Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Top 10 80’s Cartoons

Oh the 80’s. The decade that gave us the Wonder Years, Who’s the Boss, great video games and a flippant hairstyle as high as a skyriser. What else could the 80’s be known for? What about all the great cartoons that came out in the 80’s? In this list, we will go through what we think are the top 10 cartoons from the 80’s. These are the cartoons that we watched after school, before school, on weekends, and any time we had the privilege to tape the shows on our VCR (mostly after school though). We wanted to revisit these gems to let everyone remember how amazing cartoons were in their yesteryear. We thought about these cartoons in our sleep and talked about them at class during the day. Here then are our the greatest cartoons of the 80’s.

10. Smurfs

080610smurfs.jpgOne female in the entire population. One red-hatted elder who holds no real power but is in charge of keeping the village work organized. Everyone has the same size house. Everyone has the same power and authority. Everyone has a unique skill that contributes to the harmony of the population. Everyone is blue. Smurf your smurfing communist conspiracies, this was a wholesome tale about being unique. While they all looked the same, dressed the same, and lived the same, they all had unique personality traits that helped to save the group from mean old Gargamel and that hungry, misunderstood Azrael. Coincidentally, there was a local band back in the mid-nineties called Liquid Azrael who did a mean cover of Sesame Street’s 1-2-3-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12. SMURF YOU! I thought that was entirely smurfing relevant to the discussion (smurfing smurf-holes…).

9. Gummi Bears

gummi_bears.jpgBouncing here and there and everywhere. You remember the show, don’t you? Disney animated Gummi Bears was a fun romp following the escapades of the furry little bears who drank magic Gummiberry Juice and bounced around the forest and outsmarted Duke Igthorn every week. The production quality of the show was great and would set the benchmark for all the other great Disney cartoons that would soon follow it. The show began the great Disney Afternoon timeslot run, which included many great shows such as DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, and Gargoyles.

8. GI Joe

1034458999_turesgijoe.jpgGI Joe: A Real American Hero was a half an hour of pure entertainment. Hawk and Sgt. Slaughter on operations with the significance on par with the biggest moments in history. Could Hasbro have any idea how successful GI Joe would be in the animation realm? These cartoons were flashy, loud, in your face, and all around dominating. GI Joe’s strength and rigor were consistently tested by Cobra who was always stealing shit like teleportation units and weapons that could manipulate weather. These were certainly large tasks for the GI Joe team all bundled up in half an hour segments. You got what you sat down for when watching GI Joe. You wanted these cartoon to last an hour instead.

7. He-Man

bestofhe-man1.jpgHe-Man was the strongest of the strong. The most powerful of the most powerful, and he embodied all these qualities in the 80’s cartoon that spoke to a generation of nerds who wanted to hold the power of He-Man. Maybe we also liked the fact that He-Man could probably get any women he wanted to, and we couldn’t. At least we were honest in our admiration of that which was better than us lonely nerds seeking solace in a fictional cartoon. Who else could blow a gust of wind so powerful that it could knock opponents off a cliff? Who else could rub their hands together fast enough to turn sand into glass? He-Man is the ubermanch of the modern cartoon world. If only it were real. If only we were able to be He-Man for one day.

6. Transformers

transformersinaction.jpgTransformers Generation 1 was a firestorm for the cartoon market. It had everything a kid wanted. Robots destroying robots. Robots transforming into even bigger robots. Robots combining powers to destroy even bigger combining transforming robots. This show was huge and anyone who ever wanted to be a machine man would identify with Transformers austere disposition. Was there ever more of a recognizable robot in all of cartoon fiction that Optimus Prime? He is referenced everywhere in modern TV and for good reason. He was the first non-sentimental protagonist in robot history. He smashed buildings at will and dominated destructive bots at the drop of an oil spill from his energy tank. The transition from comic book to cartoon was flawless for Transformers, with the cartoon actually becoming more successful than the comic book. This certainly can be called a smooth transition.

