show.
I don't really have much to say about Loonatics Unleashed's sordid history, other than it had two seasons with 26 episodes and was cancelled after the second season on account Warner Brothers realized that everyone was making fun of this show and hopefully, by cancelling it, they can never speak of it again. It was one of those shows that suffered from a bad case of Multiple Personality Syndrome.

And ironically the fact that it was tied to Looney Tunes is probably what hurt it the most. Why? Because if it wasn't tied to the Looney Tunes brand and if the characters were not reimagined Looney Tunes characters, this would just be another superhero cartoon where a band of heroes with different personalities fight against a varied rogue gallery and people would've ate it right up. The 90's was ALL ABOUT the superhero cartoons, after all.

The people who made Animaniacs made this.
I'm going with this episode first because to be frank, loads of people covered this show's first episode before in other blogs (usually in blogs much snarkier than this one) and I don't want to do "Weathering Heights" until after I do The Mask: The Animated Series's "Rain on Terror" on account the plots are exactly the same.

So yeah, now that I talked about the show, let's talk about an episode that honestly has nothing to do with the Merrie Melodies shorts at all because it involves chinese food, earthquakes, and a mad scientist who turned half-rock (yeah, really) and therefore, of course, wants revenge on the entire world. Witness this unfold in an episode that the writers couldn't even think of a good name pun for, because this is...

Going Underground

Yeah, no title card, but I'm showing you the first shot of the cartoon anyways.
Airdate: October 15, 2005

Availability: On DVD

I just want to come out and say that unlike all the previous cartoons I've done in my blog so far, this show (or at least the episodes I've run into so far) is set-up slightly differently. Instead of having the intro first, a title card, and then the 22 minute episode, just as nature intended, Loonatics Unleashed decides to be difficult by having two and a half minutes of cartoon, then the intro, and THEN the opening credits without a title card. I remember some shows used to do this but then opted out of it (Futurama, for example) on account it's a little confusing to turn on a channel and be instantly thrown into a world without any knowledge of it.

Which, of course, is the reason why cartoons have those catchy theme song intros in the first place. To introduce us. Hence "intro".

So instead of some intro telling us, usually in the form of a rap or a hair metal song, what the hell is going on, we get two of the heroes in China Town getting takeout, possibly from the same place that would serve Shredder and his mutated animal goons in several of the TMNT episodes. Interesting way to introduce us to your main characters, I guess, although it's probably a bad sign that my first thought was "holy crap, their entire bodies are highlighted in light blue!".

I guess the "blind in one eye" look is popular this season.
It's also a little unsettling that these superheroes are the only large talking animals in sight, alone in a sea of humans with bad hairstyles, and it quickly goes from unsettling to downright disturbing when we learn that the duck (named Danger Duck, in reference to that old British cartoon) is afraid of a place that serves his non-anthropomorphic brethren dipped in orange sauce. The rabbit (named Lexi Bunny, in reference to Space Jam's really unnecessary addition to the Looney Tunes cast) just ignores him, probably because she's still in shock from seeing the Sweet and Sour Rabbit display.

Also, judging from the various chinese dragons that are strolling down the streets, China Town is currently celebrating Vague Chinese Holiday, like it always does whenever a chinese-themed area appears in any cartoon.

Looks like Po and the Furious Five are trying to sneak into Lord Shen's hideout.
But then, we learn that Lexi has superpowered sonic hearing or something, because she hears something suspicious. When she asks Darkwing Danger Duck to come check it out with her, he gives her lip and tells her that she's not the boss of him. You know what that means, folks.

"I'm going to go into great lengths on how much greater in authority I am to you, thus deepening
the cinematic irony when something happens to me."
If you said "the universe plotting intense misery against the complainer and making sure he suffers massive physical and emotional trauma", then you're right! Because suddenly Chinatown suffers from a massive earthquake and the poor water fowl gets hit by orange sauce not one, not twice, but three separate times in under a minute. Lexi's response is a really lame "Aren't you saucy?", but to be fair, the duck says an equally lame line about how tasty he is. Not sure if I'd want to joke about that, Danger Duck.

And then he was instantly torn apart by people wielding chopsticks.
The earthquakes continue, the two superheroes continue shooting unfunny one-liners at us at a rapid pace, and the entire city is reshaped. Chinatown gets formed on top of a mountain and the buildings all get sucked inside by a green, glowing light of mass evilness.

