Monday, October 12, 2015

Birdman and the Galaxy Trio - 1967-1969

Obviously the Academy Award winning film Birdman from 2014 was capitalizing on Michael Keaton's old role of Batman as a source of inspiration to show him as an old action hero that has past his prime and now is lost in a sea of second rate gigs.  But what the fuck was with the Birdman thing, and the costume also?  Well, I am someone who is familiar enough to have been watching Adult Swim since it's early inception days back in the early 2000's, so I knew of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

But Harvey Birdman was also a take on this old 60's cartoon, Birdman.  Which, when it originally aired in 7 or so minute segments, was aired alongside The Galaxy Trio, which is where I'm getting the title of this blog from.  So yes, before you get super confused or anything, I am in fact reviewing a 60's cartoon right here in the blog entry.  But first:

It finally happened.  The month where, despite trying and having a tiny bit of spare time occasionally, I just haven't kept up on the reviews and movie watchings.  What is my excuse this time...  1) Well, the wife has been having irregular hours, which makes her around more.  2) I've been really tired and going to bed earlier.  3) I've been doing more on weeknights, we were busy 4 out of 5 weekday nights last week, and of course busy on the weekend.  4) I started too many movies from different sources, got them confused, and at one point I seriously had 4 movies I was partway through...it made watching them confusing and I had to abandon 2 of them.  You see I prefer DVD.  I love to watch movies on my TV cause I sit at a damn computer all day long and I get tired of watching computer monitors.  But I can't watch DVDs when my wife is asleep cause we live in a studio apartment and the light and sound are too much.  So I watch computer then.  Oh and additionally, I'm going on a 8 day vacation next week, so won't be posting then either.

Explanations over.  Let's get on to Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.  I'll present these as separate, cause they are.  Just cause I have the word "and" does not mean they get one review for both of them.  So, start with Birdman.  I honestly do wonder what the connection between Birdman from 1967 and 2014 is.  Cause there is definitely some sort of connection here...
Okay, so the color scheme changed a bit.  I mean, it's standard update things here, the more "real" look, what a person would actually wear.  The actual resemblance of a bird versus some dude with wings in a yellow costume.  But even the figures themselves, Birdman was a superhero almost 50 years ago, then in the 2000 show Harvey Birdman, he has undergone a career change to become a lawyer.  In 2014 Birdman, Michael Keaton's character was a action movie star 20 something years ago, then underwent a career change to become this forgotten icon.  Then the similar look and the similar powers, this had to be influenced by Birdman from 1967.
By the way what the fuck kind of rap name is Birdman?!  I'm not sorry, Bryan Williams.  You are completely retarded.  I hate googling Birdman and having your stupid shit come up.  Get the fuck off the internet and invent a new name for yourself.

Birdman as the original cartoon is pure fucking repetitious bliss.  This is the shit I put on and watch while I draw, usually.  It's wonderful.  Each episode is almost exactly the same, it's hugely predictable, but so base in it's ideas, so completely low rent and ignore-able and laughable that it's awesome.  Birdman's powers are flight with his wings, and a solar shield and solar blasts that he gets from the sun.  If he's away from the sun for too long, his powers drain themselves and he's pretty useless.  His sidekick Avenger is a super smart, giant bird that understands what Birdman says.  In each episode the following happens:
1) A new threat is detected!  They are either going about some nefarious plan, or they want to confront Birdman and that's their plan.  Falcon 7, Birdman's boss, calls him, and tells him the villain must be stopped.
2)  Birdman flies out with his bird Avenger, and encounters the villain.
3)  The villain somehow blocks the sun, Birdman loses his powers.
4) Avenger comes to the rescue, Birdman regains his powers by flying into the sunlight.
5) Birdman blasts the villain or the villain's lair, weaponry, etc, and wins the day.

The funniest thing about this cartoon, and a lot of the older ones like this, is there's a surprising amount of dialogue, narration by the characters, and explanations in this show.  Birdman is constantly saying what he's doing, under the pretense of, I guess, telling Avenger?  But it's to the point where it's like, he'll say "They're getting away Avenger, we mustn't let them escape!"  Dude, just fucking chase them!  He says this while floating, then he flies away!  You're wasting time telling us what you're doing!  Did they think it would be hard to follow?  In that above picture of Birdman stopping the wall, I bet you he has a dialogue piece there about stopping that wall "before it crushes them".  Yeah!  I know it's going to fucking crush you!  I'm not a goddamn idiot!

Another thing, a lot of the villains escape....  Or a lot of them are left in a situation where it's like, uh, Birdman, go back and finish the job!  Not like, to kill them, just like, they're going to get away!  There's one where the villain is on some island, Birdman blows up all the weapons, then just flies off!  Like, dude, come back and fucking get the villain!  Sometimes he'll also just take off saying the "authorities will take care of you".  Just cause you stopped their big evil plan doesn't mean you don't have to wait there till the cops come man.  A lot of the villains also escape, which makes sense, keep the villains around like in Batman so that Birdman can face them again....that ol' thing.  Except he faces no villain twice.

It's hard to say exactly why I like this.  It's definitely the simplicity of it.  It's so basic.  It's the definition of accessible.  It's quite strange.  And yeah, really damn dumb.  The ideas, the villains, the superhero.  It's got such a low entertainment value, to a point.  Like, who the hell would watch this?  And who the hell was Birdman?  He's separated from us so much.  We know, we knew, so much about Batman, Superman, Spiderman, et all.  This guy seems like he just does his own thing; he's flawless, he's got no motivation, he's infallible, brilliant - we don't relate to him at all.  You can tell for reasons like that alone that this is not based on anything - this is a completely new character that the animators just made up.  The keyword I thought of just now, perfect for Birdman is "generic".  He feels completely mindless, like anyone could'a thought of him if they were forced to come up with a random ass superhero.

I give Birdman 4 stars, as a classic plotless, simple, mindless entertainment source.

The Galaxy Trio, it's just not there.  They have all the bad parts of Birdman, being infallible, no motivation, they're as one dimensional as they come, etc.  But they also have no charm, no interest factor at all actually.  Thoroughly worth a fast forward.


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