5. Mario Brothers

super-mario-brothers-adj.jpgOf course we had to include Mario Brothers on our list, not only because it’s Nintendo’s main protagonist, but because the show had such great storylines and ironic twists that it led to a pure entertainment experience. Luigi was being pulled down drains, Mario was rapping with Milli Vanilli up in the clouds, and the Princess was looking as good Natalie Portman in Closer. Their adventures would take them to the sea, the desert and to all the areas in the actual Mario Brothers game. Everyone who played the Mario games enjoyed this cartoon. Bowser was up to his old antics chasing the brothers around the world all the while contemplating world domination. The Mario Brothers can never do wrong, and they continued their successful streak with this fun cartoon.

4. Rescue Rangers

rropen5.jpgRescue Rangers went side by side with Duck Tales with the title of greatest cartoon of the 80’s. The adventures of Chip and Dale would last in the viewers head for some time to come. They were always avoiding a fat cat who appropriately smoked a massive cigar signifying smoking negativity to an impressionable youth. Gadget came up with the best technological designs to ward off the fat cat while always looking stunning for a pale faced rat. Both Chip and Dale would fight over her throughout the series. Some of these conflicts became some of the best moments in the cartoon series. Some of the most memorable moments came from their adventures on their hot air balloon traversing the globe in search of their desires. Memorable characters, great inventions, great story lines, Rescue Rangers was a great cartoon.

3. Thundercats

thundercats.jpgThe eighties were all about team work, and no cartoon exemplified this more than Thundercats. Generally speaking, cats are solitary creatures, except for lions of course, which is probably why Lion-o was the leader, since he was the only one who had experience working in groups. You never see packs of cheetahs or jaguars though, let alone a mixed pack of the feline species, or kingdom, or phylum, or whatever (I was never good at biology). Anyway Thundercats had a similar plot to Superman, their planet blew up and they had to flee so they ended up crashing on a planet called Third Earth. What happened to the first two we’ll never know since that was never addressed in the plot. They also fought a mummy and creatively enough his name was Mum-ra. This show was great, personally I loved the snarfs the most. Though I often wondered if the thundercats would eat them if times got bad. I also had a huge crush on Cheetara, she was such a babe.

2. Duck Tales

scroogewithnephews.jpgEveryone remembers the theme song to Duck Tales, and for good reason. Everyone watched every episode of this show. After school at 4:00, you knew where you were. You were on the couch eating an early dinner or snack watching Duck Tales. Scrooge McDuck and the boys were constantly getting into trouble or preventing trouble. The adventures that the three of them would go on would be epic. They went through Amazon rain forests, go back in time to ancient Greece, and even deep underwater looking for a fortune for their rapacious uncle. This show would never get dull, and the viewer was always on edge experiencing the tales of the young anthropomorphic ducks. Duck Tales was one of the best of the 80’s cartoons. You couldn’t watch just one episode.

1. Voltron

voltron.jpgThis was the pinnacle of 80s cartoons. It combined all the genius of the previously listed cartoons, animals (specifically lions), robots, magic, monsters, space travel, swords, babely babes, and mean bitches. The five robot lines were each stored in the most awesome garages ever, needless to say they were perfectly suited for the elemental association each lion carried with it. Keith was the leader, he was your typical hero, quick on his feet and cool in command. Lance was the cool guy, he might have been French, I don’t know, either way I bet he got laid the most, he had that sort of troubled vibe. The princess was also a babe, I had a crush on her too. Imagine a threesome with her and Cheetara, now that would be freaky. Then there was the nerd pidge. He seemed like the type that might have installed a camera in the princess’s shower. Finally was the muscle, Hunk. He’s the guy you take to the bar so when you pick a fight he can beat everyone up.

The crew from Voltron fought a cadre of bad guys ruled by King Zarkon. His son, Prince Lothar, always seemed like the rich kid who would take daddies’ Benze and wreck it after a night at the clubs. I have a serious chip on my shoulder about rich kids, never liked ‘em. Basically in every episode the witch Haggar would make a Robeast and voltron would defeat it. Haggar worked for Zarkon on the contingent that when Zarkon finally defeats Voltron she would get the associated magic. I would have went for health insurance and a good pension but whatever. She’s also the reason that Voltron was broken up into five robot lions rather than the full robot. It never seemed like much of a disadvantage really, maybe she felt stupid after that, and that was why she was working for free. Much of my early childhood was spent pretending to be Voltron. It was great. This line still gives me chills: “Ready to form Voltron! Activate interlocks! Dyna-therms connected. Infra-cells up; mega-thrusters are go! Let’s go, Voltron Force! Form feet and legs; form arms and body; and I’ll form the head!” You always knew a Robeast was going to be slaughtered soon after, well usually right after the blazing sword was formed. The only thing the show left me questioning was what the hell are dyna-therms and infra cells and why are the essential to making a giant robot out of five smaller, though large in there own right, robot lions?

