Archive for category Childhood Revisited
Statements you will never hear again in your lifetime: in entering the TV animation landscape with Gummi Bears, Disney made perhaps the most unfortunate decision in their entire television history: they made it GOOD.
Have you ever heard of a show that just decided to become good? There are shows where the premise has potential but they seem to always fall short. There are shows with potential that manage to reach it – heck, even surpass it. There are shows with weak premises that somehow become incredible. And, of course, there are shows with weak premises and weak executions. But have you even heard of a show that had a weak premise, became incredible, and because of which made the show more problematic? Is such a thing even possible?
Gummi Bears may have actually achieved this.
Gummi Bears may be the first and only show in the history of television where the marked and genuine improvements of the show worked in the show’s detriment. Not because the improvements were unnecessary, but because young people would not be cognizant or aware of the amount of depth put into the show. Gummi Bears uses its candy-colored (and candy-based) protagonists to appeal to girls and its fantasy setting to appeal to boys (a setting that was quite popular in the mid-80s), but Jymn Magon and Art Vitello, who were tempted to lazily create an adorable preschool-esque show with cheesy names and cheesier lessons, opted for a somewhat grim but ultimately positive tale of swashbuckling heroes, ancient races, mysterious contraptions, calculating villains, and cruel monsters. They were tempted to do Care Bears, but instead made Dungeons & Dragons with teddy bears. The mistake? Care Bears is, at the very least, looked back upon in ironic enjoyment, a workman-like, Hallmark consumer product that sold toys and taught lessons, so whatever. Gummi Bears, on the other hand, surged forward with epic tales and tight storytelling and a broad sense of continuity, and yet relatively few people seem to remember any of this.
That’s the problem. Gummi Bears gets genuinely good. Not simply by improving the animation or voice work, but by creating epic, often-powerful stories and authentically tense moments that rival some of the 90s best television shows. The writing becomes crisp, characters are developed, backstories are explored, history is divulged, and continuity is established. Which, of course, most people would never know. Gummi Bears was years before DVDs and DVRs, before any sense of kids TV shows following an established storyline (the exception might be JEM and the Hologram, which is saying A LOT). The continuity is broad – not nearly as serial as today’s TV shows are – but it’s definitely present, with characters quite often discussing and referring to specific events that happened in prior episodes. Considering, though, that Gummi Bears would have certainly been aired out of order (and with the small attention span of most children), there would have been little chance anyone would have picked up on this. Characters actually grow and change (at least they start to: later episodes seem to diminish earlier developments), but even when Gummi Bears does start to coast, it still manages to create a sense of progress, development, and transformation. But with no way to follow this, Gummi Bears comes off messy, silly and unfortunately forgettable. It’s a deep show masked as a cute show. The irony is that if it WAS just a cute show, it might have been better remembered.
Gummi Bears starts off as you’d expect, with a nice, straight-forward pilot as we follow Cavin and his discovery of the Gummi Bears, who are cute and cuddly, and possess “Gummi Berry Juice,” a liquid that allows them to bounce, because it’s oh-so-adorable to see these bears bounce around. Even though the show makes it a point to establish their different personalities, they’re all stock in trade – Cubbi’s adventurous, Grammi’s motherly, Gruffi’s the “meanie,” Tummi loves food, Sunni is sweet, Zummi is wise if doddering – and there’s a whole thing about a magic book. The pilot, “A New Beginning,” plays lip service to being “last of the Gummi Bears” and the world it establishes, but subsequent episodes of the first season are just what you’d expect. Cubbi and Sunni get into trouble. Tummi’s love for food gets him into trouble. Zummi’s slight klutziness gets him into trouble. There’s a little bit of continuity, what with Tummi’s love for ships and Zummi’s gradually learning spells – but it seems mostly superfluous for whatever cute story the writers cook up.
Then, all of a sudden, the season one finale, “Light Makes Right,” happens:
Nothing says “shit just got real” then depicting an entire population of Gummi Bears running for their lives as their village is destroyed and their homes burn into the night sky. It’s a jarring, momentum-shifting, jaw-dropping moment, made even more dramatic thanks to TMS’s animation, which, I can’t stress enough, is just tops. In this episode, the concept of being the last of the Gummi Bears is given real substance, these six Gummis acknowledging their responsibility to take care of the Glen until the refugee bears can return home. They take note of the uneasy relationship between Gummis and humans, and debate whether its time to call them back. They discover a giant machine that can connect them to these missing Gummis, and they even get a response back. Their hope for a reunion is cut short when Duke Igthorn (who’s backstory, as a former knight of Dunwyn turn betrayer, is explained, making him more than a generic big bad) hijacks the machine and makes it into a weapon. There’s this dark, sad scene where the Gummis, sitting around a fire, shaded in muted shadows, come to the conclusion that they have to destroy the machine, sacrificing their chance to see their people. Watching Zummi desperately grab the final message from the exiled Gummis is legitimately harrowing, giving extra weight to their final mission. It’s a fantastic episode, arguably the best piece of Disney Afternoon animation in its entire lineup.
