This film has been in what people call “development hell” for a while now, and it would appear that it’s been put on hiatus once again, but test footage of the elusive “Thundercats” film has been released, according to ScreenCrave via Flixist.
Like stated, it’s test footage, so it’s probably a bit pointless to mercilessly critique it, seeing as how I’m sure things would have been changed (or already have been changed) if the film was on a “full steam ahead” course to post-production, but still, let’s take a closer look at the footage (which you can view below).
It would seem the 3D-generated designs of the classic characters focus more on the “human” aspect of the humanoid cat creatures, which is a bit saddening, because the main allure of the characters were that they were cats. Granted, Lion-O never really looked completely like a cat, but he looked more feline than this CGI version. And I’m not even sure who this lizard-like dude is. Apparently, he’s a villain’s crony.
On ScreenCrave, the blogger stated that Lion-O looks like “a dumb jock”, and I think they’re on to something with that assessment. That jocky, all-American idea that’s being infused in this version of Lion-O doesn’t fit with the otherworldliness of “Third Earth”. I’m not trying to down America, because I’m an American, but “high school quarterback” doesn’t need to be anywhere in Lion-O’s personality. Intense bodybuilder, perhaps, but not high school quarterback. Sure, we’re seeing a younger Lion-O, but he doesn’t have to be juvenile; even Conan the Barbarian, what with all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles, went through a hero’s journey.
Also, the animation needs to be much smoother. Yes, it is test footage, but one hopes that the animation work that’s been done on this film isn’t like what was shown in the test footage.
In any event, if you can’t wait until the movie to get your “Thundercats” fix, a new cartoon show is supposed to be coming out this year. Like the film, the tv show is supposed to chronicle the years before Lion-O was the fearless leader we know him as.
For those not in the know, “Thundercats” was originally an action cartoon made in the 1980s about a group of feline humanoid heroes who were constantly fighting for Third Earth’s safety from the dreaded sorcerer Mumm-Ra.