Avatar: Rise of the Naughties Cartoon

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Latimer: As a nineties kid, I always felt like we had the best cartoons – all the Marvel cartoons, Gargoyles, Animals of Farthing Wood, Mummy’s Alive, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Batman… the list goes on!

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Those cartoons had proper, involved story-lines.

But somewhere in the late nineties cartoons got fixed on this one episode, one story, structure, that I never liked. I always missed the ‘larger picture’, the big story arcs.

Then, around this time, I more or less stopped watching cartoons – so they remained, in my mind, fixed in that ‘one episode, one unconnected story’ structure.

In slightly later life, I swapped Western cartoons for Eastern ones. This would be around the time my obsession with anime kicked in. In anime, big story-lines never went out of style!!

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I noticed early in the naughties Western cartoons started to taken on this East-meets-West style; an almost ‘anime but not quite, style’. I think it was due to the popularity of anime at the time.

That was probably what brought me slightly back to Western cartoons.

I think out of all those new ‘East-meets-West’ cartoon series, Avatar, has got to be one of the best.

NICKELODEON THE LAST AIRBENDER

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Forget that terrible movie version. The cartoon is where it’s at!

Avatar is a great show. I was late to the game – I haven’t seen all of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but am a pretty big follower of Avatar: Legend of Korra.

I love the style, music and feel of Avatar… It’s a well-thought out story-line, with interesting characters, with interesting ethnic backgrounds. Basically the story is focused on a world where people have the power of controlling (bending) elements; water, fire, earth and air. The avatar is the one person in the world that can do all four and is sort of the, near as I can tell, spiritual and bending guide of the people. A big figure-head basically.

 

When the avatar dies, the next avatar is born and so on….

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So, when the new Avatar Korra takes centre-stage, you know that the previous Avatar, Aang, is dead.

Which is pretty sad actually, given that the last time we see him is as this chipper 12 year old kid who saved the world. We don’t really get time to grieve over that, we just have to accept it, which is… yeah kind of rough!

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But there’s lots of cool, funny characters in Legend of Korra too (and Korra is a very strong female lead, so that’s pretty cool!)

My favourite characters are Bolin and his little red panda Pabu – Bolin is just brilliant…

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Okay, so maybe the best cartoons didn’t end with the 90s, maybe there are lots more to come! 🙂

Nineties Time Warp

Ridley: I adored the nineties. My brother says I’m stuck in a nineties time warp. The TV shows, the movies, the music, I still love it all. I definitely think I have a bit of that ‘back in my day’ syndrome. Who knows what I’ll be like later in life when I’m already like this in my twenties!

I’ve watched two films that were made in the nineties in the last few days, I have to say, I never grow tired of them. Even though it’s been many years since they were first released, people still sit down and become enthralled by them again. There were numerous epic thrillers and disaster films made during that time, but they also had heart. In the middle of the attacking aliens, stomping giant monsters and reincarnated mummies, there were also well told touching stories which centred around the characters. The heroes were flawed, damaged and vulnerable. The relationships were fantastic and over came all the odds.

What was not to love?

Does anyone remember these:

My my, did my obsession with dinosaurs ever start after I watched this film. It was just fantastic, wasn’t it? With the velociraptors learning to open doors; ‘Clever girl,’ to the scene where the giant T-Rex bursts out of the trees to storm after the Jeep? As Ron Weasley would say, ‘Bloody Hell’!

The funny thing is, I have the television on as I’m writing this and Twister is on on Sky Modern Greats. I’ve seen this film dozens of times, if I notice it’s on, I’ll grab a cup of tea, change over and watch it. It’s one of my favourites, with the rekindled love between the two main characters, the epic tornadoes and the team’s pursuit to gain information about them so they can save lives. This need is particularly heightened and made more personal for the audience when the main character’s loveable aunt, who we’ve already met, is caught unaware by a tornado and nearly killed. The ending, while more than likely quite unrealistic, is still fantastic!

Anna and the King is such a heart wrenching tale, but definitely one to watch. Plus Tom Felton (the guy who plays Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) is Anna’s son in it! He’s so young looking!

Ah, surely everyone knows Braveheart? The quotes from it are brilliant.