Gummi Bears immediately takes on new life. The second and third season surges forward with incredible, exciting, and poignant adventures that actually build upon the world and the inhabitants within it. We learn about other Gummi realms and old machines, we learn about Igthorn’s brother, we learn about trolls and orcs, we see Sunni and Toadie connect for a brief moment, we see Grammi and Zummi have a WONDERFUL moment together (in perhaps the richest episode of the run), and they even introduce a new Gummi. It’s remarkable stuff, and even though there are plenty of filler episodes, they work with the context that previous episodes established. Admittedly, they reach a rut in the middle of season four (particularly with Sunni, who they never make into a good, likeable character – she’s always acting bratty to her detriment – and they loose a lot of established good-will with Cubbi), but they introduce the abandoned Gummi capital of Ursalia, Sir Thornberry, Lady Bane, and the Barbic Bears, a sect of Gummis that broke away from the science/magic Gummis to live off the land, giving the show a more rich, well-developed foundation.
DO YOU SEE THIS? Even as I typed out that proceeding paragraph, I can’t still believe all the things this show did and created. All of these well-thought out, clever and rich ideas were present in this show, and it only seems like a few diehard fans would ever know. Not even the living Disney Afternoon crew seems particularly enamored over what they accomplished here (oddly enough they seem strangely mellow over the entire DA lineup, contrasting with the Tiny Toons/Animaniacs cast, who seem rightly proud of their past creation). But Gummi Bears is a fully realized world of fantasy and sorcery and steampunk, of dungeons and dragons – a Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-esque show with characters that grow and change.
Take Cubbi for instance. The pink bear with a wooden sword who seeks adventure has all the hallmarks of a safe toy product for the youngest of children, arguably desired pink for girls and adventurous for boys (in an attempt to cross the gender divide). Over the course of the show however, it becomes clear that Cubbi is extremely lonely and feels completely helpless. It seems that bears his age would be in the throes of becoming a knight, but due to being the only living bears around, his life is spent running and hiding. With tales and legends of great Gummis fighting and battling for victory filling his books and lessons, it’s no wonder that Cubbi’s thirst for adventure is at his full force. Age be damned – remember in Game of Thrones, the young character of Rickon watches his father behead a man. So here, in “Up, Up, and Away” when the opportunity comes to leave his family behind to finally become a knight, he takes that chance to finally grow up:
If it was any other set of characters, we’d probably be talking about Gummi Bears today, perhaps in the same cult-hushed tones of praise that we give to shows like Gargoyles or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But it’s hard for even myself to reconcile my enjoyment and investment in a show that stars six purposely-cuddly teddy bear toys, and this is from a guy who not only enjoyed The Wuzzles, but honestly believes it ought to be rebooted. Other TV shows should be envious of the amount of detail and development that “plagues” Gummi Bears, and can only give nothing but respect to the cast and crew for contextualizing stuffed animals into a fully-fleshed fantasy world – Lord knows how easy it would have been to coast by, considering those first eight episodes.
Yet despite all my reluctance, I have to give Gummi Bears all sincere credit, breaking away from the easy, simple kid stories and make something with richness and depth. It’s rewarding to see, for example, Cavin’s grandfather, who indirectly discovered the Gummi Bears, return and become privy to their existence. Princess Calla grows into her own as she proves herself to be a warrior. There’s real cultural and logistical tension that arise between the Glen Gummis and the Barbic Gummis, depicting two groups that developed differently and therefore have different approaches to how to handle humans. It takes several episodes for them to reach any real accord, and when they do, it feels earned. “The Rite Stuff” and the two part “King Igthorn” series finale finishes the show in pitch perfect fashion. The refugee Gummis don’t return, but there’s hope that the future holds a true reunion between not only all the Gummis, but the humans as well.
