Defenders Of The Earth REVIEW

Defenders Of The Earth DVD review

Release Date: 18 February 2013
1986-7 | PG | 1,334 minutes | £49.99
Distributor: Fabulous Films
Director: Will Meugniot
Cast: Lou Richards, William Callaway, Peter Renaday, Peter Mark Richman, Buster Jones

Never underestimate the power of a kick-ass theme tune. Eighties cartoon Defenders Of The Earth is built from lazy storytelling, duff characters and some of the shoddiest animation this side of King Rollo, yet none of that mattered to pre-pubescent minds anaesthetised by those earwormy opening credits.

Taking characters from the old King Comics stable, Defenders unites Flash Gordon (ace pilot), Mandrake (illusionist), Lothar (hard man) and The Phantom (bloke in purple unitard) as they battle a Ming the Merciless (now green-skinned) who’s set up shop under the North Pole. Alas, as a team-up of comic book heroes, the eponymous Defenders are unlikely to give the Avengers or the Justice League many sleepless nights – especially with a quartet of uniquely annoying (sorry, skilled) kids in tow.

A masterclass in mediocrity, the 65 episodes here display near-total contempt for their young target audience. Lazy is the word that springs to mind – even excusing the woeful production values, the action sequences are half-baked, there’s no sense of fun, and the dialogue is humourless drivel from the “I will tell the viewers what I am doing in tedious detail” school of writing. In a spectacular continuity blip, there’s one episode (“Root Of Evil”) where the look of the show is inexplicably different, with a grey-skinned Ming, redesigned Ice Robots and new looks for the Defenders. They even manage to misspell Lothar’s name in the first episode’s credits.

Best left to hazy memories of childhood.

Extras: None.

Richard Edwards

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