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”

Who knew a board game could be so dangerous. If you hear those drums, run, especially if they’re coming from a Monopoly box, who knows what would happen if you were pulled in there! Haha. No, seriously, think about it, it’s quite a unique storyline, isn’t it? (this is where about a dozen people tell me there’s a hundred other ‘the board game came to life’ stories out there!) Again, there’s action, adventure, overcoming the odds and a love story in the middle of it all. It may be fantastical with crazy knife throwing monkeys (i loved them), hunters and monsoons, but fundamentally we can all relate to the characters and how they’re feeling. The feelings we have are just because of more mundane less dangerous reasons, we generally don’t have stampeding wild animals bursting through our houses. 

Godzilla, he fed into my dinosaur obsession! I used to watch the old old Godzilla films too, where you could see the strings attached to the flying monsters! Haha.

Ah, Will Smith and Tommy Lee, could you ever fault a combination like that?? 

Magical tiny creatures fight against the giant, human loggers trying to destroy their home. Really great!

Another one up there on the pedestal with Twister. I’ve seen this a million times and I still get a bit teary-eyed when the president gives his speech as the soldiers are off to begin their aerial attack.

“Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day! 

This is played EVERY Christmas in my house, particularly as we’re putting up the Christmas tree. I love the music and the Muppets! Bit early in the year for this I know, still a great song though!

So creepy, the black rider’s teeth are like a shark’s fangs, he always made my skin crawl! Absolutely great though and while it’s another Gothic type film from Johnny Depp, it’s a good one. 

Honestly I got a bit tired of these films after awhile, but I still loved the first one when it came out. Da Da dada da….

The Lion King, need I say more? And every other Disney film that came out in the nineties should go here, I just figured it didn’t need to be said. 🙂

A Bruce Willis film, quite scifi-y and very different from his other movies, but brilliant nonetheless and a great ending!

The Mummy, I’ll include two and three in this, who doesn’t love them? They have an ancient love story, a modern one, magic, Egyptian everything (both Latimer and I at one point-separately too, we didn’t know each other at the time-both wanted to be Egyptianologists when we were younger! Crazy, eh?). There were also gun fights and handsome sword-wielding Medjai in these movies! While I’m aware they made four films, I only count the three with Rachel Weisz playing the mother as the proper ones, that last one, while it had Yetis, I didn’t really like it.   

Cult classic. If you haven’t seen this, then you’re really missing out. It’s a skilfully made stop motion animation, Tim Burton is behind it (another one he also produced in the nineties was James and the Giant Peach). Nightmare Before Christmas also had catchy songs! 

Loved the first film….I got lost though when I watched the rest of them 😀

Like Twister, but with a volcano!

Ah Pixar, I’ve loved all their films. This was the start of a fantastic trilogy. 

‘Yippie-kai-yay….’ I love all of them.

Brilliant sound track by Aerosmith came along with this. The end of the world is upon us and we follow the struggles of the oil drilling team to save us all. This film is fantastic, I still well up in parts when I watch it too. Another great Bruce Willis film!

Even though everyone knew the ending going in, the ship sinks, it’s quite a touching film. You couldn’t help but be moved, knowing that ultimately it’s a true story. Obviously not the part with Leo and Kate falling in love and her throwing off the shackles of her class, no it’s the bit where hundreds of people perished in the horrific accident all those years ago. Absolutely heart-wrenching.

Once my favourite Bond, Pierce Brosnan has since been replace by Daniel Craig, how fickle I am! Still, fun films to watch!

Ah Nick Cage, personally I think it’s one of his best films! And John Malkovich is in this, you couldn’t go wrong with him!

And that’s just scratching the surface of what we used to watch in the 90s! (there was also My Neighbor Totoro, The Rescuers Down Under, Dragonheart, My Girl, Home Alone)

As you scroll down through the movie posters, for the ones you’ve seen, you remember them, don’t you? You remember the people, the story, how it made you feel, where you were when you first watched it? I know I do! 

I’m not saying there aren’t good films being made now, there are, numerous ones, but for some of them these days, it looks like (not even trained!) monkeys pushed buttons and that was how they decided on what would happen in them. A lot of them really don’t feel like they’ll endure as long as some of the films made in the nineties have done-most of which have become modern greats.

Am I wrong? Do other people love these as much as me? No?

*sigh*  🙂