Gummi Bears works so much better than you’d think. It’s smart and clever, adventurous and exciting, dramatic and funny, with a few great gags (and a couple of groaners). Yet the real greatness of the show – its overall development of its characters and deep plot continuity – is rarely, if ever talked about. This should change. Whatever you may think of a show with six rainbow stuffed animals at the helm, Gummi Bears was built for fandom culture. Consider me a fan.
“The access code is: alone.”
After one and a half season of questioning the admiration that was heaped upon Gargoyles, I finally see it. I do not regret my earlier criticisms of the show; for all the genuinely engaging moments, Gargoyles was filled with clunky ones, way past the point a show of this caliber should have. But within these final two parts of “City of Stone,” we have arguably one of the best episodes of the 90s, rivaling even that of the best Batman: The Animated Series episodes. All those table-setting episodes are finally put into place. The writers’ attempt at their own Shakespeare story was a rounding success.
Revenge, and the futility of revenge, was always an underlying theme of Gargoyles. Finding one’s purpose was the major theme, and revenge can be an understandable purpose in life, if a wholly misguided one. Demona, Macbeth, Xanatos, and even Goliath all at some point strove for vengeance – only the latter two managed to push past that desire into something more rewarding: Goliath on protecting the city, Xanatos on… well, yet another massive scheme. Demona and Macbeth, however, are so driven and controlled by revenge, and people who want revenge, that their lives, by their very existence, are tragic in themselves. When Macbeth approaches Demona, he means to kill her, thus ending his own life, after 900-plus years of death, destruction, and tragedy. He wants it to end. He needs it to end. Demona, still driven by vengeance, does not.
But I’m jumping ahead. Part three of “City of Stone” begins with Goliath teaming up with Xanatos to save the city from the stone curse, but they can’t quite begin, since the sun is coming up. The gargoyles turn to stone as the humans turn to flesh, so Xanatos and Owen determine that to break the curse they have to “light the sky on fire”. Science is officially better than magic, because all of these ridiculous curses with seemingly impossible methods to end them can be done simply with some good ol’ fashioned know-how. Thus, Xanatos comes up with the idea of filling the sky with some kind of harmless gas and burning it. Science: 1, Magic: 0.
We then return back to Scotland 1040AD, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this story is based on the real life King Duncan and King Macbeth of Scotland, as mentioned by a commenter in the last post. While that definitely warms me up to the proceedings, I’m still a bit wonky on exactly why Duncan hates Macbeth so much. (Later, it is mentioned that Duncan thought Macbeth’s father would make Macbeth king, which seems a bit of a reach.) They want Duncan to seem paranoid, with a side of crazy, which might have worked better if they didn’t have the scene where Macbeth saves Duncan from falling off a cliff, upon which they become BFFs. The tone shift(s) is sudden, and I’m not sure who Duncan is anymore – not that I knew who he was in the first place.
They wander into a cave and find Demona’s clan in stone. Macbeth convinces Duncan to spare them, which is nice. Unfortunately, they meet the Weird Sisters, who, by calling them both king, instills Duncan with his paranoia again. I have to give kudos to Gargoyles – between Bluestone and Duncan, “crazy” is quite often portrayed very low-key. Still, at the very least Bluestone is a competent cop; Duncan changes attitudes on a whim. (Maybe he’s bipolar?) NOW he’s thinking that Macbeth had him spare the gargoyles because he planned to use them against him. So he goes back with a few men to take the gargoyles out, and crushes quite a few of them, right as the sun sets. Demona emerges from her slumber and breaks free, escaping with a scant few survivors. Also, notice that Demona is getting old.
Koko improved considerably since the previous episode. They don’t screw up Demona’s face, and fight scenes are simultaneously clear and chaotic (in a good way). Their best moment is the animation around the spell that ties Demona and Macbeth together in life and death; lighting flashes, spinning winds, and physical transformations – it’s as if Disney saw the first two parts, called up Koko immediately, and told them to “slow the fuck down.” I also love the detail in how Demona and Macbeth “see” the Weird Sisters – based on their own species – through a hazy, cloudy blur. For you see, Demona and Macbeth, both desperate in their goals for protecting their clans, agree to a pact by the Weird Sisters that results in Macbeth’s youth given to Demona. By tying their lives together (they can only die if one kills the other, Highlander-style), there’s little chance they can betray each other. Right? But lives are not clan, which they will both soon learn.