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The 10 Villains Who Deserved Better

DarthMaul2.jpgBy Todd Ciolek

The great Roger Ebert once wrote that each film is only as good as its villain. He also wrote a review of Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties from Garfield’s perspective and gave the movie three out of four stars, but he was right about villains. If there’s one trope that should never be neglected by a movie or TV show of geek appeal, it’s the bad guy. The audiences who love science fiction, fantasy, and animation will also love a magnetic villain, and it’s in these pulpy venues that old-fashioned, black-hearted evildoers can still have some resonance. They just need style.

Most lousy villains are found in equally lousy stories. In rare circumstances, however, appealingly rotten ne’er-do-wells show up in films or TV series that just don’t treat them right. We’ve picked out ten villains from modern geek culture (so don’t get pissed if Iago or Milady de Winter didn’t make the cut) and outlined the ways in which their handlers did them little justice.

10) The Predalien, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

Pitting the stars of the Alien films (sorry, Ms. Weaver) against Predators is a silly, exploitive idea done best in comic books and video games. Perhaps that’s because it has the same playground-debate appeal as seeing King Kong fight Godzilla or watching Robocop take on the Terminator. We wouldn’t care about suspense or seeing the rituals of the Predator race; we just want to see two bad-ass aliens fight and blow stuff up. The first Alien vs. Predator film, though terrible, delivered a closing surprise sure to delight monster-movie fans. That surprise was an alien hatched out of a Predator. A Predalien. With four little mandibles. Aww.

So, for the sake of the monster-movie fan within, people sat through Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. They endured the film’s lazy take on Everytown, Texas and brushed aside subplots about gangly teens in love and scenes of the Predalien ramming xenomorph fetuses down a pregnant woman’s throat (tasteful!), because a Predator and a Predalien were both running around the town and they were going to have it out, dammit.

And what happens when they meet? They slap at each other like two graceless professional wrestlers in the rain, making it hard to tell just what the hell they’re doing. Then they’re both vaporized by a nuclear bomb. What a waste.

9) Tak, Invader Zim
Tak sounds like a lazy concept: Zim is a frustrated, often-psychotic alien masquerading as a human kid, so why not give him a female nemesis who’s pulling the same act, only with more competence? That’s Tak, and like many things on Invader Zim, she’s more fun than her basic characterization would’ve allowed in a lesser show. Introduced as the new (and apparently human) girl at Zim’s school, she starts off as Zim’s attempt to research Earth-creature affection, but quickly reveals herself as another invader, and her ambitions call for her to conquer the planet in Zim’s place.

Tak fell victim not to the show’s scripts, but to its cancellation. She was introduced toward the end of the first season, and the second one got through ten episodes before Nickelodeon killed it. Tak was slated to return as the primary opposition in at least one of Zim’s schemes, and her ship figures into several episodes. Today, she lives on only in the fiction and YouTube pastiches created by fans determined to ruin everything good about Invader Zim.

8) Takahashi and the Monowhip Guy, Johnny Mnemonic

As one of the rare movie adaptations of cyberpunk author William Gibson’s short stories, Johnny Mnemonic sure wasted a lot of opportunities. One of them came with the female lead, who went from the story’s streetwise, mirror-eyed, razor-handed (it’s cyberpunk, remember) Molly Millions to an under-augmented sidekick named Jane. At least she was played by Dina Meyer, for whom getting killed in Starship Troopers was a high point after this film and Dragonheart.

But the movie also squandered two of its villains. One of them was Takahashi, a distrustful Yakuza boss played by none other than "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, the accomplished actor/writer/director/comedian/game designer who modern teenagers remember most fondly as the dude who threw a knife into that one girl’s head at the start of Battle Royale. Kitano has little chance to throw knives, girl-targeted or otherwise, during the film, and there’s not much time to show off the other memorable villain, Shinji. A Yakuza-affiliated hitman, Shinji’s armed with a monowire whip coiled in his thumb, which would easily make him the coolest character in the movie. Yet Johnny Mnemonic is such a limp cyberpunk potboiler that Shinji doesn’t do much more than make some laser-like arcs on the screen.