Also, thousands and thousands of innocent people died a gruesome, morbid, bloody death as their bodies were pulverized into sticky red paste under the tectonic plates of villainy. But the cartoon conveniently skipped that part.

Yeah, cartoon, don't pretend that people didn't die from this.
And then we cut to some place with glowy rocks in it. Museum? Research facility? Fair exhibit? The Keebler Elves' attempt at branching into the rock candy business? I don't know. Just know that in like two seconds, this place WILL be broken into. Maybe they shouldn't leave giant, magical artifacts just sitting conspicuously in the middle of the room, enticing villains to come steal their stuff.

Pop quiz time, readers. Guess which of these rocks is the Plot Device Rock.
Sure enough, this place gets broken into by none other than our main villain. Not going to say his name until the cartoon introduces it to us, but I do want to say the name of his voice actor. This charming little fellow is voiced by none other than Simon Templeman, who's Kain in the Legacy of Kain series and various major characters in Mass Effect, Uncharted, Dragon Age, and God of War. I'm also listing all of this video games in hopes that you'll fire up your PS3 instead of torturing yourself with this. I'm only watching out for my readers' mental health here. 

"Given the choice, whether to rule a corrupt and failing empire; or to challenge the fates for another throw - a better throw - against one's destiny, what was a king to do?"
Since you decided to stick around, N. Gin from Crash Bandicoot walks into the Unnamed Room of Various Rocks and he talks in a voice that honestly sounds like a mix between Kain and Snively from the good DIC Sonic cartoon. And, since he's a villain, when he comes across what he was looking for, he monologues to himself instead of just grabbing that stupid rock and taking off. Good thing this place has no security.

After stating the obvious in his dialogue, he then utters one of the weakest threats ever. "There's going to be a whole lot more shaking going on!" Ha ha, wow. Yeah, I don't care if he just killed everybody in Chinatown. That was pretty weak. He should be glad that he's only talking to himself and not an actual audience that could mock him for that line.

"Oh boy, the Wade Sewpent Cwystaw! At wast! Huhuhuhuh!"
And FINALLY we get the intro. In the year 2772, a meteor struck the city-planet of Acmetropolis (aka Earth), but instead of wiping out all life off the face of the planet like it should've done, it unleashed radiation all over the place, and now we have superheroes and stuff. Man, those dinosaurs must be feeling pretty ripped off right about now. All they got was a major extinction event.

And then everybody died.
The intro basically lists the different character's abilities in fancy, superhero-ish terms like "Quantam Quack" and "Tornado Maximizer", but I'll sum it up in normal terms. Bugs Bunny hero has laser eyes, Lola Bunny hero has supersonic hearing, Daffy Duck hero can teleport, Tasmanian Devil hero is the big guy, Wile E. Coyote hero is the smart guy, and Roadrunner hero is the fast guy. There. And, I hate to say it, but the guitar and the vocals in the intro are pretty cool. I guess if you set your standards at rock bottom (get it?), anything decent is a welcome surprise.

Although when it shoots past several villains in the show, I noticed one thing was off. Notice how our rock-themed villain of the day's attachments are on the right side of his body? Well, in the intro, his strange mineraloid mutations are on the LEFT side. You can't just flip a character with an asymmetrical design and expect us to not notice, Warner Bros!

It's probably a bad sign that his rock hand looks suspiciously like a Power Glove.
With the intro over, we find ourselves at Generic Superhero HQ with all of the cuddly woodland heroes gathered to talk about that weirdass volcano mountain thing that just exploded out of the face of Acmetropolis like a giant zit. Ace Bunny's voice is really bland and has a bad New Yorker accent, but that's instantly forgiven the moment I learn that Rob Paulsen is voicing one of the characters. Instead of making the roadrunner say only "Meep meep!", Rev Runner speaks like someone hit fastforward on his dialogue. Now, in any other show, this would be annoying, but in Loonatics Unleashed, that strange meteor radiation somehow made it hilarious. 

They're all going to get strained necks with that TV positioned like that.
And then we get Tech E. Coyote (not going to say which Looney Tunes character he's based off on because you should know this), who says that he built a working model of Chinatown to map out the earthquake. He says it was a total rush job but it's a picture perfect representation of the affected area, complete with little miniature trains that run on time. Personally, I think he was lying about the rush job and he's just showing off to his intellectual inferiors. I know I would too if I had that kind of engineering know-how but was stuck running around in skin-tight black spandex and forced to interact with talking rabbits. That would leave anyone a bit jaded.

