Normally, we’d bring you a bunch of random shorts all under one theme and from a variety of filmmakers and producer. This week, I’m bringing you a fantastic group of short films about superheroes because well, it’s San Diego Comic Con and everyone has heroes on the brain.
A hero from another dimension lives as a homeless man who drinks too much on the streets of Los Angeles. A wannabe influencer finds him and decides to tell his story by shadowing him no matter how dangerous it gets.
I’d be lying if I said that I’m the biggest Scooby Doo fan around. Hell, I’m still stunned that Hanna Barbera has placed so much stock in the franchise for so many decades, but I digress. I had high hopes going in to “Scoob!” as every generation is introduced to Scooby Doo once again in some new form, and “Scoob!” seemed like the right avenue. Not only does it give us a new vision of Scooby Doo, but it makes tweaks to the mythos that I liked, while also establishing a shared Hanna Barbera universe. And yet, at the end of it all, I’d still rather have seen “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island” or “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost,” again.
As a Hanna Barbera geek, I have to say “Mask of the Blue Falcon” hit all the right notes. I didn’t just have a good time with the surprisingly clever vehicle for the Mystery Inc. crew, but I also had so much fun pointing out all of the Easter Eggs. And yes, every single Easter Egg within “Mask of the Blue Falcon” is a reference to a Hanna Barbera cartoon from the sixties and seventies. I’m just disappointed we didn’t see anything referencing “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids.” What? It’s an obscenely underrated Scooby Doo wannabe, darnit!
I will never understand the reasoning behind Frank Miller ever wanting to direct his own superhero movie. It’s not that he’s directing a movie, either, it’s that he’s directing a movie in the style of Robert Rodriguez’s fast and cheap process where he merely places his cast in front of a green screen for ninety percent of his film. And we must endure a hundred minute crime thriller with people that stumble around a CGI world. Frank Miller has no idea how to grasp at anything other than dark, violent, and gritty thus he takes Will Eisner’s groundbreaking comics and tacks it on to his “Sin City” neo-noir universe. Miller doesn’t outright say it to us, but Miller wants us to very much believe that “The Spirit” is a shared universe with “Sin City.”
Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’s “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” is that kind of zany superhero spoof that, with some watering down, probably could have been a Warner Bros. cartoon in the nineties. After having such immense success with Toxie, Troma makes a second grab for cult fame, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle once again. Thankfully, not only is Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. one of Troma’s most iconic and popular characters who stands proudly beside Toxie, but his movie is good to boot. “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” is filled with the typical Troma tropes that make it such a blast. The acting is iffy, the violence is gruesome, the humor is off the wall and original, and the pacing is break neck.
A small time criminal, Enzo, jumps in the Tiber River to escape his pursuers. Little does he know, the river hides a secret and he gains super strength. With this new power, he starts off looking out only for himself until he gets to know his neighbor Alessia. Written by Nicola Guaglianone and Menotti and directed by Gabriele Mainetti, They Call Me Jeeg Robot is an interesting take on the superhero myth and how a person who is at the basis bad would take the powers and run with them. The characters built here are majorly flawed people, starting with the hero, Enzo Ceccotti who finds himself with this super strength while also being completely broke and in need of something to get him out of the hole he dug for himself.
Pretty much all of the later series from Hanna Barbera included a group of snot nosed teens solving crime along with some odd sidekick. After “Scooby Doo” the company repeated the successful formula thirty times with varied results. Often times it was incredibly awful like “Jabberjaw” and sometimes it was fun like “Space Ghost.” One of the last Hanna Barbera shows to feature that awkward laugh track addition, “Captain Caveman” mixes the studios odd fixation on the stone age, with crime solving teens, and the whole “Scooby Doo” formula to create a pretty decent animated adventure show.