Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rewatching Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

A few weeks ago I picked up the Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future DVD box set.  Mainly for a little nostalgia, but also to fill some holes in my 80s cartoons and children show collection.  I remember Captain power being a very hyped so so live action and CG affair that was essentially another 30 minute long toy commercial.  I went in to watching it with the idea that it was going to be a little hokie.  It was, BUT it worked, and the elements that were good were really good.

When you begin watching this your eyes make their way to the top gun haircuts and the overuse of rock quarries, but as you get into it you see a very ambitious show with good writing and really some state of the art special effects.  A lot of the effects were used for the first time in this show.  CG characters shared the screen with live actions characters.  This was one of the first TV shows to do this!  So in a way it was cutting edge.  

There was another cutting edge technology that made this show stand out.  As I said earlier this was meant to be a product to help promote a toy line of the same name.  The toys were about the same size of the GI Joes of the time with similar articulation.  Nothing real speacial in with he figures, but some of the other items WERE special.  These toys interacted with the TV show.  Within the program there are characters and vehicles with large computer generated lights on them.  these colorful lights would bounce a signal back to the toy and the child could be in the firefights along with the heroes, and the toy would keep score.  This was the big marketing gemic of the show.  Children would get the toy and then watch the show to play!  Genius really.

The show had some well known names attached to it as well.  Garry Goddard had worked with Mattel previously as the director of the Masters of the universe movie.  Actually there was a similar feel between the two shows.  Also J. Michael Straczynski wrote for the program.  He was already a well known name in children shows, and was establishing himself as a great chi-fi author as well.

As I watched the show I took notice of the costumes.  I remember as a child being pulled in by the (literally) shiny costumes that the heroes wore, and the bionic costumes of the bad guys.  Seeing them again I have a greater appreciation for these costumes.  They are well done and really are the heart of the show.  If you can get past the Power Rangers esque way the costumes appear for the heroes you’ll really enjoy them.

The show was gritty and was strangely character driven.  Digging into the pasts of many of the heroes.  While doing this they introduced people from their past, weaving an intricate story of the what happened to lead up to this point.  A very good portrait is painted as to what happened in the “Metal Wars.”  The characters we meet are all very real.

I recommend you taking a look at this cult show regardless if you are an 80s media fan or a sci-fi fan it is worth the look.

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