"Yeah, you would find it amazing. Philistines."
When the volcano bursts out of his model, breaking all laws of physics with the spontaneous formation of mass, Tech says that he built the volcano out of fudge since he ran out of soil. Geez, man. It costs like sixteen dollars to get a pound of fudge from See's Candies and yet this giant talking coyote has enough fudge just lying around to make a six foot tall mountain.

Unless he has a fudge-making machine of course, in which case I'm not sure why the hell he isn't selling it to a patent office and making a fortune in the confectionery business.

Oh geez, that Tasmanian Devil's face.
After that chocolate distraction (the best kind of distraction), we learn from a floating woman trapped in a rainbow that the villain in today's episode is named Dr. Thaddius Dare. Okay, cartoon wins points for actually having a mad scientist villain NOT have a name that's a big, flashing pun. I was expecting the guy to be named Dr. Ignaeous Rockyrock Sediment or something.

And yes, I know Street Sharks also had normal names for their mutants, but I always figured their writers were just too incompetent to think of good fish-related jokes.

It's like if Jem and Princess Celestia had a glowing space baby.
So yeah, we get a typical mad scientist backstory. Of course he was a recluse, of course he was a very brilliant scientist, and of course he wanted to control all forms of rock. We don't get a look into his normal life or how he interacted with his coworkers, but I imagine it went something like this:

"Interesting contraption, Thaddius. Will it help lessen the impact of earthquakes, thus protecting our heavily populated metropolitan areas?"
"Well, no. I want to control rocks!"

"To be honest, I don't know what I'm doing either!"
And, of course, he was hideously disfigured by the meteor crash. For some reason this is treated like the big transformation in his life when it was by that freakin' huge radioactive megaton explosion of space rock that hit and affected the entire goddamn planet. How is he the only person in the entire city to get disfigured? Maybe that's why he went crazy.

Well, that, and the whole "flaming rock from space destroying half of his face and causing great amounts of burning agony" thing.

"I'm a rock scientist and I'm getting mutilated by a rock! What are the odds?"
The floating rainbow woman (her name is Zadavia, which is a fitting name for someone so sparkly) says "his rock experiments grew more reckless" without any trace of irony, leading me to wonder if any of the writers read their scripts out loud. Apparently the scientific community banished him afterwards, which just sounds needlessly cruel when you stop and think about it. So what, they told the scarred, mentally disturbed victim suffering from radiation burns that he should just take his stupid rocks and leave? I guess in the year 2772, the city lacks such things as mental hospitals or physical therapists.

Also, they never say if the rock parts of Dr. Dare's body were caused by the meteor itself or if he himself made the rock attachments to replace his scorched, hideous defects and he's living in constant agony due to the exposed nerves on his arm and face. I like to imagine the meteor made him half-rock, if only because I'd like to see him try to explain that to his supervisor that very day.

"So, Thaddius, how was your lunch break?"
"My arm's now made out of glowing space ore, Phil. What do you think?"
So yeah, for the last couple of years, Dr. Dare's been living underground, and Rainbow Lady never tells us how he managed to find food and water down there. However, she does explain the glowing rock that was stolen because hey, the audience could use the info dump. Apparently the Jade Serpent Crystal, which was housed in "a science building", has some special atomic raviolis or some stupid crap like that. Anyways, it has untold power and now the Loonatics have to stop Dr. Dare on account there's no telling what he might do with that kind of power.

Personally, I don't think the guy needs the Plot Serpent Crystal Device. Dr. Dare DID just create a giantass volcano in the middle of a large city and can cause massive earthquakes whenever he wants. He's got plenty of this so-called "untold power". Not sure why villains like to chase after these Macguffins when they've got plenty of power at their disposal already.

It's one of the 12 Talismans! Quick, call Jackie Chan!
Ace Bunny says "Let's jet!", a rather bland, unnoticeable catchphrase considering I've grown up in a period of time where every band of superheroes had a "Turtle power!" or a "Rescue Rangers away!". One conveniently placed screen wipe later and Tech E. Coyote really proves that he is the Donatello of the group by making plot-important vehicles and devices "in his spare time". In this episode's case, it's a drilling machine. Yeah, that was reeeeally contrived of him to have built an underground tunneler right before a rock-themed villain showed up in his neighborhood. What if he had this thing built and they had to fight that weather-themed villain, huh? What then, Tech?

That being said, I actually kind of like this thingamajiggy's design. But then again, maybe it's because I'm pleasantly surprised that they didn't just strap a giant drill to the front of a random vehicle and call THAT their drilling machine. Instead it has three drills! It's also color-coordinated and comes with drink holders.

