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Author Topic: Galaxy Rangers, ep.1: "Phoenix"  (Read 2206 times)
akiratubo
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« on: August 16, 2007, 12:32:18 PM »

Galaxy Rangers is an 80s cartoon I didn't get to see much.  In fact, I'm not sure I ever saw more than a couple of episodes.  However, a few things about it stuck out in my memory: the completely kick-ass intro song and animation for starters, and the fact that one of the main characters was an artificially created super human (probably the first time I ever saw that particular cliche).  Mostly, though, I remembered that intro.  When I discovered it again on You Tube, I must have watched it over and over for fifteen minutes.  I would suddenly and randomly bust it out at work, complete with imitating the heroes' poses.

Please note that I haven't watched any full episodes until now.  I was afraid the show itself couldn't possibly live up to that intro.  Does it?  Let's find out.

First, I'm going to cover the intro:

In 2086, two peaceful aliens journeyed to Earth, seeking our help.  In return, they gave us the plans for our first Hyperdrive, allowing manking to open the doors to the STARS!  We have assembled a team of unique individuals to protect Earth and our allies -- courageous pioneers committed to the highest ideals of justice and dedicated to preserving law and order across the new Frontier!  These are the adventures of the GALAXY RANGERS!

Hell, we haven't seen them do anything yet and I'm sold!  But the intro isn't done yet, oh Heavens no.  Some low-key guitar licks have been playing over the narration (sounds kind of like "Highway to the Danger Zone").  Suddenly, the music EXPLODES when we see a Galaxy Ranger badge appear in a burst of fire and light.  The camera swirls around each of the four rangers as they appear in burst of light and strike little poses that succinctly establish everything we really need to know about their abilities and personalities.  Zachary fires a blast from his arm gun, Niko gets into a martial arts stance, Walter makes some holograms from his computer thingie, and Goose does some fancy moves with his pistols.  The animation is incredible here, the equal of anything else you'll find from the 1980s.  Then, of course, there's the song.

Into these worlds of unknown danger they ride
They're the Galaxy Rangers, heroes in the sky!
NO GUTS NO GLORY!
Oh, taking a stand!
Ready to prove it again!

Wonderful.  Beautiful.  You can't see it, but there's a tear in my eye.  If I had died right after seeing that, I'd have died a happy man.

With a theme song like that, these guys are True Heroes.  There's just no question.

On to the show.

Galaxy Ranger Zachary Foxx (voiced by Jerry Orbach!), his family, and ambassadors Waldo and Zozo (the two "friendly aliens" from the intro) are on their way to the planet Kirwin to see a demonstration of Kirwin's new planetary defense force field.  Waldo, who is from Kirwin, is the short, lagomorph-like alien and Waldo is the tall, bald, Fu-Manchu-looking one.  The group exchanges some friendly banter.

Back on Kirwin, the indigenous people (known and "Kiwis") are farming.  They're apparently pretty good at it, since a disembodied voice -- I think he's supposed to be talking to Zachary -- says that the Kiwis should be able to grow enough food to feed the entire League of Planets.  A Kiwi, another of Waldo's race (Wikipedia says they're "Andorians"), and a human are talking about some new kind of engineered plant.  It's very nutritious but tastes like shoe leather.  This scene is interrupted by an alert; a ship is approaching.  Given the ominous music that coincides with its arrival, I'm guessing its an evil ship.

We cut to the ship.  It looks kind of like something straight out of Gundam.  I half expected Char Aznoble to be on board.  Oh, and it's red, so that settles any question of it being evil or not.  There are two beings on board, dressed a little like Bedouins.  They have no apparent faces but, when they speak, red lights (evil!) twinkle in the spot you would expect a face to be.  It seems they're interested in capturing some humans.  One of them fondles a red (evil!) jewel and two monstrous faces appear inside it.  Ok.  One of the two space-Bedouins says something about capturing human life force, BWAHAHAHAHA.  What did I tell you?  Evil.

