“With the earthquakes, tornadoes, melting icebergs and all the other problems threatening the world right now, Earth really needs her greatest defender.”
No, it’s not Al Gore. It’s our old friend Captain Planet, back for a second bite at the eco-cherry. According to the AV Club:
Just when we’d given up on saving ourselves and begun prepping our interstellar hovercraft escape routes, Cartoon Network and Transformers franchise producer Don Murphy have finally stepped up, answering the powerful call of our Heart ring to come and develop a live-action movie version ofCaptain Planet. In his 1990s heyday, the Ted Turner-created superhero was our last and best defense against environmental catastrophe, edutaining an entire generation about the importance of not littering and also never choosing logging or waste disposal as a career path, as those people are all monstrous supervillains. Then his show was canceled, and there were all these devastating hurricanes and earthquakes. Coincidence?
The producers think not, as the press release opines, “With the earthquakes, tornadoes, melting icebergs and all the other problems threatening the world right now, Earth really needs her greatest defender.” It’s true: Currently we’re as lost and hopeless as a ragtag group of teenagers bestowed with magical rings that control various ancient elements and also one that makes it easy to talk to animals for some reason. And as always, you have to wonder why we didn’t just think to summon Captain Planet in the first place. Granted, “The power is yours” and everything, but he’s just so much better at taking care of that stuff.
Captain Planet represents all that is lunatic about the green movement. It is a Thomas Friedman-esque fantasy, its conceit being that anyone indulging in any sort of industry is a mindless vandal (inevitably portrayed as rats and pigs in such a brazen way as would have made Lehni Riefenstahl or Thomas Nast proud) and that the world is in need of an all-powerful “enlightened” superhero to swoop in and clean up. Violently, if need be. There is not an ounce of subtlety in the show’s plotline, just naked Manichean preaching coupled with a mindless and falsely enabling phrase, “the power is yours” — which should really read, “your power is exercised for you by vast powers outside of your control.”
As a child, I loved Captain Planet. I even had a lunchbox with the characters on it. I loved the show because I knew precisely nothing about the world, and I liked to have my answers put into neat little black and white boxes for me. That is understandable. I was a child. What is less understandable is that responsible adults ever commissioned such a blatantly prosletyzing show, let alone that they now wish to expand the franchise into movie theatres.