And it's obviously computer-generated.
Apparently it's called the Mobile Magma Mover, proving to us that while coyotes are good at rooting through trash and eating household pets, they're bad at coming up with decent titles. In this scene, Tech is in his element, and he drinks the sweet juices of power as he's the one in total control of his teammates' lives. Watching this scene is a little scary because you can definitely see Tech on a total power trip while the other five team members just kind of watch him in scared, disconcerting silence.

"So, Danger Duck, invent anything to help save the day lately?"
"Yeah, go shove it, Tech."
They drive through cave after cave until they discover the strangely intact remains of the city hanging like stalactites above their heads. I'm...pretty sure city buildings wouldn't be able to hold up structurally if they were flipped upside down, but okay.

Also, again, I'd like to ask the uncomfortable question involving the people still trapped inside those buildings. Is anyone alive in there, and if they are, imagine how terrified they must be, staring out their window amid all of their broken furniture and seeing nothing but pitch black darkness? Even if you buy into the idea that all of the buildings are miraculously void of any life, there's still the question involving the state of all those personal belongings that had to go through a very intense earthquake and being flipped upside down. Dr. Dare is such a jackass.

"Suck it, Acmetropolis!"
They continue digging through miles of solid stone, but nothing stops them until Tech E. Coyote decides to tempt fate by uttering the ever classic Famous Last Words "Nothing can stop us!". You fool!

Just as the fates predicted, the moment the mangy vermin of the group gets too cocky, his Mobile Magma Plotmover grinds to a shuddering halt. Tech complains about how the thing should be able to smash through any rock right as Dr. Dare sends in his welcoming committee. And honestly, if you didn't predict that Dr. Dare would have at least some form of giant monster golem at his disposal, then I feel really sorry for you and your utter lack of an imagination.

Wild REGIROCK appeared!
As Poindexter tells us that the sudden stop has short-circuited the engine (so he didn't fix such a fatal design flaw because...?), more and more rock monsters surround the doomed vessel. Also, since all of them sport the same glowing green runes on their bodies as Dr. Dare, we can easily draw the conclusion that somewhere, Dr. Dare is miming all the smashing movements the rock monsters are doing while wearing a very silly virtual reality helmet.

Underground rock concerts always suck.
Warner Brothers then decides to set gender roles back twenty years by having a giant rock monster grab the only female on the superhero team. Dr. Dare's traditional, I guess.

What's really frustrating about this situation is that the other five just stand there in the stock surprised pose instead of, oh I don't know, using their superpowers? Geez, one of them has superspeed and yet they can't react fast enough to stop a rock monster from stealing away the chick in their group? Way to totally suck at your job.

"Hey, thanks for just standing there with your mouths open, assholes!"
Commercial break, and then the first thing we hear after the commercial break is Ace shouting "It's got Lexi!". Thank you, Captain Obvious. He then shouts "Let's rock" (don't even start, rabbit), letting both his teammates and the people watching the show that we're now entering the action part of this episode where we're going to see a lot of good old-fashioned cartoon violence. At least they kept THAT aspect of the original Merrie Melodies films intact. The Loonatics don't go whole hog on their Looney Tunes theme and use anvils or frying pans, but it's the thought that counts.

"Quick, grab the shotguns, the bear traps, the banana cream pies, and the oversized falling safes!"
We cut to Lexi clutched in the hands of a Pokémon introduced in Ruby and Sapphire and she just sort of sits there and struggles for nine whole seconds while this thing stomps around on a repeated rock walk cycle. Okie-dokie, animators. Not sure why this scene had to be so long. We get it, women in superhero cartoons tend to be captured a lot. No need to rub it in.

Also, way to not use your superpowers to free yourself, Lexi.

I'm sure if you keep doing that, soon it might just work!
Howard the Danger Duck is the one that saves her, and if I could give this show one compliment, the special effects are really nice. This show may be a subject of massive ridicule and people may like to pretend that this show never existed, but it's pretty obvious that this show at least had some sort of a budget. Though it's probably a bad choice to give an edible fowl the ability to wield fire. That's just asking for trouble danger.