Back on Kirwin, they decide to go ahead and power up their force field, even though "it hasn't been debugged".  The animation for the force field is pretty neat, though I notice a rather glaring flaw in its design.  The force field appears to be powered by a central source, beaming energy to thousands and thousands of small relays in orbit around the planet.  Seems to me that someone could easily blow up a few of those relays and put a hole in the field, if not collapse it entirely.

Oh, and just let me interject here:  I love all the 80s anime sound effects they've got going on in this cartoon.  If you were around back then, you'll recognize them immediately.

The Space Bedouins (I wish they'd identify who they really are!) are unimpressed with the force field and launch "Crown Fighters".  These are robots, or perhaps guys in armor, who look more than a little like Mazinger Z.  They're piloting small, well-armed craft.  They blow up a few relays and create a huge hole in the shield.  What did I tell you?  By the way, the music in this scene is HORRIBLE.  It sounds like a cat walking on a Casio keyboard.

The Crown Fighters fly down to the farming community and begin blowing up buildings, strafing children, and doing other mean stuff.  There's one hilarious moment where one of the Crown Fighters flies smack-dab into a silo!  "I'm coming in too low.  Ahhh."  BOOM!

A larger shuttle lands, disgoring Crown Fighters on horses.  Robot horses.  And -- yes! -- the robot horses have a reddish tint in a couple of shots, so they are officially evil robot horses.  These guys beat up some Kiwis, shoot a bunch of humans in the back, and take them back to the mothership.  I thought it was pretty cool that they were actually killing people, by shooting them in the back no less, but then I remembered that the Space Bedouins wanted them alive.  So, darn, they must just be stunned.

The Andorian stationed on Kiwi contacts the Space Bedouins and warns them against harming the captured humans.  And, finally, I think he identifies them as agents of The Crown (according to Wikipedia: yep).  The gist of his message is that humans are a lot more dangerous than the Queen of the Crown thinks and she's biting off more than she can chew.  The Space Bedouin is all like, "We'll see about that!" and the evil ship flies away.

Meanwhile, Zachary and company -- hey, Zach!  Almost forgot about ya! -- are having some trouble of their own.  No sooner are they alerted to the trouble on Kirwin than their hyperdrive goes haywire.  After a few (cough) tense moments, they disengage the hyperdrive, which burns it out.  They eventually figure out roughly where they are, about 100 light years off course.

Suddenly, a ship appears.  The heroes immediately decide that this ship had something to do with their "accident". since two ships aren't just going to happen to run across each other in the vastness of space.  Wow.  Usually in these shows, ships just happen to meet in space all the time and nothing is made of it, even though space is big.  Really big.  Anyway, this new ship is shaped like a bird -- and  red.  Uh-oh!  Uh-oh for the audience, too, for the ship is captained by a birdlike creature called Captain Kidd!  He, of course, caws and stuff when he talks.  And he has a monkey on his shoulder who repeats what he says in a squeaky voice.

Show ... starting to ... suck ...

Kidd wants to capture the humans and sell them to the Queen of the Crown.  Ok, great, just do it and quit talking!  His crew arms themselves with clubs, axes, spears, and grappling hooks (?) in preparation to board Zachary's ship.

Oh, yeah, Zachary's ship is called the Phoenix, I forgot to mention that.  The Phoenix is currently low on power, so they can't spare any for the weapons lest they lose life support.  Zachary's son, Zach, Jr., thinks he can rig up the communications laser to act as a weapon.  Zachary's useless (but kind of hot, with her big 80s hair, sweater, and all) daughter is scared, so he tasks her with monitoring life support to give her something to do.  As for Zachary's barely glimpsed wife and the two aliens, I guess they're just sitting on their duffs.

Zachary tries to warn Captain Kidd against attacking them but Kidd pays them no mind.  His ship attaches grappling cables to the Phoenix and ... the bad guys do pretty much nothing for a few minutes while Zachary exits the ship and shoots the cables loose with his handgun.

