Revisited: Toxic Crusaders: The Movie

Toxic Crusaders: The Movie

PLOT:

Several episodes of the 1991 show edited together tell the story of Toxie and his hideously deformed super human mutant friends who fight insectoid alien Dr. Killemoff and his henchmen who use radioactive waste to take over the world.

REVIEW:

Sunday night I went on a listening spree of old cartoon theme songs. It was a genuine trip down memory lane, as some I had forgotten, other brought up memories of childhood, and others just have that feel good vibe. One of the themes I came across was for the Toxic Crusaders, a cartoon based on The Toxic Avenger franchise (but severely watered down for kids). A few of the first episodes were spliced together to give us Toxic Crusaders: The Movie.

What is this about?

In the latest installment of the adventures of America’s most improbable superhero, The Toxic Avenger battles the evildoers who threaten his home-sweet-hometown of Tromaville — especially Dr. Killemoff (Michael J. Pollard), who attempts to destroy Toxie as he travels from the planet Smogula. The dastardly doctor’s plans for Tromaville must be stopped at all costs. Thank heavens America’s favorite mutant mop-wielder is around to save the day!

What did I like?

Keep it clean. As anyone that has seen The Toxic Avenger can attest, it is not exactly the kind of film that you can sit down and watch with your kids. So, the fact that there was a Saturday morning cartoon based on it is mind-blowing. However, the creators of this show, one of them being Chuck Lorre (the guy behind The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, and Two and a Half Men), made it work. While Toxie isn’t gruesomely killing people, he does still save the day.

Animation of the time. Clearly, this was made in the early 90s. The jokes, tone, music, and look all scream that is the case. Personally, I love this simplistic look that cartoons had back in the day. Not only can one sit and watch this without going into seizures like what happens when watching some of today’s ‘toons, but there is a care taken with hand drawn animation that seems to be forgotten in this day of computers and flash animation.

Know your source. Sometimes, movies were licensed out to animation companies and the resulting product was so far removed from the source material, you’re left scratching your head. Luckily, that isn’t the case here, as there is an obvious care to at least attempt to keep Toxie’s origin the same. Now, the purpose of the show leads to different characters and such, but that’s not my point. The people behind this cartoon knew what they were doing when they signed on and delivered a product worthy of its namesake.

What didn’t I like?

Stop recycling. Taking into account that this is 3 episodes spliced together to make a “movie”, I couldn’t help u quickly get burned out by some of the recurring, recycled material. The jokes, man, the jokes! Boy, howdy, did they recycle those. Once or twice is fine, but this went on for the entire runtime! Now, it should be noted that this was par for the course when it comes to early 90s cartoons. Lord knows Taz-Mania, Animaniacs, etc. did nothing but recycle their jokes, but they at least repackaged them to the point where it wasn’t as obvious. With this, you could almost make a drinking game with everytime someone said “hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength!”

For the fans…but what about everyone else? I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of the franchise, but I am “in the know”, as they say. This is perhaps the reason I was able to get some of the inside jokes that related to the movie. There weren’t many, but a few do exist. I have to think this was done as a fan service, but what about everyone else? Do they get nothing but confusion?

Spliced. If I recall, this was made as a direct-to-video release near the end of the show’s run as an effort to bolster interest, a practice that is done more often that you think. However, given that there was only one season of this, I can’t help but wonder what it would have taken to get an actual movie? Would it really have been that hard? These characters are so lovable and relatable, they deserve better than to have been run off and forgotten, while folks still remember crap like Street Sharks and Biker Mice from Mars.

Truthfully, there isn’t much to say about Toxic Crusaders: The Movie. It is what it is, a compilation of the first episodes. Does it work as a movie? No, not really. It is quite obvious this is nothing but a mixture of the episodes with nothing new thrown in to connect them. With that said, it is still a good, fun time to watch. I would like for this series to have gone on longer, but what can you do, right? Give this a shot and see what you think.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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