Hey, Danger Duck, can you keep on doing that for an hour and a half while I get the lemon juice and the onions?
So yeah, fight scene. It's kind of hard for me to comment much on a fight sequence that involves people hitting each other until they fall down, because then I'll sound like a really bored sports commentator before too long and I wouldn't want to inflict that on anybody. Let's just say that all of the heroes get to take turns fighting the giant boulderfiends and all of them crack snappy one-liners while doing so. Luckily, since this show did have some money pouring into it, the fight scenes have decent choreography. It just runs a bit too long for my liking.

I think the only thing that bugs me is that I can take all the other crime-fighters' powers seriously except for Ace Bunny's laser beams he shoots from his eyes. It's weird that I can so readily accept a duck that can create fireballs in his hands and teleport, and yet a rabbit going Cyclops on his enemies is too silly even for me.

Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Oh, and sometime during the brawl, a Mega Golem or whatever (he's bigger and a different color than the other mineral meanies, so he must be important!) bursts out of the wall and starts fighting. I'm noting the giant Mega Golem guy because, at one point in during the fight, Ace Bunny says "What's up, Rock?". Geez, Ace, I did not need that pun.

Also, after Slam falls down a deep ravine, Ace decides to help by tossing the Mega Golem right on top of him from a height of at least six stories. It's a good thing these characters are protected by the rules of slapstick or otherwise they'd have to digitally paint out the splattered blood and brain matter in order to air this to American audiences.

I wonder if Dr. Dare envisioned this when he said he wanted to "control rocks" and wanted to
use these things as a form of cheap labor? But that's giving the show way too much credit.
After four whole minutes of nothing but beasts on rock action, Tech E. Coyote informs them from the safety of the broken down Magma Mover, away from the fighting because he hates his fellow teammates and doesn't want to damage his fifty dollar manicure, that the rock monsters are, in fact, being controlled by that Jade Serpent Crystal., really? It took him that long to figure that out? I thought you were a supergenius, Tech!

"I am more muscular, more cunning, faster, and larger than you are, and I am a genius."
The Loonatics are tiring of the extended fight sequence just as much as the rest of us, so Ace suggests that Tech should jump start his digging machine so that they can smash the remaining crag cretins with the efficiency of Paper covering Rock. But just one hitch; the rerouter cord is too short to do the job. I like how the coyote's smart enough to make these highly advanced futuristic machines "in his spare time" and yet he can't use basic logic and make the cords long enough to perform these kinds of actions. What kind of idiot does that?

Setting up the X-Box 360 is always a nightmare.
So instead, Tech E. Coyote decides to use his superpower. See, the coyote possesses something called Molecular Regeneration, which is a nice way of saying that he can die gruesomely but then configure himself from his mutilated, disintegrated corpse and be reborn just like a neon green phoenix wearing skintight clothing.

Out of all of the superpowers these atomic furries possess, this is the one that's the most in spirit to the actual shorts, if only because it actually will use the whole turning into ash sight gag into something that can actually be used as a plot point. It's kind of cool, if a little unsettling when considering the implications of such a power could mean. For one, did he already know about his power, or did he only learn of it when he suffered a fatal injury? He also feels the whole thing, which means he suffers unbelievable amounts of agony in the name of justice. Ouch.

"Bring me Sarah Connor!"
With the digger machine working again, Tech shouts "Rock on!" (not you too) and smashes through the rock giants so effectively that they had to reuse the same animation for the same two golems getting smashed twice. Good thing the rest of the rock monsters decided to stand in a straight line and don't even try to get away, or otherwise this plan never would've worked.

But then again, rocks aren't known for their survival skills.
With all the trash mobs gone, the raid boss finally makes an appearance. Geez, Dr. Dare. Way to totally not participate at all in a fight scene that took a huge chunk out of your own episode. He does make a really nice first impression though, choosing to impress the flea-infested furballs by rising out of a solid rock ground like a pagan god and sitting on a throne made entirely out of stone. And since that last part rhymed, it automatically becomes that much cooler. Oh, that Dr. Dare and his rocks.

"Here I am, I rocked you like a hurricane!"
Luckily for the Loonatics, Dr. Dare is a big fan of villain cliches like giving away his entire villain plot, because right when he appears, we learn the true reason why he's flipping the buildings upside down. He wants all of Acmetropolis to be underground so that he can live in peace on the surface. Wow, that's...kind of sad, actually.

The episode plays this out to be just the crazy musings of a total lunatic, but I honestly feel some sympathy for the guy. His goal isn't to rule, but so that he can live above ground. That's a pretty reasonable motive for him considering all of his friends, family, and coworkers abandoned him for being hideous. Unfortunately the writers never really took advantage of it and just made him someone who loves rocks a little too much and nothing more. Come on, writers, this is the same company responsible for Batman: The Animated Series. Make me cry!

