ROCKS 2D: Defenders Of The Earth - The Prince Kro-Tan Movie

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by LiamABC, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this. It’s going to be an enjoyable ride!

    Threads 2A through 2D will focus on the 80s classic Defenders Of The Earth, and specifically this week, we're discussing what should have been the series' finale, the Prince Kro-Tan "movie". This extended feature consists of following episodes:

    - The Prince Makes His Move
    - The Prince Triumphant
    - The Prince Weds
    - The Prince's Royal Hunt
    - The Prince Dethroned

    Yes, individually this is more episodes than usual, but it tells a single complete story.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full episode online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the show in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Really enjoyed watching these episodes. This being the second time I have seen them since 2014.

    Kro-Tan was a great character and a real shame he was not used more in the series.
    David Wise did a great job with this five parter. I still prefer the Book of Mysteries 5 parter in comparison. But the overall story and characters in the Kro-Tan 5 parter was very well done.

    Liam, I might have missed this bit but maybe you can elaborate on it. In one of the parts Flash mentions the ship is the one that transported the robot. What episode was that from?

    I noticed in 'The Prince Makes His Move' we see Rick in the Defenders van. That was a cool vehicle and one they should have used more often. Galoob really should have made a toy of it. :rolleyes Along with Rick's van, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scooby Doo and the A-Team and the fact the first vehicle I was ever in was my Mum and Dad's van I suppose it's no wonder I always wanted to have a van. :D Not really into vehicles etc, I just always thought having a van would be pretty cool.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I haven't seen it yet this week but I'll be watching it soon enough and have seen it enough times to know very well how everything pans out.

    For my money this is the high point of the entire series - and up there with the best the any 80s cartoons had to offer. This should definitely have been kept back to end the series with, it's the biggest, most epic storyline the show ever had.

    It's also a very rare example of a 5-parter being truly that. There are no parts that are redundant to the overall story.

    Mark - when Flash said it's the ship that transported the robot, he means the Beta II robot in the previous part of the story. He identifies it as the Beta II transport, and they were on Beta II just before.

    As for Rick's van, the lack of a toy for that is probably down to two factors I should think:

    1. They didn't make a figure of Rick, or any of the kids.
    2. The van doesn't have any flashy features that would make a kid want to buy it. No weapons, no ropes, no nothing.
    Mark M likes this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Ah I must have been distracted at that part.
    Definitely agree about all 5 parts being good for the overall story.
    David Wise wrote great episodes for a lot of cartoons.
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    David Wise wrote parts 2-5 of this, the first part was written by Bryce Malek and Dick Robbins, the script editors.

    It's certainly the only DotE 5-parter that is a true 5-parter. Part 3 of the Necklace Of Oros movie could be cut without any loss of overarching continuity whatsoever. As for the Book Of Enigmas, the presence of the book is the only thing binding those episodes together. Parts 2-4 could be viewed in any order and it wouldn't make any difference.

    Thundercats had the Annointment Trials, that was a true 5-parter, but again the only one that really was. I think in the 90s shows got better at it. The Legend Of Prince Valiant and Exosquad had much stronger continuity in terms of the whole series.

    I suppose Flash flying the Beta II transport was not "shown on screen" in that sense, but if you think about it, the robot was seen loaded onto the transport ship, we saw Flash, Mandrake and Lothar get onto that ship to escape the exploding planet, someone must have flown it to Mongo, and as Flash and co made the trip unmolested, they must have either been the only occupants of the ship or taken over from any Beta II pilots on board. And of the three of them, it would have been Flash flying it.
    Mark M likes this.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Thundercats Ho was a good 5 parter.

    I agree about the Book of Enigma episodes but I really liked some of them.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I didn't say Thundercats Ho wasn't good, I am simply questioning whether all 5 parts actually further the story.
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I know you were not saying it wasn't good.
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    And I've just watched it through from start to finish. I didn't press pause once. The structuring and pacing of the story are as perfect as I remember.

    Part I is a beautiful set-up, with Kro-Tan first visiting Zorelda, who gives him the powers of (very long range) teleportation, telekinesis and disguise (I remember as a kid expecting that third one to be telepathy to match the other two beginning with tele-), his pseudo-alliance with the young Defenders was a masterstroke, as he was telling the truth to them about his hatred of Ming. The moleculiser is a great weapon, albeit a little out of control! The end of part I is very much a sense of "that's the prologue, next up is the actual story". Which makes sense. For Kro-Tan to take centre stage like he did, he had to oust Ming, as there's no way that the Defenders and Ming would have teamed up (although saying that, part III . . .)

