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Deweaponized Love

January 23, 2011

I still need to finish fanboying about the 80s TV version of Cobra, but let’s take something of a detour and talk about the Cobra movie.

The movie’s something of a remix of the storyline covered in the episodes I’ve already written about. Cobra’s still tracking down three sisters who share some sort of telepathic bond, but they’re no longer the daughters of some sort of space pirate whose treasure is awesomer than the One Piece. Instead, they’re the three descendants of some alien queen from a long-dead planet drifting about the cosmos. Said planet is actually a massive space ship that has the capacity to blow up an entire galaxy, and the Guild (Namely Crystal Boy) want to get their hands on it so they can work their piratey nastiness.

So the objective, a super weapon, is the same, but the “how” to the whole situation veers off in a different direction. Crystal Boy has brainwashed one of the sisters, Catherine, who was the goody-two-shoes teacher sister in the TV series. She’s helping Crystal Boy track down/lure in her sisters, because if only one sister is left alive, she becomes the new queen of this planet/ship/bomb and gains control of it. Crystal Boy’s using her so he can then backstab her, take control of the planet, and use it to literally blow up a galaxy in order to show the might of the Guild. Fucking bastard, that Crystal Boy.

The catch is that there’s a way to stop all of this that doesn’t involve shooting people with lasers and cutting them in half. Cobra has a chance to solve all of this through love. Yes. Love.

See, through some sort of new age mysticism trick or something like that, if all three sisters fall in love with the same man (Cobra, obviously), then they’ll pull off some sort of combination trick, like Voltron of the giant critter ball in Critters 2, and become a singular superqueen. And with their powers combined, the day will be saved and galaxies won’t have to be nuked.

At least, that option is presented to Cobra. And it isn’t like Cobra is against this idea or anything. He’s the daddy mack daddy and all, but even he’s not too keen on rushing into three different relationships. He gets down with the first sister, Jane, pretty easily, but they have a lot in common. They both enjoy killing space pirates for a profit, and they both enjoy fighting flying Madballs as a form of foreplay.

But the second sister, Dominique, just sort of forces her love on Cobra. Sure, she’s a hot naked chick riding a flying horse made out of electricity and all, but Cobra just saw Jane get killed by Crystal Boy scant days before said naked chick pops into his life. He isn’t quite ready to move on, you know? He’s a player, but even he needs some time to grieve. And once Dominique gets impaled by Crystal Boy, Cobra’s through with this love shit. Yeah, he loves him some telepath booty, but sometimes you need to put a laser through a chick’s head to truly express love. We learned that in the recent TV remake.

So, we have a movie that presents us with the option that “love conquers all,” but in the end said approach has to be rejected because it’s downright impractical. It’s nice to think that a loving embrace will solve all of your problems, or some heartfelt speech will turn the hearts of those on the wrong side of love, but Cobra knows better than that. He knows that such fanciful notions are the stuff of daydreamers incapable of affecting real change in the world. He knows that the only way love can conquer is after you’ve sliced the villain in half by using his own weapons against him. Only then can you let the sunshine in.

In the end, the movie isn’t quite as awesome as the TV series as far as the storyline is concerned. It goes for something a little more grandiose, but it doesn’t quite come together as the down and dirty equivalent from the TV series. Where the movie totally kicks the TV series’ ass is in the visuals.

The animation itself isn’t radically better or anything, but the actual art direction is downright awesome. The opening credit sequence really plays off of Cobra’s James Bond roots, except it’s as if Stanley Kubrick circa 2001 got his hands on a Bond flick. Lots of space babies and the like. There’s some other great shots in the movie proper, especially some nice bits that use mirrors and reflections impressively. This flick’s worth watching just for the visuals alone, although I’m sure some of the modern kiddies will look down on it because it isn’t all CG colored and shit. All that can look good too, but this old school shit’s just as visually impressive if you ask me.

Star Wars’ influence is felt considerably more in the movie than it is in the TV series. Some of the musical cues sound like they’re straight from a John Williams score. The opening sequence in a bar has background music that very much like the stuff playing in the cantina in Star Wars, while some of the action scenes bounce back and forth between the music from the Death Star scene in Wars and the theme from Superman. And Crystal Boy is decidedly more Darth Vader like in the movie, what with his busting out his ribs and using them like light sabers. Even Cobra uses one in their final fight scene, turning their showdown into “What if Han Solo had a light saber, attached it to his blaster, and shot it at Darth Vader.” Yes, it’s as awesome as that sounds.

So yeah. Cobra is awesome. Go watch it already. If you’re afraid of 31 episode series because you have the sort of commitment issues that a harem anime lead has, give the movie a try.

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