"Think of it, Loonatics. To never again walk on a summer's day with the hot wind in your face
and a warm hand to hold. Oh yes, I'd kill for that!"
Ace says that his plan absolutely sucks, and even though Dr. Dare says "You won't be laughing when you're buried in stone, bunny!", his lipsyncing is so off in this scene that it's pretty obvious that he used to have different dialogue and they changed the line he had at the last minute. I have to wonder if the line was either considered too sympathetic, if they had a completely different animation to go with what he says (this scene is just recycled animation from a previous line he had), or if Dr. Dare just snapped and launched every cuss word he can think off the top of his head at the anthropomorphic lapine, forcing the networks to cut it out. Any of those could work, really.

"You know what? You all can form a line behind me and take turns kissing my half-mineral ass, you sacks of vomit!"
And then, rocks! See, since Dr. Dare is rock-themed and has a rock arm and has that giant glowing rock and is surrounded by rocks and likes to drink his scotch on the rocks, he attacks the Loonatics with what else but rocks. The occasional boulder and pebble is thrown in there for good measure, but mostly, it's rocks. He shoots a giant green ray out of his rock scepter of mineral-based doom, causing the cave to crumble while he escapes on a giant rock elevator made of rocks. And after a while of typing this blog entry, rock starts look misspelled. Rock rock rock rock.

He enjoys rock and roll, especially if it's by The Rolling Stones.
When there's a giant cave-in and all these rocks (I wonder how often the word "rock" appears in this post) cover the Mobile Magma Mover, there's a short commercial break to drum up suspense as to whether or not the Loonatics survived that. Hate to spoil, but they totally survived. After Slam just magically fixes everything by being strong, Zadavia and her strange glowing eyes appears on a communicator and, to advance the plot, shows the heroes what's happening to Acmetropolis.

And honestly, Zadavia was better off staying home, because basically all it does is reinforce what Dr. Dare said earlier; he's turning the city inside out so that he can live in the barren wasteland above the surface and feel the wind blowing against his half-rock face. Not sure how this adds anything to the plot other than establishing that people in Acmetropolis love to dye their hair purple.

How are these people not dead? Like everything around them has been sucked into the earth's crust.
In a kind of cool subversion, when the Loonatics make it to the surface (not sure how they avoided getting crushed considering the huge gaping hole in the machine's structure), for a brief moment, it actually looks like Dr. Dare already won. The entire city is gone, bland-looking people with unnatural hair styles look like they just saw their parents and their family pet get run over by a truck filled with scary clowns and giant spiders, and our chubby little scientist has his own evil spire of massive villainy. In short, it makes the Loonatics look kind of bad at their job.

"I just watched my fiance get crushed to death by solid stone. I may never smile again."
Since there's an evil-looking structure sitting in the middle of a rock-filled world of death and decay, they decide to storm into Mordor on dune buggies. Uh, okay, cartoon? Where did they get those? Don't tell me that Tech E. Coyote, while building that machine capable of digging through solid rock surfaces right before the rock scientist showed up, also thought to include dune buggies in the machine just in case. I suppose he can also pull some rock repellent out of his ass while he's at it.

Using their inexplicable dune buggies, they make it to Dr. Dare's little shrine to himself and...oh come on, cartoon. We already had like five minutes of these guys! I never thought "persistent" was a character trait minerals had, but here they are, ready to waste my time once more. 

Oh, good. With all three of them gathered, you can go catch Regigigas.
Luckily, they changed a couple things about them. The first change is that they're made out of sand instead of rock (which sounds like a total downgrade when you think about it), and the second change is that they downright suck, on account it takes the heroes like 10 seconds to deal with them. Personally, I don't care, because I've already had my fill of woodland creatures punching and kicking giant monsters made out of rock.

With that annoyance dealt with, they walk inside the building and find themselves in a jade empire. And I don't mean that one X-Box game. Dr. Dare isn't really big into furniture, seeing as his throne room consists of the Jade Serpent Crystal on a podium and a chair made out of a giant boulder. It must suck sitting on a rock chair all day.

...maybe that's why Dr. Dare's so cranky; he hasn't slept on a nice downy bed in years.

And Dr. Dare didn't notice them come in because...?
They approach the Glowing Plot Coupon, not at all doing it stealthily even though the main villain is sitting right there, and Tech E. Coyote says that they can shut down the crystal by using light. Only he says it with a lot of pretentious technobabble. That canine really needs to learn how not to show off because he looks like such an asshole whenever he does it.

