Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where this week we start with a minor mea culpa: I thought that I had the first two episodes of Night Man ready to be watched, but it turns out I was in error and wouldn’t be able to get them before press time. So instead, this week we’re discussing 1989’s Pryde of the X-Men!
What’s The Plot?
Young mutant Kitty Pryde accepts an invite to attend the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters at the worst possible time: Magneto’s “Brotherhood of Mutant Terrorists” busts into the school while the X-Men are away and steal the power enhancement circuit of Cerebro. The X-Men must mount a dangerous mission to Asteroid M to reclaim the circuit and prevent the Master of Magnetism from crashing a comet into Earth! Can they succeed? Well, this was meant to be a pilot episode…
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Toei Animation (the studio that gave the world Voltron and Dragonball) animated it for Marvel Productions itself. It was more or less made on spec, to drum up interest in an X-Men cartoon. It worked.
Worth noting, this pilot served as the basis of the classic X-Men arcade game by Konami – the favorite of many a 90’s kid. This is explains why Dazzler of all people is in the game…though not why she’s in this pilot.
Five Reasons to See It
- The Danger Room sequence. When Kitty first arrives at the X-Mansion, the X-Men are training in the Danger Room (hologrammed up to look like an Indiana Jones-esque South American temple) and fight through obstacles that show off their powers as Professor X introduces them. It’s well animated and fairly clever, and it’s a bit of a surprise it hasn’t been aped by any other X-Men productions yet.
- Wolverine is Australian. It wasn’t the first time. It wouldn’t be the last.
- The White Queen is a member of the Brotherhood, which is a little odd. Her powers are even stranger: She can fly and throw bolts of light that cast illusions, disrupt electronics, and can be blocked by Cyclops’ optic blasts. So…the mutant ability to do whatever the plot needs – a time honored super power.
- THE THEME SONG. It will be stuck in your head from now until the day you die, even if you can’t quite figure out the chorus.
- “Welcome. This is Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, warning you to look around you. Your classmates, your friends. You never know which one of them may be a mutant. A person born with strange and wondrous powers. Now, some mutants like the X-Men, use their special gifts for good. But, then there are the terrorist mutants, who plan to destroy the human race.”
Pryde of the X-Men is an all-time VHS classic! The animation is far above par for any other Marvel cartoon of the era, it does a great job introducing the viewer to the X-Men and their world, and…it kind of sucks. It comes from an era when Children’s animation was sort of dumbed down and it really shows. Not helping the utterly obnoxious voice that the otherwise great E.G. Daly (best known as Tommy from Rugrats and Dottie from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) gives to Kitty Pryde – imagine the whiniest teenage girl you’ve ever know, then double that. But for a great many fans, this is going to hold a special place in the heart and it is a pretty fun watch.
NEXT WEEK: In celebration of the release of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, we’re going to review the most blatant attempt to hold the film rights on the characters ever made – 1994’s low budget, never-to-be-released Fantastic Four.