    Part II is perhaps the most detached from the main feature in basic story terms, as Kro-Tan is focusing his attentions on Earth instead of Mongo, but it plants too many details to be truly superfluous. The mind bombs that he plants on Tad and the Defenders resurface in the next part, and Flash's battle with the Gorp ends up coming back to haunt him in the finale. This episode actually gets off to a very amusing start when all the Defenders head off in different directions, leaving Flash bored out of his skull. He's not convinced the Earth is safe, and it turns out he's right - although of course he's fighting the Gorp on that asteroid when he learns this! It's also here in part II where we learn that Zorelda has motives of her own for giving Kro-Tan his powers, and that there's something alive in her cauldron . . .

    Part III is where the action really hots up - or should that be chills right down, as Mongo is not the hottest of planets. In any event, this is where the story gets big. Kro-Tan is on Mongo preparing to marry Jedda, the Defenders team up with Garax and Octon to move against the son of Ming. This is the only time there was ever a true alliance between the two sides, and intriguingly it happens when Ming is not there. The Weapon Masters of Beta II are really rather eccentric, and also very callous. Like Dr Reynolds in "Flash Times Four" which we discussed last week, they don't really care who buys their products or for what purpose so long as they pay for them. This is probably the part where the edits made for the extended edition do cause a few important moments to be lost, such as Throck's decision to side with the Defenders - in the composite version, when he first speaks to Jedda in a friendly tone, I wondered why he was helping her. Now I know! It's also at the end of this part that we first think, "OK, that's it, they've won, story over," - but not yet! That scatter gun is an odd weapon really, and arguably nothing more than a device to separate the characters for the next part. After all, why would you want a weapon that just teleported your enemies to somewhere random? You don't know where they might end up . . .

    Part IV has all the makings of a great finale, the heroes are scattered at the beginning, and Kro-Tan has a great plan to destroy the earth. From controlling bombs with his mind, he has moved onto controlling an entire rocket ship with his thoughts. A logical extension. And sure enough, all four scattered groups have their part to play, although Kshin and Zuffy's role doesn't really become apparent in this part. There's so much going on elsewhere. This is also the point where Jedda stops being the emotional focus of the adventure and it just shifts to being an ensemble piece. That said, although she was the emotional centre of the first three parts, nobody was ever sidelined, thanks to the great writing of Bryce Malek & Dick Robbins in part I, and David Wise in parts II-V. Once again, when Flash & Rick crash the ship into Kro-Tan's palace, it looks like end of story, but Mandrake reminds us that Kshin and Zuffy are still missing . . .

    Part V is where it all comes together. Kshin discovers the colony of Zuffoids, Kro-Tan gives Zorelda the molecules of Ming which she uses to restore Suramong to his former glory, and Suramong then restores her - briefly. Once they have teleported the adult Defenders (not the kids as well?) to the dungeon, Suramong eliminates Zorelda just like that. He probably regretted that decision later! Of course, Kro-Tan explains to them about Suramong and the molecules of Ming, and they realise they need to recover the moleculiser to beat Suramong - which will restore Ming! (Not excatly sure why this would be so, but it makes just enough sense for me to let it pass.) Flash & Lothar track the moleculiser to the Rigelian Pleasure Dome, which Flash visited in part II, and to the Gorp! What seemed like a throwaway bit of misadventure on his part earlier on suddenly takes on a whole new level of significance! Thanks to Lothar remembering about the silicon daiquiri, they are able to recover the moleculiser, but even that can't be used on the all-powerful Suramong until the Zuffoids start singing at him, and the sound weakens him. This could easily have been a silly comic relief moment, but thanks to David Wise's writing, it's very serious throughout - indeed, Suramong even mentioned this in part IV to Zorelda, who mentioned the Zuffoids had been exterminated. Even the Defenders believed Zuffy was the last of his kind until they saw otherwise. Beautifully handled. Even the farewell when they leave Zuffy behind with his own kind, but he leaps into the shuttle to be with Kshin after all . . . brings a tear to my eye.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. This 5-parter should have been the series finale. Why it was only episodes 46-50 I'll never know. It's the only true 5-parter in the series (part III of The Necklace Of Oros is completely removed from the main story and can be omitted without any loss of continuity while The Book Of Enigmas doesn't have any overarching storyline, the 5 episodes are just linked by the presence of the book, and parts II-IV can be viewed in any order and it wouldn't make any difference!). Whenever I watch the series through, I always, Always, ALWAYS save the Prince Kro-Tan episodes to last.
  10. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I remember when I first saw this again as an adult, and Kro-Tan opened his mouth, straight away I was thinking, "I know that voice, who is it?" - it bugged me for a few minutes as I was watching, and then I had it! Hal Rayle, best known to me as Arzon in Visionaries, he was also Max, Ben and Rawmeat in Spiral Zone, not to mention Shrapnel et al in Transformers. Not that he got credited for this, he was only in seven episodes (although he might have contributed other guest voices to more, I'm not sure).
  11. Ryu Hayabusa

    Ryu Hayabusa New Member

    Has anyone seen the fan-comic follow-up on DoE Galaxy?
    That actually sounds interesting. It probably does make for a nice finale, though it also would've been nice if there was another tale that added to these events. Good review BTW.
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  12. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I've not heard of that.