Ok, a little more happens than that, but I hate Captain Kidd so much I just skipped over it.  I haven't even mentioned the Phoenix's even more annoying AI interface.  Like I said above, the episode really started to suck here.

That's also where "Part A" ends on the You Tube clip.

Part B coming soon ...

Galaxy Rangers Episode 1, "Phoenix", Part A - complete with Intro!  Yeah!

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9QucIApYC4
« Last Edit: August 16, 2007, 12:34:06 PM by akiratubo » Logged

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akiratubo
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2007, 10:55:35 AM »

Part B

Zachary is still cutting through the grappling cables when a large alien attacks him from behind with a lightsaber.  Only a timely warning from Zachary's wife (her name turns out to be "Eliza") and some quick reflexes save Zachary.  He ends up kicking the alien out into space!  Yee-ikes, what an awful fate.  A second alien appears and shoots Zachary in the back.

Zachary awakens inside a rather sparkly force field and is taunted by Captain Kidd.

"I am a Galaxy Ranger, assigned to protect an alliance with the Andorians and the Kiwi!" Zachary asserts.
"Galaxy what?  [something something]  I scoff, human," Kidd says, dismissively.

Zachary says that Earth will pay Kidd handsomely for returning them but Kidd seems to think the Queen will pay even better for all that delicious human life force.  Apparently having watched a bunch of sci-fi films, Zachary knows just what to do in this situation: uselessly throw himself against the force field.

Meanwhile, the evil red ship is about to rendezvous with Kidd's vessel.  One of the Crown Soldiers refers to the primary Space Bedouin as "my Queen".  Ah-ha!  I'd been assuming she was just a lackey and we would be introduced to the Queen later.  Nice to have that cleared up only halfway through the episode!

Back on the Phoenix, Kidd's men still haven't captured Zachary's family, Waldo, or Zozo.  Perhaps Kidd assumes they are better armed than is actually the case and simply intends to turn over the Phoenix to the Queen and let her deal with going in to get them.  Or he could just be an idiot.  Eliza is loading the kids into a shuttle while Zozo and Waldo board Kidd's ship to free Zachary.  Yeah, that settles it: Kidd sucks!  What kind of a loser do you have to be if you have a ship totally at your mercy yet two people from it can board your ship at will using no weapons or equipment?

Please note that Zozo's space helmet is form-fitted to his ears.

Eliza leaves the kids in the shuttle to go and get more "life cans", which must be some kind of rations.  She ends up locked in the supply room with a big alien.  Some others are going after the shuttle and the kids.  I guess Kidd finally thought to send some men after them.  Eliza tells the Phoenix's damned annoying AI interface to launch the shuttle without her, which it does.  The backblast from the shuttle engines rather explicitly vaporizes Kidd's men.  Whoa.

Eliza removes her pink boots, which must have been magnetic, so that she can leap well over the head of the alien assaulting her.  But, oh yeah, that locked door.  Thinking fast, Eliza hits the alien in the crotch with one of the "life cans", then takes his gun when he drops it.  Unfortunately, he recovers rather quickly and wrestles the gun away.  The show is in grave danger of turning into a hentai movie, as it appears for all the world as if the alien intends to rape her.  The way he's got her pinned on the ground, the tenor of her struggles, and their positioning is highly suggestive.  If this isn't the lead in to a rape scene, hentai movies have been doing it wrong!  All of a sudden, I'm thankful for that damned AI interface, because it distracts the alien, allowing Eliza to pick up the gun and shoot the bastard.  She falls to her knees and cries.  Poor thing.  It's not her fault the animators were watching Legend of the Overfiend before they did this scene.

That cat starts walking back and forth on the Casio keyboard again as the Queen's ship arrives to collect the Phoenix.  Kidd and the Queen banter for a bit but I'm going to skip over it because I hate Kidd more every time I see him.  They manage to work in a "booty" pun, of course.