One short day, in the Emerald City.
One short day, full of so much to do...
But then, Dr. Dare! The moment his stubby little body makes it onscreen, both him and the Loonatics take turns shouting cliched lines at one another. He says that he thought he buried them underground, one of them says that they're going stop him stone cold, Dr. Dare insists that stones are his domain, and so on and so forth.

It's this little back-and-forthing between good guy and bad guy that's been around since the birth of the comic book. Problem is, it's a lot less entertaining if the heroic platitudes of justice are coming from a sharp-angled rabbit with a bad Brooklyn accent.

Can you imagine how hard it was to teach himself how to put that hand on his hip
without breaking his pelvis?
Dr. Dare then decides to up the ante by turning the heroes into stone. Yeah, who saw this coming, considering his theme is rock? I know I did.

I will give the cartoon some credit, because since the petrification process is accompanied by this glowing jade dragon that twists around the heroes' legs, it's mildly more interesting than the run of the mill "the character model turns grey and that's how you know he's stone" that cartoons normally do. And you know I'm talking about that scene in Pokemon: The First Movie when Ash dies.

I also like the implication that the crazy scientist would just keep their fossilized bodies in his lair as decoration. I wonder if the jade would preserve them or if their bodies would slowly rot in their beautiful crystal prisons, thus creating a deep metaphor on how short mortal life is on earth while the earth itself doesn't age.

And then Loonatics Unleashed instantly gained a big Japanese audience.
Unfortunately, the rock-themed mad scientist doesn't seem to realize that one of his adversaries has heat vision. Ace decides to take a page from X-Men's book and use a bunch of different angled surfaces to bounce his eye laser into the Jade Serpent Crystal, freeing them all. It's a good thing Ace can make perfect equations on trajectory and angles on the spot while he's close to death or else that totally wouldn't have worked.

Also, why doesn't Dr. Dare have some sort of shield or something to protect his glowing rock of massive importance from harm? Geez, man, you really need to plan this stuff out better.

Ever watch a really good movie and then something really stupid just kills the mood and
takes you out of the experience? That's what these eye lasers do.
So, what does Dr. Dare do when Fire Eyes Yellow Rabbit breaks out of his crystal prison and destroys his Jade Serpent Crystal's apparatus? Scream "You'll never catch me!" and run, of course. Ahahaha, what a puss. Even Bushroot would be ashamed, and he turned running and hiding into an art form in the early 90's.

Also, let me be the first to tell you that, even though he has a fist made out of solid stone, he never actually uses the damn thing, not once in the entire series. Come on, man, don't tell me those glowing cybernetic-like parts of yours are just for show, Dr. Dare. Go all The Thing on their asses!

...wait, if Dr. Dare can control rocks, does that mean he can control one fourth of the Fantastic Four?

But then again, considering how fast the furries reduced his golems to pebbles, his arm would
probably shatter and would hurt like hell.
His attempt at escape doesn't work out too well for him, partly because his room only has one exit and he was running in the opposite direction, and partly because Lexi kicks him down a flight of stairs and conveniently in front of Ace Bunny. Aw yeah, now we're going to see these two fight mano-a-mano, man vs. lagomorph, villain vs. soft and cuddly forest creature with laser eyes. Surely this is going to be an epic showdown, right?

Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, reimagined by George Lucas. In fact, Ace pretty much hands his ass to him without breaking a sweat. That's both disappointing and strangely accurate. 

Even with the giant boulder arm, he's still a pasty little nerd.
Since a balding, overweight scientist who stayed indoors for several years is ineffective against an experienced superhero with lots of physical and martial arts training under his belt, Dr. Dare decides to cheat and use the power of the Jade Serpent Crystal in his staff in a last ditch attempt to turn his hated enemies into stone. Surely this will gain him an upper hand in the fight, right?

Oh, I see someone specced in the Destruction talent tree.
Still no, because the moment he uses his last-ditch fossilizing laser, Ace Bunny just angles his sword (in a way that doesn't look like he put much effort into it either) and the beam shoots right back at the chubby little egghead, turning him into stone. You know, Dr. Dare, maybe shooting a laser at the rabbit who knows how to refract lasers at his desired targets instantly isn't such a good idea. At least Acmetropolis is free from his rock puns now.