Their pact settled, the two team up to beat back Duncan’s army. Duncan and Macbeth have it out, and the most bizarre death scene occurs: Macbeth tosses an orb that was given to him by the sisters at Duncan, which explodes and, like, obliterates Duncan’s spirit, electrocutes him, and sets his ass on fire. It’s so crazy, it’s even more intense than watching Demona destroy human stones. This isn’t a saga for the faint of heart. Yet even in this victory, Duncan’s son, of course, vows revenge as he’s exiled to England. Macbeth is crowned king, and Demona is made his adviser, all in the effort to bridge a new relationship between human and gargoyle alike. The road to hell, etc.
Back to the present, Goliath and Xanatos head out with the gas with which to fill the sky. Elisa arrives just then and scuffles with Owen a bit before the sun sets and they turn to stone again. Who so secretly emerges from the hidden depths of the castle? Demona! Mace in hand, she approaches the frozen Elisa, alone, eager to smash her most hated adversary to bits. Goliath is driven to protect, but Demona is still driven by hate and revenge.
Luckily, Bronx saves Elisa from Demona’s wrath as part four of “City of Stone” begins. This episode also goes all out with its theatricality, starting with Demona scenery-chewing over her hatred of humans and her plan to ignite the sky-gas earlier than expected, thus wiping out Goliath, Xanatos, and the rest. Outside of this episode I might have cringed over this Swat Kats-level of exposition, but here, it works, and voice actor Marina Sirtis delivers each line as if she was a real demon on the stage.
It is at this point that the story becomes just as juicy as the dialogue. The modern-day Hunter appears, demanding he and Demona finally settle things. We then return back to the past, where the newly crowned Macbeth goes up again an invading army of Englishman, led by Duncan’s son, Canmore, in Hunter-mask and all grown up. The Hunter has convinced the English of the monstrosity of the gargoyles and their “Satanic” loyalty to Macbeth, which netted him a sizable force. It’s a battle Macbeth easily wins with the help of Demona and her fellow gargoyles, but he swears to return. What “City of Stone” tells us is how the need and thirst for vengeance is endless, causing people to make terrible choices with horrific consequences. Even though the show focuses solely on its main characters, how many people died on the outskirts for these out-of-control personal vendettas?
Bodhe, Gruoch’s father, in some ways, was always the voice of reason, or at least the most level-headed person here. I’ve not talked about him at all, but he’s probably the most important character within this massive game of murder and violence. His attempts to reach Macbeth is simply his way to end the madness, but, like all great tragedies, nothing can really stop the dramatic momentum of the inevitable. It’s in Bodhe’s suggestion that Macbeth betray the gargoyles to the Hunter – a suggestion that Demona overhears – that breaks everything apart. It’s the poison from Romeo and Juliet. That mere comment immediately leads to total ruin.
When the Hunter returns with more English soldiers, there are no gargoyles to help. Macbeth and Gruoch flee as their castle is conquered, and out in the wilderness, Canmore, Macbeth, and Demona meet for the last time. Demona immediately assumed that Macbeth, without a doubt, would betray her – and you can’t really blame her, after all she has been through. But we know Macbeth would never betray her, which makes this all the more tragic. It’s a painful, heartfelt scene, and Canmore doesn’t give two shits, stabbing Macbeth and killing the soul-linked gargoyle in the process. It’s a temporary death, though, as the Weird Sisters wakes them up, clarifying that only one can kill the other. They flee from each other, to fight for another day.
Which happens to be today. It’s been obvious since the beginning, but Macbeth was under the modern-day Hunter mask all along. While I have to point out how Macbeth was retconned a little over the course of the series, changing from a general, nondescript gargoyle-hunter into a real character solely aiming for Demona, the change was for the better. Note how Macbeth’s desire to kill Demona isn’t revenge, but couched in his desire to end it all – after so many years living on the run, alone, a killer, he’s so, so tired. But Demona still has humans to kill.
The final sequence here is fantastic. Goliath and Xanatos and Macbeth and Demona battle it out, made much more exciting with so many varying forces and elements in play. When Macbeth has an opportunity to finish off Demona, though, the Weird Sisters appear. After being so mysterious for so many episodes, it seems as if they’re ultimately good (or, chaotic good), as they manage to convince Macbeth to end the violence and, impossibly so, convince Demona to confess her part in this entire century-spanning disaster. The quote above – the code to prevent the sky from burning up prematurely – is heart-breaking, showing Demona’s vulnerability for the first time. It’s even more tragic when, afterwards, she convinces herself she was under a spell, showcasing her desire to wipe out the human race. That will come at another time, for the Sisters magically snatches Demona and Macbeth up to god knows where.