    Thanks. Because this show never had a proper finale in that sense - the last episode in the original run was "The Thunder Lizards Of Ming" which was just a regular episode with nothing special about it, not even that great an episode. This being the only true 5-parter in the show's run (you could watch The Necklace Of Oros and skip part 3 and not feel like you've missed anything, and as for The Book Of Enigmas, that's just a group of episodes linked by the presence of the book, parts 2-4 could come in any order and it wouldn't make a difference), it makes sense to have this at the end.

    I've often wondered what would have happened if the show had been picked up for a second season. Usually characters get added, so who would have joined the ranks on both sides as regulars? They'd have had to make use of characters from within the established universes of the original comic strip for the most part. Maybe Kro-Tan would have become a more regular presence. Maybe Dr Zarkov would have joined the heroes. We'll never know . . .
    Mark M likes this.
  13. Ryu Hayabusa

    Ryu Hayabusa New Member

    A fan site.

    Indeed, "The Thunder Lizards of Ming" wasn't all that.

    I guess the "Oros" arc is a good four-parter then. As for a second season, I do wonder if they would've made any radical changes. Another main villain? Changes to the roster? It might have been interesting.
    Mark M likes this.
  14. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I think some one-time guest characters would have reappeared. In some cases this would have been good (Atascadero from "The Lost Jewels Of Tibet", Princess Astra from "The Revenge Of Astra"), in others best not (Earl Sump from "The Would-Be Defender").

    I was considering the whole character addition thing for the simple reason that pretty much all cartoons in the 80s added characters in their second seasons. Thundercats added Bengali, Pumyra, Lynx-O and the Lunataks, GI Joe added Serpentor et al, Transformers added Blitzwing, Astrotrain, Grapple, Hoist, Tracks and loads more . . .
  15. Ryu Hayabusa

    Ryu Hayabusa New Member

    The fan site features a lot of the secondary characters in new stories. Good point about '80s cartoons. They definitely looked to make progress in newer seasons.
    LiamABC likes this.
  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I think the biggest reason there wasn't a second season was due to the toy sales. If Galoob hadn't bothered with the pointless battle action feature or made the figures smaller and made the other supporting characters the toy sales would have done a lot better.
  17. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Generic Ice Robot and Man Of Frost toys should have been made. They should have made a Monitor playset including Dynak X, and an Ice Station Earth playset including Octon. Also, the ships should have been more cartoon accurate. I remember how disappointed I was when I got the Flash swordship, only to find it looked very different to the show. The show was great but the toyline was weak.
    Mark M likes this.
  18. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Definitely. Ice Robots and Men of Frost would have been awesome.
    Rick's van would have been a cool toy.
    Flash and Garax's ships were spoiled by the pointless play feature of turning into a sword.
    The toyline would have probably greatly benefitted if the figures had been 3.75" like Star Wars and G.I. Joe. At that size they could have made the vehicles in better scale with the figures.
    I personally think the large dial/knob action feature on the DOTE figures was the toylines biggest problem. The action feature did not replicate anything they did on the show.
    Galoob also did a pretty unsuccessful toyline for the Galaxy Rangers cartoon. Much like DOTE the figures were made in larger scale compared to most other toylines a bit like Thundercats and just like Thundercats and DOTE had a quick draw action feature with a large lever on their back. It would have been better if they had a feature that better replicated their abilities in the cartoon.
  19. Ryu Hayabusa

    Ryu Hayabusa New Member

    One of my favorite guest characters was Queen Hadea ("The Golden Queen"). I've seen a lot of fan art, but it probably would've been nice to see a toy, or one of those desk figures. I could say the same about Ming, Krotan, Jedda in her various forms, and some other characters with designs that I liked.
  20. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Curiously, Defenders Of The Earth is the one show where they could say they weren't being sexist by not making a toy of Jedda, because they didn't make toys of any of the kids. A lot of these 80s classics had toylines that omitted the female characters for no apparent reason, but this show, well, Jedda was one of the kids and they only made the adult heroes.

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