I believe TVTropes calls this "Death by Irony" or "Hoist by His Own Petard".
With Dr. Dare now a horrible nightmare-inducing statue, no doubt creating loads of questions involving whether or not he can still think within his rock prison, there's just the small matter and reverting everything back to the status quo, regardless of how little it makes sense considering the state of the buildings and whether or not the citizens of Acmetropolis would actually live through that. All while Dr. Dare is filling the room with his psychic screams of terror and agony. Looks like it's a job for Deux Ex Machina Coyote and his ability to know anything and everything on account he's a genius.

Tech E. Coyote insists that he knows what he's doing, all while sounding like a pompous jerk. (he says "We? What's with the we?") Tech, just shut up. The only reason I'm tolerating you is because the pompousness is still a lot better than whatever personality Ace has. The only personality traits I could peg on Ace were "heroic" and "cocky", and honestly, every protagonist in every cartoon ever has those traits.

"Brilliance. That's all I can say. Sheer, unadulterated brilliance!"
Long story short, Tech E. Coyote saves the entire world by waving a hand across some crystals (I don't know either), everything's restored to normal despite the fact those buildings should've suffered some structural damage, the heroes receive a year's worth of chinese food and nothing else for saving the entire damn city, the Tasmanian devil eats all of the food, and overall no one seems to care that all of those tectonic plates shifting unnaturally must've killed a countless amount of people and ruined the planet's geological structure permanently.

Who cares? Chinese food!
Oh, but what ever happened to Dr. Dare? Well, apparently they moved his petrified body into a park. Ha ha, it's funny because now dogs can pee on him and pigeons can crap on him, all while he can see and feel everything but can't do a thing about it. Because that's heroic, right?

Also, what kind of weirdass park would have a statue in the shape of a crazed supervillain screaming in fear? That's kind of morbid, city of Acmetropolis. I think I'll be spending my summer in Gotham City instead, thank you very much.

Imagine him being in that state for centuries, always seeing, always feeling...
It's a shame none of the Loonatics are pigs, because we need someone to burst through the screen and say "Ab-ab-ab-a-that's all folks!" because we just reached the end of this episode.

The Moral of this Cartoon
If someone suffers immense mental trauma from a scarring physical transformation, treat them as an outcast. After all, they're no longer human. Why should they get the same doctors and psychologists as you and I?

Final Verdict
I hate to say it, but this show was not the worst thing I've seen inflicted on the Looney Tunes brand name. Before anybody sends me an angry e-mail, I don't hate this show. I like to imagine that if I saw this when it came out, it probably would've been weird and confusing to watch, but then again, I'm looking this through the lens of an era that has Baby Looney Tunes and the Looney Tunes Show or, hell, those direct-to-video 70's Looney Tunes movies that just recycled the shorts inbetween downgraded animation. Therefore I can't bring myself to be too mad at this show. Oh, this isn't great, far from it, but at least it didn't fill my screen with the pained, suicidal screams of animators like Baby Looney Tunes did.

Plus, you know, I like the superhero genre as a rule. There's just an inherit charm to watching varied superheroes punch varied supervillains. Dr. Dare was freaking ridiculous, but to me, he was the fun kind of ridiculous.

If you look at it objectively as just a show, it's your basic run-of-the-mill superhero series with a varied rogue gallery, and this guy was the resident "scientist gets either mutated or turned into a cyborg in an accident and goes insane" character.

As for this episode, this episode had a potential to be really good but it was just average to mildly entertaining. Dr. Dare had the potential to be a really interesting bad guy (with mad scientists, the material practically writes itself), but it feels like what we're seeing on-screen was the end result of what could've been a sympathetic character after one too many rewrites. He had a decent motive and his theme was pretty exploitable, but in the end, they didn't really take advantage of the character and he ended up feeling like he wasted a lot of potential. (and I keep reusing this word) If I were doing this episode, I'd personally play up the sympathy and raw bitterness. If he wants to live on the surface, make it more apparent. More feeling, please. I want to be personally invested in these characters.

So yeah, I feel that this episode had some neat ideas but they were kind of poorly executed. I can't really say this show is bad, but I can't really say that this show is downright amazing. And, when the animation isn't reusing previous shots (which happens a lot less than you'd think, but I hate it when any cartoon does this), it can be pretty nice. So yeah, if I were to base my opinion on the show with just this episode, I would give it a "Eh, it's okay, I guess. It could be a LOT better, but it's not completely, horrifically bad".

Now if you'll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to eat my weight in lo mein.