Xanatos lights up the sky and indeed saves humanity from its stone prison. Goliath and Xanatos reluctantly admit their made a good team. It’s doubtful that will last – team-ups with Xanatos don’t seem to have much staying power. Still, “City of Stone” worked because it was focused and tragic, with motivated characters and extremely high stakes. I’m still not one hundred percent on the Weird Sisters’ motivations, but that’s the point – they’re meant to be mysterious. Throughout “City of Stone,” the Sisters spoke often to Goliath, to ensure that he would remember to keep his own sense of vengeance in check, some he has learned many episodes ago. If someone so passionate as Goliath can break away from such desires, perhaps there’s hope for Demona. That, to paraphrase the Sisters, is a story for another day.
City of Stone: A-
[This will be the last Gargoyles review for about two weeks, as things have gotten somewhat hairy in real life. More information will be given on Friday.]
Dear Koko Animation,
Please decide whether or not Demona has cheekbones. In fact, the answer is no – Demona doesn’t have cheekbones, it makes her seem like she’s (relatively) 90 years-old. What the hell is wrong with you?
Visual oversight aside, Gargoyles, as implied in the previous review, is truly making some headway in the narrative department. Even though the first two parts of the “City of Stone” saga is heavily dependent on flashbacks, the actual story is moving forward, questions are answers, stakes are raised, and major events begin to occur. We finally get Demona’s take on events during and after the gargoyle massacre in “Awakenings,” and if there was any doubt to Gargoyles’ connection to Shakespearean allegories, well, three creepy sisters would like to tell you otherwise.
The Weird Sisters that pop up in and out of the various events in the first two parts of “City of Stone” are wonderfully creepy, giving an extra surreal sheen to already surreal events. They seem to be helpful to a mystical fault, as they attempt to persuade Demona to team up with Macbeth to defeat the Hunter (in the past), yet give Goliath warnings to be wary of revenge (in the present). They also drool over an upcoming “event” 975 years in the making, and they seem complacent in the machinations of Prince Duncan’s horrific acts back in 1000AD. Maybe they’re just mysteriously opportunistic. I doubt it, though.
“City of Stone” finally destroys the already tenuous alliance between Xanatos and Demona, which was on thin ice back in “Reawakening.” In the first part, Demona promises Xanatos that the spell she has will prolong their lives for centuries. Xanatos allows her to broadcast this spell to the world via Pack Studios video equipment. Xanatos knows something up, and tells Owen to only watch or listen, not both. Owen opts to only listen – but the spell isn’t right. When he goes to fight back, Demona traps him and forces him to watch AND listen to the whole thing.
These events are interspersed with the tragic story surging at the heart of Demona’s life struggle. When Goliath and Hudson headed off to fight the Vikings, Demona argues with her partner/betrayer. He reassures her that the Vikings won’t break the stone gargoyles in the morning, but let’s be real – we’ve all seen No Country for Old Men (alright, alright – The Dark Knight). There are some forces that you just can’t reason with, and Demona’s suspicions trigger her to duck out for the evening, away from the castle. Sure enough, when she gets back, everything is destroyed. She can’t bear to face Goliath upon his return, so she retreats into the night.
Weismen and co. use this opportunity to, for better or for worse, create their own Shakespeare play of sorts, creating a scenario about a soon-to-be-coronated prince named Duncan concerned about the popularity of his cousin, Macbeth, to the point that Duncan goes out of his way to plot his (and Macbeth’s father) death. The story they tell works so, so well, despite that it doesn’t make a lick of sense, since succession is purely about bloodline, not popular vote. Duncan would have been king no matter what, no matter how much more popular Macbeth seems to be (nor does the show display the populace’s reaction to Duncan or Macbeth, so a lot of these opinions are based on heresay).
The basic tale, though, is what’s so intriguing, so full of twists and turns and, yes, contrivances, because as much as we seem loathe to admit it, the best tragedies consists of contrived, convenient events that end in horrific results by people who mean well but tend to be viciously misguided. So the tale begins here, in the first part of “City of Stone,” where we see a young Macbeth fall in love with a girl named Gruoch, but is forced to marry a man named Gillecomgain by the decree of Prince Duncan. The scratches on Gillecomgain’s face are the result of a claw swipe from Demona many moons ago, when she attacked a stable boy while scavenging for food. This scratched boy has grown up to be an masked assassin, sort of, known as The Hunter.
