Archives for category: Pop Culture

My Favorite Female Dexter’s Laboratory Character:

Lee Lee (Voice of Kath Soucie), the Asian friend to Dexter’s sister Dee Dee, even though she’s a minor or background character from the first seasons of the show.

My Main Blue Man:

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), the 10 foot tall blue alien/human hybrid hero of James Cameron’s AVATAR (2009), the visuals and colors of which I like the most out of Jim Cameron’s 2009 3-D epic space opera.

So, that’s my 20th post in this blog.

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This is the real main reason why I like James Cameron’s AVATAR, the 2009 science fiction stereoscopic 3D epic space opera which is not to be confused, under penalty of death, with the Nickelodeon show of the same title.

You see, while the plot is predictable and despite the characters having one dimensional personality traits (though I like Jake Sully and his Avatar body and called him “My Main Blue Man”), out of all the recent movies, TV shows and animated cartoons that came out these days, especially all the recent big budget Hollywood blockbusters, James Cameron’s AVATAR, even in 3D (which is the very best way to see AVATAR the way it was meant to be seen even in the cinema), has the most amazing visuals imaginable as well as the prettiest colors imaginable.

So, besides me, what did you think of the amazing visuals and the pretty colors of James Cameron’s AVATAR?

I love Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, for they are my three most favorite TV shows and cartoons of all time, as much as James Cameron’s 2009 3D Sci-Fi action film AVATAR is my most favorite movie of all time (mainly because out of all the recent movies that came out these days, James Cameron’s AVATAR has, even in 3-D, the most amazing visuals and prettiest colors imaginable).

Now, if I were a filmmaker, film director and even animation artist, I would love to pay homage to Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Dexter’s Lab and Samurai Jack, especially in ways best suited to the US-based, Russian-born animation director’s talents.

In the case of my own projects, while it might use and share the same cartoon characters as Dexter’s Lab and/or Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls, I would also be clear in my intention that my own big screen hand drawn animated epic feature film project, which may be called “The Princess of Shangara”, would be unrelated to the rest of any of those already-established cartoon franchises from the 1990’s.

Now, there had been talk of somebody doing a theatrical big screen live action movie based on any of my three favorite TV shows, Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls and/or Samurai Jack-but it would take me, if I were to be an animation artist and filmmaker and film director, to cast my unique vision of a three-part theatrical big screen hand drawn animated epic inspired not only by Dexter’s Lab, PPG and/or Samurai Jack, and especially characters from any of the former two shows but also by, among other sources, the tale of the legendary Ancient Chinese female warrior Mulan (besides Disney’s 1998 animated interpretation of that ancient Chinese legend).

In fact, in my interpretation of the Ancient Chinese legend and folk fable of Mulan, I should take the more nonmusical route than Disney’s Mulan.

In the case of my movie, “The Princess of Shangara”, there would not only be characters from Dexter’s Lab and/or PPG, but also some slight DNA from Genndy Tartakovsky’s work, especially on Dexter, PPG, and Samurai Jack. Fans of Dexter’s Lab, PPG, Samurai Jack and even Classic Cartoon Network may notice some things, especially during the funnier moments, and especially during the more action-packed moments and especially imagery inspired by those of  Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken, and other people who used to work on the likes of Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory and the like.

It won’t be like any other animated feature on the big screen, for I’m gonna use music, sound design, cinematic and epic storytelling and very stylized 2D and 3D backgrounds to create mood, atmosphere and real emotional depth (though done almost entirely in pantomime) as the three main characters travels.

I’m gonna set out to make my animated three-part epic, The Princess of Shangara, not only epic and cinematic in scope, scale or even length, but to also incorporate everything I wanted in a action film like this: action, humor, intricate artistry, and minimal dialogue, some of it in an invented language.

If I combine these elements with my unique visual style and enthralling storylines, I may bring the kind of high energy to the three movies which together would made up the single story of Princess of Shangara  and give audiences on the big screen something they had never experience before in live action or animated form on the big screen.