The Japanese version of the film reportedly replaces the soundtrack (goodbye, God Lives Underwater) and adds in a few more scenes of backstory for Takahashi, who, like all mobsters, is really just having problems with his wife and kids. This would’ve arguably served the American version better than the scenes of Dolph Lundgren’s insane street preacher or that drug-addicted dolphin.

7) Ashram, Record of Lodoss War

Some anime fans may tell you that Record of Lodoss War is their hobby’s own version of The Lord of the Rings, but the more sensible ones will point out that it’s closer to those predictable Dragonlance novels you might’ve read in junior high. Based on a tabletop role-playing game, the Lodoss anime series shows a backstory-heavy fantasy saga through the eyes of a generic young swordsman named Parn and some other Dungeons & Dragons staples. There’s a naïve cleric, a knowing wizard, a grumbling dwarf, a cynical thief and, of course, a huge-eared elf woman who’s drawn to our hero’s overpowering blandness. There is, however, a reasonably interesting antagonist in Ashram, an ambitious knight who, like many effective evildoers, starts off as an underling and works his way up. Ashram is quickly posed as Parn’s nemesis in the typical fantasy ways: he wears dark armor, he has a sword named Soul Crusher, and he wants to conquer and/or destroy the island of Lodoss. Oh, and his girlfriend is a dark elf.

Imposing as he is, Ashram’s still stuck in anime-Dragonlance land, and he ends up spouting generic bad-guy lines by the climax of the original Lodoss video series (seen above). Then the lower-budget Lodoss TV series comes along and re-boots the story from its midpoint, making it so that Ashram lives on and just sails off with his dark-elf woman to find a home for his accursed people. Then the even-lower-budget Legend of Crystania series continues Ashram’s story without actually having him in it very much. And then everyone stops caring about Ashram and Lodoss in general.

6) Shan-Yu, Mulan

Certain critics will never stop pointing out how Disney’s Mulan takes numerous liberties with the classic Chinese poem, cramming it with comedy, music, and animal sidekicks ready to be bundled with happy meals. In our view, however, Mulan does a lot of things right. For one, the villain starts off on the proper note. The leader of the Hun forces invading China, Shan-Yu exudes a tiger-like ferocity and ruthlessness, like the successor to the Jungle Book’s Shere Khan. What’s more, Shan-Yu actually has someone killed in his second scene. Are Disney villains allowed to do that?

Much like Shere Khan, however, Shan-Yu doesn’t get much screen time. He also falls victim to Mulan’s biggest problem: it can’t stop when it should. A beautifully animated battle between Shan-Yu and Mulan in snowy mountains should, by logic, be the movie’s climactic moment, but the script carries things on to a clash at the Chinese Emperor’s palace. Shan-Yu, having survived a huge avalanche, confronts Mulan and gets blown up by fireworks. After all, this is a movie about China, and fireworks have to figure into it somehow.

5) Mok Swagger, Rock & Rule

It’s hard to imagine a major studio making a movie like Rock & Rule in this modern age of Shrek-dominated computer animation. This 1983 experiment from Nelvana envisions a world where a nuked-out human race is replaced by animal people, in what resembles grimy futurepunk by way of Yogi Bear. In this dark yet oddly cartoonish realm, an amateur songstress named Angel (who resembles and has the singing voice of Blondie’s Debbie Harry) is ensnared in an evil rock star’s scheme to summon a demon, and her bandmates (loosely based on and sung by Cheap Trick) head out to Nuke York to rescue her.

Rock & Rule would be a much worse film if its evil rock star wasn’t Mok Swagger, a delightful bastard embodying both faded ’70s opulence and music-industry corruption. As any glimpse of him might tell, he’s Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Iggy Pop in creepy, anthropomorphized cartoon villain form. But he’s mostly Jagger-ish, and a cease-and-desist from the Rolling Stones frontman’s lawyers ensured that Mok’s last name is never said in the movie. That doesn’t stop him from being a potentially fascinating bad guy: a rock star so powerful, so utterly without morals, and so afraid of losing it all that he’s turned to making pacts with Hell for personal amusement. His songs are also provided by Lou Reed, whose Metal Machine Music made him the closest the real music industry ever came to a super-villain.