Demona, during this time, has been laying low, gathering expatriot gargoyles and striking at the humans in quick, hit-and-run skirmishes. She relishes the chance to finish off this Hunter, who was sent after her as well, so by narrative decree, she gets indirectly roped into this story as well. The whole thing is big, grand, and dramatic, with boastful words to no one but the audience, grand gestures that add weight instead of melodrama to the preceding. The final conflict between the Hunter, Macbeth, Macbeth’s father, Gruoch, and Demona is, as mentioned, contrived as hell, but works, because it’s a tense, thrilling scene. especially since we know Gargoyles isn’t afraid to kill off a few of its characters. The Hunter kills Macbeth’s father, but escapes when Demona, with a surprising amount of heart, saves Macbeth and Gruoch from their deaths as well.
In the present, Owen calls Xanatos to warn him about Demona’s incorrect spell, but the sun goes down. As the gargoyles emerge from their stone slumber, the entire city of New York who watched (and listened) to Demona’s broadcast entered their own stone slumber. Fox was a victim of the broadcast, and the first part ends with a stone cold Fox (literally!) at the controls of Xanatos’ helicopter, her and Xanatos falling to their deaths. And the worst is yet to come.
The second part of “City of Stone” is vicious. Demona gleefully smashes a number of stone humans, and frankly I’m stunned that Disney let this happen. When the gargoyles were destroyed in “Awakening,” that at least happened off-screen. Demona’s rampage is up front and center, and it literally sent chills down my spine. The gargoyles follow her trail of destruction and death, and they have another bizarre conversation with the Weird Sisters, warning Goliath of the dangers of revenge. These three continue to be wonderfully mysterious, and I’m not sure if their end game will be revealed in the next two parts, or later in the second season.
We get more information about the past and Demona’s backstory, her continuing fight with the Hunter, and more intrigue involved with Prince Duncan. I have to admit that I’m somewhat confused. Gillecomgain here says that Macbeth is heir to the throne. So Prince Duncan isn’t? I’m not sure if Duncan wants to take out Macbeth because he’s afraid that his popularity would garner supporters for him to be a potential king, or if Macbeth is heir to a different castle and Duncan simply is resorting to literal backstabbing to snag more power. Why Duncan feels Macbeth is a threat is unclear. Maybe he just wants to murder some guys. Maybe he just likes to fuck with people.
That might be the case, actually. Duncan orders Gruoch to marry Gillecomgain and then pushes for Gillecomgain to finish off Macbeth. The Hunter refuses, and Duncan, who clearly doesn’t like to be refused, “reveals” to Macbeth that Gillecomgain was the one who killed his father. More swooping plot developments and grand events and elaborate betrayals give “City of Stone” an exciting foundation that even the best Gargoyles episodes so far seemed to lack. And these events are given an extra element, when the Weird Sisters convinces Demona to strike the Hunter, with the help of Macbeth. She’s reluctant, but concedes.
We get a great final sequence, with Macbeth, The Hunter, and Demona once again going at each other with Gruoch in the midst. It’s all swords, maces, and good ol’ fashioned fisticuffs, with a bit of thematic parallelism when Macbeth saves Demona life as the Hunter falls to his death. Macbeth and Demona seem linked somehow, and I wonder if the Weird Sisters are involved, since they want Demona and Macbeth to work together so much. In the end, Macbeth marries Gruoch, and Prince Duncan seethes while he watches from afar. While it’s still confusing as to why exactly Duncan hates Macbeth so much, there’s something stirring as he grasps the Hunter’s mask in his hand. He then hands over his son to three familiar, creepy female caretakers.
Back in the present, the gargoyles track Demona to Pack Studios, where Xanatos, who managed to land the helicopter safely, destroys the broadcast of Demona’s spell. And suddenly, a modern day Hunter appears! He and Demona go at it, and Koko’s fight scenes continue to be effective even though their character model designs fluctuates way too much. “City of Stone,” with its epic tone and larger stakes, should have been animated by Disney’s signature animation studios. Still, there are so many interesting things in the air now, especially now with this Hunter around and Demona on the prowl – not to mention the city still in the midst of a rocky situation. To that end, Goliath has no choice but to team up with Xanatos, which is never a good sign.
Next week looks to be very interesting.
[I decided to grade “City of Stone” like I graded “Awakening” – as a whole. So the grade will come next week!]