Even if The Princess of Shangara part I through part III should be made in Cinemascope widescreen, and even if the unique visuals of Princess of Shangara would contain lush, painterly 3D and 2D backgrounds and hand drawn cartoon characters drawn as solid colors without any thick black lines, I wanted The Princess of Shangara to be flat and highly stylized-a lot of lighting and mood-it would be a theatrical big screen hand drawn animated epic with very little dialogue (some of it in a invented language) and more about the action, simple stories and the three main characters.

The three main characters in The Princess of Shangara in my case would be Lilimaia (Dee Dee’s Asian Friend Lee Lee, as well as The Princess of Shangara of the title), Daphne (Dexter’s Sister Dee Dee) and Mikaela (Dee Dee’s African American friend Mee Mee).

And while simple, the concept and back-story of The Princess of Shangara would leave room for much layering:

Lilimaia (Lee Lee) is a proud and pure warrior maiden of few words who is as mighty, brave and noble as she is young, fair and beautiful, and who is prophesized to be the one to bring about the downfall of the evil Dark Lord Mandark.

Many ages before, Mandark is warned that a newborn Princess of Shangara bearing a special mark would grow up to dispose him. 6 months from the birth of just such a child, Lilimaia’s father, The King of Shangara, had sent her away to be raised by a Shangaran-born book merchant named Taikiroh, and to also study with her world’s foremost scholars as well as to be trained in martial arts and stuff.

Along the way, Lilimaia (who looks physically just like Dee Dee’s Asian friend Lee Lee) befriends two girls, Daphne (a blonde girl who is physically just like Dee Dee from Dexter’s Lab) and Mikaela (a black girl who is physically just like Dee Dee’s black friend Mee Mee), and in the course of the three girls’ travels, they encounters exotic and mythical civilizations, living dinosaurs and other living Mesozoic fauna that are Triassic, Jurassic and/or Cretaceous by age, fire-breathing dragons and half-lion, half eagle griffins, rugged, beautiful landscapes and primeval forests, and modern urban cityscapes with fantastic trappings.

Eventually, with the help of Mikaela, Daphne and Daphne’s estranged boy genius brother Odysseus (Dexter) who has a fully equipped secret lab beneath the mountains, Lilimaia fully understood that she must accept the responsibility of her destiny. And so, with her mind and body sharply honed, Lilimaia returns home a woman as mighty, brave and noble a warrior as she is young, fair and beautiful a maiden (sort of like the legendary Mulan), and ready to vanquish Mandark and his evil forces and end Mandark’s attempts of conquest and enslavement of her world as well as to end Mandark’s evil reign. And with the help of Lilimaia’s friends and Daphne’s brother, Lilimaia finally managed to defeat Mandark and assume the throne that is rightfully hers.

The Princess of Shangara is going to be epic, awesome, good, great, and even cool, just like if not even more so than Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip and Samurai Jack, or would it?

Ever since my childhood, I have always been thinking about, talking about, and even toying with the idea of casting animated cartoon characters (especially those from the 1990’s as well as those from Cartoon Network’s Dexter’s Laboratory such as Dexter, Dee Dee, her friends Lee Lee and Mee Mee, and Mandark, as well as The Powerpuff Girls’ Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, Professor Utonium and Mojo Jojo, or the like) in a vast canvas possibly on the scale and scope of especially Wagner’s Ring Cycle, an epic tale that may require no more or less than a dozen movies, done entirely back-to-back or more or less concurrently, to tell in full.
That’s my deepest desire.

Well, you guys know what sparked my fascination and obsession with dinosaurs that dates all the way back to my early childhood. It was back in the day of the early or mid 1990’s.

I have these images of these animals in my head, when I was a little baby or toddler. It was a half hour VHS hosted by Eric Broadman and the original voice of Space Ghost (the original 1966 Hanna Barbara cartoon, not the more popular Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and other William Street productions for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.), Gary Owens.

