Friend and I were discussing the upcoming “Days of Future Past” and talking about the X-Men movies series and which comics we had read and inevitably this made me think of my first exposure to these characters – the 1990s Saturday Morning cartoon!
I must have been aware of the X-Men and the general idea behind the show. I can’t remember how or why I started watching. Probably to fill time between when one show ended and MST3K would start up on Comedy Central (which would stretch my “Saturday Morning” viewing well into the afternoon unless Mom yelled at me). I do remember really enjoying the show and knowing that it was far more mature than the other Saturday morning shows (Garfield and Friends, Tiny Toons, even TMNT were not quite this level).
On a whim this week I did a search in the library catalog and we actually owned the DVDs! I checked them out and this morning I started my rewatch.
Night of the Sentinels just STARTS. I was really surprised by the lack of introductions. We are just dropped into Jubilee’s house as her foster father confesses to her mother that he has registered her as a mutant. Then the Sentinels drop by to grab her (as the giant robot chases Jubilee to the mall we hear as mall child scream “MOMMY! BUY ME THAT!” LOL). Jubilee is hiding in an arcade, which is hilarious to be because I’m pretty sure by the mid-90s, most arcades were gone. But maybe not. Also, Storm and Rogue are shopping in the mall in PLAIN CLOTHES which just weird to see. Gambit, on the other hand, is wearing his Gambit outfit but he is a smoooooooth BAMF and he is flirting with the girl at the game store.
Anyway, the Sentinel chases Jubilee through the mall. Storm uses her powers, no only to cause some weather in the mall, but to also change her shopping outfit into her X-Men uniform. Rogue, sadly, does not have these powers and must fight in her little pink red dress. I’m sorta hoping this never happens again because it just looked weird. Also, Rogue should not wear pink, it did not work with her hair or anything, I dunno.
So, they save Jubilee and take her back to the school and they do a really quick bit of exposition. It was amazing how much this paralleled the start of the first X-Men movie, though you would need to switch out Jubilee with Wolverine.
Jubilee eventually gets away again and heads back to her home. There is a hilarious moment when she is running through the city and we can CLEARLY see the GIANT Sentinel foot next to the building she runs past. This cracked me up and really gave it that “kid show” feel for a moment, but considering she was running to find her family to save them from these giant monsters, maybe it was good to throw in a light moment.
Of course, she gets captured for reals this time and dragged off to the HQ of the Mutant registration people. The X-Men just happen to head that way to try to destroy the registration center. Storm and Morph (a female version of Mystique minus blue skin) BURN the physical files while Beast goes into the computer to delete them. When the door looks like it is going to break down, Storm ZAPS THE MONITOR and says they don’t have enough time. I’m pretty sure destroying the monitor would do nothing to the files within. Great job Storm.
Most of the team manages to get away but Beast is captured and Morph is apparently KILLED! WOW! Did not expect that in a kids cartoon. They don’t show up, they just show all the characters saying his name, bowing their heads, and tearing up about 3 different times. Wolverine, who tries to be a badass, is really broken up about it all. After having a fight with Cyclops about leaving them behind, Cyclops decides to try to find the Sentinel warehouse and blow it up so Wolverine comes along. They lure the Sentinels out and one attacks Cyclops and it’s a pure 90s showdown with the Sentinel saying “Surrender Mutant!” and Cyclops says “Of course…NOT!!!!!!” and zaps him with his laser eyes…Yep. He says “NOT!” Only thing that would have made that moment better would been if he had said “SYKE!!!!!!!”
Then we see the President – OMG THIS MUST BE THE FUTURE BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT IS A WOMAN! — the President cancels the Mutant Registration because of how the X-Men reacted to it, saying that the men in charge must of given them a reason to be afraid. Wow. Wish all politicians were so in tune.
I feel like the animation probably didn’t age as well as it could have. I’m wondering how much of it was still hand drawn vs computerized at this point. I felt like Cyclops’ body proportions kept shifting from He-Man to slender. It might be that blue spandex is not flattering no matter how you wear it. I think Wolverine’s mask’s “ears” also varied in size from scene to scene. Though I suppose this might be faithful to how the old comics looked.
I’ve ordered “Days of Future Past” as a trade to read before the movie comes out, but now I’m also curious to compare how it translates from comic to cartoon since that is episode 11/12 of this disc.