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May 18, 2004

{     Jonny Quest The Complete First Season DVD     }    

My favorite thing about this cartoon has always been Race Bannon. When I was a kid, he was the ultimate badass- a government agent turned bodyguard who was always punching dudes out. Looking back, he's still cool- just in a male nanny, Dr. Quest's life-partner, government agent turned bodyguard who is always punching dudes out kinda way. There’s no point in trying to deny the unintended (or is it?) homoerotic subtext of Jonny Quest, and part of enjoying this cartoon lies in embracing everything that is naïve and archaic about it. Whether it’s Dr. Quest’s lengthy explanation of the miraculous scientific breakthrough the “LASER”, or Race Bannon calling a tribe of South American natives “ignorant savages” and “heathen monkeys” (all while painted purple with berry juice to resemble their angry water god) there is plenty to marvel at in this gem of a bygone era. Sure, it’s cheesier than Sharp Cheddar Cheez Whiz served on a Cheezit, but therein lies the charm. There are plenty of other violations of the cartoon code of decency too. People die left and right in every episode of Jonny Quest- whether in an explosion, at the hands of an enraged jungle cat or by way of a sneaky poison needle. The villains are truly slimy- scary desperate men who will kill for a quick buck, or sometimes just for the hell of it. Bombastic stereotypes abound, as does the kidnapping and bondage of children, and the occasional digression with Race giving the boys a wrestling lesson on the beach in their undershorts- it’s sometimes a little too much to handle. The design and animation are really outstanding, even by today’s standards, with lots of thick lines, dark shading and lush painted backgrounds. The whole thing has the feel of a 50’s action comic come to life, and the digitalization process has really cleaned things up, revitalizing the color and clarity of the cels. Perhaps the most amazing and underappreciated thing about this series is it’s incredible soundtrack- a mixture of moody spy themes and rousing adventure scores. It’s loud and brassy and full of movement and action, carrying the story when the occasionally too-thin plot breaks down into calamity or a wild chase scene. Innovative beyond words, they really don’t make ‘em like this anymore. (Despite failed efforts to revive the show with EXTREME VIRTUAL REALITY COMPUTER GRAPHICS in the late 90's.) As much as I love the Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man cartoons of my youth, none of them match the violence, the art-direction and animation or the intelligence of Jonny Quest. Season One packs in a whopping 659 pulp-adventure filled minutes, including a vintage commercial and other wacky special features. It just may be the best adventure cartoon ever.

     » Hadji says, "SIM, SIM, SALLAH-BIM! Buy Season One from DeepDiscountDVD!"



Posted by: Stacichang at June 21, 2009 4:53 AM
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