It is called…More Dinosaurs. I will tell you about what I saw in full detail…

It all started with Gary Owens meeting Eric Broadman in what is supposed to be the home of Donald F. Glut (author of the Empire Strikes Back novelization). It then shows photos of the early dinosaur hunters like O.C. Marsh and E.D. Cope, which are the guys who are involved in the bone wars of the late 19th century.

It then shows Eric saying how to find more dinosaurs, and then zooms in to the mouth of a tyrannosaur and there is a well done opening title sequences fabricated from images of the ever-popular 1981 William Stout book, the Dinosaurs: A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era (reissued in 2000 as the New Dinosaurs, y’know, the reissue of William Stout’s dinosaur book that I have in my house).

It then shows dinosaur caricatures of Gary and Eric before moving on to a 1985 animation festival opening where a punk-dressed, anthropomorphic dinosaur juvenile delinquent making a graffiti outside a building before being chased off by the sounds of police siren alarms and shouts from the off-screen police (“HEY YOU!”) and then show what he wrote in the grafitti… Mokele-mbembe (translating from the languages of the African natives of the Congo region, it meant “creature that blocks the four rivers”), which is described by Herman Regusters (or whatever I say his last name) as a living 35 feet sauropod dinosaur.

It then show Eric Broadman documenting Herman’s failed attempts to find that living sauropod the African natives called Mokele-mbembe via video footage that has recovered from the jungles of Congo.

Eric narrates that Mokele-mbembe’s footprints were discovered in 1776 (around the time the Americans declare their independence from the UK, giving birth to the United States of America) and says that natives were humiliating and eating remnants/members of that sauropod’s family.

It then shows Charles R. Knight’s 1897 reconstruction of a sauropod by the name of Amphicoelias and then stills of what is used to be Mokele-mbembe swimming in the Congo river that Herman took in his failed attempt to find that dinosaur.

Well, Eric was sitting in the park and reminding me or us that the only way to see a living dinosaur was to dinosaur films like Disney ill-fated 1985 Touchstone Pictures release, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (which feature some great pre-Jurassic Park animatronic dinosaurs or brontosaurs or sauropods) followed by behind the scenes clips of that film (including the making of the animatronic brontosaurs) and a clip from that film as well.

It then show Gary, who, in front of those zany and wacky dinosaur puppets, and while giving way to clips from the 1925 silent version of the Lost World, narrates that the first full length feature film to include dinosaurs might be that 1925 silent version of the Lost World, whose stop motion dinosaurs were brought to life by some guy who would later bring to life Kong and the Dinosaurs in the Original 1933 King Kong (later remade by Peter Jackson in 2005). He said it was a huge success in 1925 and indicates that in the climax of the 1925 silent version, an Apatosaurus rampages through London, the capital city of the UK, before diving into the Thames River to avoid capture and as its weight disintegrated the London Bridge it stood upon.

Gary also pointed out that earlier in 1914 (1912, he said), Animator Winsor McCay drew the first widely popular cartoon character with personality, Gertie the Dinosaur as well as showing a clip of that cartoon which precedes King Kong, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, even James Cameron’s AVATAR (my favorite movie).

It then flashes back to Eric walking in the lush tropical park before moving on to an interview with a paleontologist living in the 1980s named Edwin H. Colbert and followed by clips from what it is used to be a stop motion short with a dinosaur and a caveman and what it used to be Ray Harryhausen’s unfinished and ambitious Evolution of the World project he made between 1938 and 1940 before he cancel his own project after seeing the Rite of Spring segment in Disney’s Fantasia.

Gary Owens then pointed out that dinosaur movies are different than dinsaurology (which is dinosaur science), and then it shows a color photo of what Roy Chapman Andrews discovered in 1924 Mongolia what is used to be a nest full of Protoceratops egg embryos (now identified as an Oviraptor nest not long after Jurassic Park opens in theatres in 1993, 8 years after this video was produced in 1985 or something like that.).