Elsewhere, Waldo and Zozo manage to free Zachary, thanks to the extraordinary stupidity of one of Kidd's men.  On the bridge, Kidd does a literal spit take when he finds out.  Zachary, Waldo, and Zozo manage to escape by stealing one of Kidd's shuttles and shooting through the hull of the ship.  They accomplish all this by randomly hitting buttons on the shuttle's controls until they come across the red one.  In this instance, I cannot assume it is an evil red button.  During all this, Zachary is wounded on his left side.  The music here is pretty cool but only lasts for a few seconds.

Having noted the escape, the Queen contacts Kidd and tells him he's a "plucked [something]".  Ooh!  Burn!  We get to see the Queen's true face here and I am disappointed to say she is not hot.  Not in the least.  Evil Queens are always supposed to be smoking hot, didn't somebody tell the animators that?  Hopefully, she'll have an evil daughter who fulfills the hotness quotient.

The Queen's ship snags Kidd's escape pod in a tractor beam before it can dock with the Phoenix, which seems to have gotten free from Kidd's ship at some point.  Knowing that the Queen isn't going to pay him, and remembering that Zachary said Earth would, Kidd opens fire on the Queen's ship so that he can recapture Zachary.  His method of doing so is to open fire on the pod and the Phoenix, which seems counterintuitive to me.  His gunner blows up the Phoenix, causing Zachary to utter a rather dispassionate, "Eliza!"  Come on, Orbach, put some feeling into it!  And say "eggs".  I love the way you say "eggs".

Hey!  Kidd just destroyed the Phoenix's damned annoying AI interface!  Wooooooooooooooooooo!  Yeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!  Woooooooooooooooooooo!

Anyway, turns out that Kidd somehow got Eliza onto his ship.  She must have been taken sometime since we last saw her.  Kidd activates his hyperdrive and gets out of there before the Queen can retaliate.  The shuttle from Kidd's ship has a hyperdrive, too, which Zachary, Zozo, and Waldo use to escape.

All of a sudden, we seem to be in a different episode.  We're back on Earth and some disembodied voice is telling Zachary that his "report" has convinced Galaxy Ranger command to put him in charge of a special team.  The voice keeps talking while we are brusquely introduced to Doc, Niko, and Goose and they are given their Series 5 powers.  The entire left side of Zachary's body is now cybernetic and he's got an arm cannon, Doc can use a computer very well (what a power!), Niko's psychic abilities are enhanced, and Goose is invincible.  Zachary's kids show up for a little reunion and -- no ...

The AI Interface from the Phoenix pops up on a monitor and pledges to stick with Zachary!

Excuse me, I need a drink.

Ah, that helped a little.  Up until that abrupt and disconnected ending, Galaxy Rangers ep. 1 wasn't half bad.  With its two-and-a-half almost completely unconnected plot threads, it shows some signs of being edited down from a longer pilot into a twenty-two minute episode, particularly there at the end. I'm willing to bet some vignettes introducing us to the other three Rangers were cut, and probably much more.

The episode was daring enough to be a real downer.  The villains effortlessly broke Kirwin's defense shield, sacked at least one peaceful village, successfully captured humans, and Kidd destroyed the Phoenix and made off with the lead character's wife!  All this makes the villains seem (gasp) dangerous and powerful.  The violence quotient is surprisingly high and intense.  Quite a few of Kidd's men get killed, and there's no question that they died or not.  Then, of course, there's the highly disturbing attack on Eliza with its overtones of rape.  And let's not forget that Eliza ends up in Kidd's hands with very little hope of being rescued, presumably to suffer horribly at the hands of Kidd and his crew.

All in all, this episode certainly did NOT live up to the intro.  Despite some strong individual scenes, the completely bungled introduction of the other Rangers undid the episode at the last minute, literally.  I hope other episodes raise the bar considerably.

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUhia1N198Y
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