Yet Rock & Rule began life as a kids’ movie, and some of it stayed that way. For example, Mok’s henchmen are a trio of thuggish brothers, including one who’s just dumb instead of evil. By the film’s climax, Mok’s become a cackling, organ-playing Snidely Whiplash, and he’s done in by an underling’s sudden attack of conscience. In the end, he’s just like any other generic cartoon villain not based on Mick Jagger or partly voiced by Lou Reed.

4) Lady Deathstrike, X-2

In the complicated tangle of stories still living and breathing in X-Men comics, Lady Deathstrike is a cyborg assassin with Adamantium fingertip claws and a tragic backstory. She’s a long-term rival of Wolverine and a recurring antagonist in X-Men stories. In the second X-Men movie, Lady Deathstrike is a hench-mutant serving an evil government-backed scientist. She tangles with Wolverine and almost manages to kill him before he desperately rams a nearby Adamantium injector into her and crams her so full of steel-colored liquid that it comes out her eyes, thus fulfilling some Internet user’s disturbingly specific fetish. It’s then suggested that Deathstrike was a victim of the same experiments that created Wolverine, and that she was brainwashed into her villain-aiding role. Oops.

We detect a certain disparity here. In the original X-Men film, the significantly less fearsome Mystique fights Wolverine and survives her stab wounds. But then Mystique is played by Rebecca Romijn (then still married to John Stamos) and naked most of the time. Lady Deathstrike keeps her clothes on and is therefore dead, dead, dead by the end of her first film appearance.

3) The Beast, Krull

Krull isn’t a completely terrible movie. Granted, it’s a tepid rescue-the-princess fairy tale that crams in an outer-space villain and some armored hi-tech soldiers straight from Star Wars, resulting in something both more serious and less entertaining than the Masters of the Universe film. That villain, however, is an interesting piece of work. A hideous yet well-spoken abomination, The Beast lands his rocky, misshapen space castle on the world of Krull and sends out his Stormtroopers to kidnap a local princess for him.

There’s some confusion about just where the Beast comes from. The trailers say he’s from the future, but it’s quite clear from the movie (and the Krull novelization by Alan Dean Foster) that the Beast is some medieval-fantasy alien who travels from one planet to another. It fits with what we see: his castle is a hybrid of strange set design, and the creature himself is introduced in murky half-glimpses, capturing that Lovecraftian effect that kids and adults just love.

Unfortunately, Krull reduces this otherworldly horror to a complete pushover. Like a Beauty and the Beast tale stripped of a proper moral, the script has the monstrous overlord trying to seduce his abducted princess due to some prophecy, but they’re just killing time until her bland prince shows up with the Glaive, a legendary, mind-controlled, throwing-star-boomerang-thing. While he’s possibly spent eons traveling the galaxy and amassing an army, the Beast just breathes fire at the couple while they destroy him with the power of love. And magic boomerangs.

2) Cobra Commander, G.I. Joe

Among ’80s cartoon rat-bastards, Cobra Commander’s done pretty well for himself. He’s been reinvented several times since the decade closed, and he’s second only to Megatron among iconic toy-based villains. Yet in his original cartoon incarnation, Cobra Commander was put through the greatest indignity of all: a terrible retcon.
For all of the G.I. Joe episodes leading up to the movie, Cobra Commander was a raspy-voiced despot concocting increasingly bizarre forms of international terrorism. For trying to take over nations through fast-food franchises and Dreadnok-played rock songs, he arguably deserved to be replaced by a more imposing leader, even if it was the less entertaining Serpentor.

But Cobra Commander didn’t deserve what G.I. Joe: The Movie did to him. While his face was always obscured during the TV show, he was clearly some sort of white human guy, albeit a disfigured one. In the movie, it’s revealed that he’s an emissary of an ancient snake-based civilization called Cobra-La, and, in punishment for failing to conquer the world, he’s mutated by spores and turned into a giant snake. Much like the writers who killed Optimus Prime, the keepers of G.I. Joe’s animated canon realized their mistake and turned Cobra Commander back into a reptilian man for the post-movie TV series.