It Was followed by one of Douglas Henderson’s illustrations that he did for a book called Maia: A Dinosaur Grows Up, Gregory S. Paul’s illustration of Hadrosaurs nesting or taking care of their young, and a sauropod herd illustration that you will find in an 1984 book called Ranger Rick’s Dinosaur Book as well as a illustration of an installment of the ZooBooks series where a baby Protoceratops hatches from its egg, Gregory S. Paul (the author of the ever-popular 1988 book, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World) being interviewed and Mark Hallett’s 1985 contribution for the ZooBooks Dinosaur Book showing a herd of Triceratops defending its young from a pair of striding Tyrannosaurus Rex, followed by a clip from test footage of Willis O’Brien’s unfinished 1931 Creation Project which led directly or indirectly to the original 1933 King Kong. It shows a Triceratops watching over its young.

It then shows Eric traveling through the country side and passing and bumping through sculptures of a Stegosaurus, A Triceratops, what it look like A Diplodocus, and a Dimetrodon (which is a non dinosaur which lives in the Permian period which is way before the dinosaurs took over the earth), before being given some reward from some old guys.

Eric travels through a city full of dinosaur-related signs, before meeting a hitchhiker before stopping at the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, where he was interviewed by a guy working in that quarry.

Eric then destroys the Quarry which collapses and reveals a scene in the Mesozoic showing a Stegosaurus and a Apatosaurus fleeing from what it look like a Tyrannosaurus or an Allosaurus which was stopped by Eric who warns the animal that a flood is coming, only to be wiped out, along with the dinosaurs by a flood engineered by a dinosaur surfer before being buried in the earth which then breaks and dug up by paleontologists, as Gary as narrator tells us of a mistake involving the Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus head controversy until cutting to Eric in skeleton form collapsing from his pilt helmet.

Gary then peers into a skull of a Tyrannosaurus, before talking to a curator at the Smithsonian (that museum with an African Elephant in the Museum’s entrance) who shows us the history of life on earth up until the dinosaurs’ extinction.

It then shows a skit featuring Eric visiting children in an elementary school being obsessed with dinosaurs, followed by a clip from the 1980 Will Vinton Claymation short, Dinosaur (not the 2000 CGI film from Disney that places talking CGI dinosaurs and lemur-like primates in digitally processed and manipulated live action footage) and by Eric playing with clay representations of a dinosaur and a pterosaur.

It then shows Edwin talking about Dinosaur footprints as well as a brief tour of what the dinosaur hall at the American Museum of Natural History probably look like when this video was made and put it on video store shelves.

It ended with Eric reuniting with Gary and being spotted and stalked and pursued by a cheesy-looking Tyrannosaurus Rex before being gobbled up by the cheesy-looking dinosaur as the video and its closing credits were brought to a close.

It ended with a video promo of a 1987 dinosaur video titled Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! (which is well known for Gary Owens’ transformation into a anthropomorphic stop motion animated talking dinosaur (paging the 1991 Disney/Jim Henson TV series, Dinosaurs) (That video actually came out after a video on the prehistoric mammals that took over after the dinosaurs became extinct, titled Prehistoric World), as well as a clip of the dinosaur parade from that video before closing out with footage of children playing alongside a Triceratops outside the Smithsonian before the video fades to black.

See, it was the video that sparked my fascination and obsession with dinosaurs that dates all the way back to my early childhood. As I grow up, I was beginning to learn about contemporary and recent theories on dinosaurs (some of them are outdated), you know like, how the dinosaurs look in real life, flesh and blood, and the fact that dinosaurs are active, tail-off-the-ground warm-blooded and communal animals that practiced socialization and parenting among other things, as well as, among other things, dinosaur nesting grounds, the mass migration of herds, polar habitats, the shape of Apatosaurus’ head, giant meteoritic impacts, the fact that birds are living dinosaurs and even the Feathered Dinosaur revolution that has been going since the 1996 discovery of Sinosauropteryx. And I really think a dinosaur movie like my dream project, Dexter’s Odyssey (though based on and inspired by characters from Dexter’s Laboratory (my favorite TV show and cartoon) and/or The Powerpuff Girls, two obscure kids TV cartoons from the 1990’s, I think it will have dinosaurs as well as winged fire-breathing dragons that is to share the skies with birds and/or pterosaurs), might be the culmination of my fascination and obsession with dinosaurs that dates all the way back to my early childhood.

