Thundercats was original made in 1983 but not shown until 1985, it fittingly became a cult TV hit, it was faster paced and sleeker than He-Man and fairs slightly better in retrospective, spawning a tonne of merchandising like it’s counterpart. An update or film version have been arguably long overdue.
There’s no talking Snarf in the latest version but the major difference with the Thundercats 2011 is the setting, there’s no 3rd earth, it’s Thundera, that is in Planet of the Apes sort if way with flashbacks throughout. There’s glimpses of Star Wars, Stargate and other sci-fi, but it borrows from the best. The characters dynamics, look and their relationships have been slightly tweaked. The mains given a more mature edge that allows exploration of conflicting divergences. Those familiar with the original will recognise new incarnations of reworked sub characters usually the antagonists.
Thundercats 2011 is reminiscent of He-man more so than its 1985 predecessor due to Thundera’s Eternia-like feel and borrows from plenty from the recent Lord of the Rings trilogy especially in look during battle scenes including the civilians going underground. That aside, the animation, stories and dialogue are extremely entertaining and there are plenty of nods to the original series. It also includes a cameo from the original Lion-o voice actor Larry Kenney.
However, don’t be mistaken it is different and not in a bad way, strikingly the episodes are very emotionally charged even more so than the original series. There are a few main characters that are omitted in the first fistful of episodes but that’s not to say then may not grace the screen in later outings.
To really enjoy Thundercats 2011 most will have to put aside the cartoon they fell in love with. This is a darker distinctly styled incarnation yet thankfully it stays true to the original spirit of the Thundercats.