The damage had been done, however. If you’re worried about the live-action G.I. Joe movie, take heart that it probably won’t have a mutant serpent Cobra Commander slithering around and croaking about being “once-sssss a man…”

1) Darth Maul, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Yes, there’s no getting around this one. Just as the original Star Wars trilogy unified an entire generation in cheering at the Death Star’s glittery explosion or gawking at Princess Leia’s chain-mail bikini, The Phantom Menace brought us all together in disappointment with many, many things. Darth Maul was one of them.

We can blame the movie’s buildup. The first round of Star Wars villains emerged into a world without website production photos and pre-release toys. The Phantom Menace had its soundtrack, its action figures, and its characters revealed before the movie arrived. For kids and anyone trying to recapture that kid-grade movie wonder, it was impossible not to imagine just how cool Darth Maul might be. Not that Lucas is off the hook in any way, but Maul and the rest of the movie couldn’t possibly live up to expectations.

And they didn’t. Despite his totally awesome double-bladed lightsaber and totally sweet hover bike and bitchin’ horns, Darth Maul is barely around for two fights. They’re well-choreographed fights, but they don’t really fill in much. For his motivations and whatnot, you’ll have to check the “expanded” Star Wars stories. And that just kicks off other problems.

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Metallica, Run-D.M.C. nominated for Rock Hall

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

The 1980s rap act, along with Metallica and the Stooges, are among the nine nominees for next year's hall of fame class, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced Monday.

The other nominees are guitarist Jeff Beck, singer Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, War, Bobby Womack, and disco and R&B group Chic.

The list is notable for the wide range of musical genres represented — hip-hop, metal, punk, disco and R&B — and the large number of first-time candidates. Only Chic, the Stooges and Jackson have been previously nominated.

"It's an interesting group because it really shows the nominating committee showed some thought and energy into who should be inducted," said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the New York City-based Rock Hall foundation. "It truly shows it's never a closed door for any artist to be nominated."

The five leading vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted April 4, 2009, in Cleveland.

The ceremony typically has been held in New York but is returning to Cleveland after more than a decade-long absence. Tickets will be made available to the public for the first time.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five opened the door for rap at the Rock Hall as the first hip-hop act to be inducted in 2007. Now, Run-D.M.C., nominated in the first year of its eligibility, has the chance to follow on the strength of rock and rap blends such as the 1986 cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and classics like "It's Tricky" and "My Adidas."

"The big thing they did is took hip-hop more into the mainstream," said Jim Henke, chief curator of the hall of fame and a member of the nominating committee. "They did combine a lot of rock elements. As far as hip-hop groups go, they're certainly right there at the top."

Metallica jumped on the heavy metal wave of the '80s and 25 years later is still selling out arenas. This month the group released "Death Magnetic," which marks a return to its early speed metal days.

The Stooges, recently given props in the film "Juno," get another shot after last appearing on the ballot two years ago.

Left off the ballot were Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bon Jovi. Both had been eligible for the first time. To be nominated an act must have released its first single or album 25 years prior.

"They're great artists," Peresman said. "People's time comes for whatever reason when it does."

Rock fan Neil Walls, who started the Web site futurerockhall.com two and one-half years ago to discuss which of today's artists could end up in the hall of fame, said this year's nominees offer great diversity. But he questions why artists like Kiss, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Chicago and Rush keep getting snubbed.

"They need to go back to at least nominating 14 or 15 to at least give the voters more of an option," Walls said. "It really puts the power in the nominating committee's hands."

More than 500 musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the inductions.

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Ten Unforgettable Evil Twins

by Larson Hill

Throughout the years, many of our favorite film and TV characters have encountered siblings they didn't know existed. In a lot of cases, if it were real life, there's a good chance most would wish they never found out about their long lost brother or sister since they turned out to be an "evil twin". Evil twins have always been villainous staple in Hollywood and a quick go-to bad guy if you were stuck for a foe. As great as an evil twin can be as an adversary, we've seen so many over the years that they've become more comic relief than pure evil.

Still, it's hard to deny that evil twins make for cool baddies when the timing is right. Here's a look at Ten Unforgettable Evil Twins in the movies and television.