So, besides my encounter with that video, can anyone please tell what sparked the fascination and obsession with dinosaurs of any of you who likes dinosaurs (even if it dates all the way back to the early childhood of even some of you), in addition to the video that I’m talking about? I really appreciate it. Thank you.

 

I think Dexter’s sister Dee Dee’s Asian friend, Lee Lee, from the Cartoon Network Show, Dexter’s Laboratory, deserves an epic comeback role.

And I also think Lee Lee deserves her own epic vehicle as well as her own spectacular showcase.

How about “The Princess of Shangara”, a massive, elaborate, theatrical big screen Dexter’s Laboratory/The Powerpuff Girls-inspired animated cartoon epic tale of mythical, biblical and legendary proportions (and made in Panavision/Cinemascope) with Dee Dee’s Asian friend Lee Lee being the main central lead character as well as the title character: a heroic warrior princess from the land of Shangara (a Far Eastern Asian/Chinese/Japanese-influenced land, complete with its own language, culture, customs, art, and lore) who is as mighty, brave, and noble as she is young, fair, and beautiful, and who, according to an ancient prophecy, is destined to stop the evil Mandark from conquering and enslaving the world.

That’s my wish for Dee Dee’s Asian Friend Lee Lee.

Do you remember the Dexter’s Laboratory Made-For-TV special-cum-movie, Ego Trip?

Well, I do remember Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip. I have once seen it on New Year’s Day 2011 at 7AM on Cartoon Network in my basement.

And I like that movie besides James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction 3D extravaganza, AVATAR, or one of Dreamworks’ better CGI flicks, How to Train Your Dragon (2010), but nothing in Ego Trip or AVATAR is as epic as the climatic battle that pits Dexter and his future selves against Mandark and his future selves in Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip, or what James Cameron describes as “The Mother of All Battles”, the Climatic War-Cum-Battle that pits Jake (as Toruk Makto, aka Rider of Last Shadow), Neytiri, Tsu’Tey, the Na’vi clans, Norm, Trudy Chacon, and The wildlife of Pandora (a Leonopteryx, Banshees, Direhorses, Hammerheads, Viperwolves, Sturmbeests, and last but not least, the Thanator that Neytiri rides in battle against Quaritch in his AMP Suit), against Quaritch and the so-called “Sky People” (and especially those in AMP Suits, too, especially Quaritch) in James Cameron’s AVATAR.


But alas…there is a difference between Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip and James Cameron’s AVATAR and both scenes from both movies.

You see, while the Na’vi of James Cameron’s AVATAR had come across as Performance Capture CGI and brought to life from actors’ performances such as those of Sam Worthington, Laz Alonso and Zoe Saldana…

Dexter, with Dexter and Dexter and Dexter…

and Mandark with Mandark and Mandark and Mandark…

 as well as Dee Dee herself…

 are only 2D traditional hand drawn animated cartoons.

 And while James Cameron’s AVATAR is made for movie theatres and in 3D and runs between 162 and 180 minutes…


Dexter’s Laboratory Ego Trip is just a one-hour Dexter’s Laboratory made-for-TV special-cum-movie.

But anyway, I love both Dexter’s Laboratory (and Ego Trip as well) and James Cameron’s AVATAR.

What did you think of the climatic battle scenes in Ego Trip and Avatar (the James Cameron Movie), respectively? Which one is superior? Which one is better? Which one is funny? Which one is violent and grown up? And how do you compare and contrast the climatic battle scene in Ego Trip with the climatic battle scenes in James Cameron’s AVATAR?