King Louis XIV and Philippe - Man in the Iron Mask

Every few years, Man in the Iron mask gets a modern upgrade, with the last installment coming in 1998, as Leonardo DiCaprio stepped into the dual roles of France's Louis XIV and his historically inaccurate twin brother Philippe. Unlike other movies involving evil twins where the bad sibling emerges to claim his rightful place among the family, it's the good twin that arrives in France only to be antagonized by his brother who couldn't accept the fact that he had an identical family member. Is Louis XIV really the evil twin or is it his newly discovered sibling? That's the alternate spin, which reverses the typical "evil twin" formula when it's all said and done. The most effective element of Man in the Iron Mask is its twist ending that ensures the future reign of King Louis XIV remains intact.

Godzilla and Mechagodzilla

When you start to run out of villains for your franchise, it's inevitable you'll lean toward the evil twin. After fourteen Godzilla movies, the King of the Monsters was bound to square off with an evil imposter at some point. Who knew it would be a cyborg version of the famous green monster? It's hard to believe Mechogodzilla would pose a threat to mankind these days since it looks more like a homemade Halloween costume you'd make in your basement, but somehow it worked for the 20th Anniversary of the franchise back in 1974. Although previous villains proved much more formidable without the bells and whistles, Mechagodzilla was loaded with an arsenal that included laser fire-breathe, a force field, missiles on every appendage, an energy beam and armor made of Space Titanium. In a lot of ways, Mechagodzilla is the M1A1 Abrams Tank of evil twins.

Bender and Flexo - Futurama

Who says evil twins aren't good for a few laughs? In Fox's Futurama, Bender received a few of his own cool threads when Matt Groening and crew gave him an evil twin named Flexo. Unlike most double-siblings, it was often hard to tell who was the evil twin - Bender or Flexo. Although Bender appeared to be the lovable good guy prankster throughout the series, when Flexo burst onto the scene we got more insight into exactly which robot was more sinister than the other. Was Bender really more evil than Flexo? Despite the fact that Flexo sported the typical evil twin goatee, several references in at least two episodes indicated the robotic facial feature appeared to be nothing more than a red-herring. Although the "evilness" between the two always seemed to be in question, there was a constant a sense of evil sibling rivalry Bender and Flexo, even when Bender ended up dating Flexo's ex-wife.

Jaime Sommers and Lisa Galloway - The Bionic Woman

Although the Fembots proved to be much cooler than Jaime Sommers' evil twin, Lisa Galloway, the double-dip was a untapped thread within the show that gave the original Bionic Woman an new foe. Galloway wasn't so much evil as she was a complete nutcase who actually believed she was Jaime Sommers, going so far as altering her appearance with plastic surgery to look like Sommers and infiltrating the ranks of the OSI to fool Oscar Goldman and Dr. Rudy Wells. How did she duplicate the power of the Bionic Woman when she wasn't bionic? Easy. Galloway discovered an experimental drug that gave her super-strength long enough to fool the powers that be with the intent to sell it on the black market. Galloway ends up poisoning herself and in one of the most sappiest moments in the show's history, Jaime Sommers comes face to face with her evil twin to urge her to live life as her own person.

Bad Ash/Evil Ash - Army of Darkness

Say what you will about the genius of Sam Raimi after three Spider-Man movies, but he's still one twisted mofo when you look back to the Evil Dead series and the evolution of lead character Ash. How many times in movies do you see an evil twin of an evil twin? The Evil Dead movies might be cheesy as hell, but the concept behind Bad Ash and Evil Ash is brilliant. Bruce Campbell's Ash feels guilty over killing his girlfriend so the dark side of conscience appears in the form of Bad Ash who tries to kill the real Ash out of revenge. Ash kills Bad Ash, dismembers his dark side and buries it in the ground only to have it reappear later as the pieced together Evil Ash. As far as evil twins go, that's some crazy sh*t. If you're one of those horror fans who could never figure out why so many people were into the Evil Dead movies, take a closer look. It's a awesomely complex spin on the evil twin shtick.

Michael Knight and Garthe Knight - Knight Rider

You can make fun of David Hasselhoff all you want, but he played one of the most unforgettable evil twins in the history of "evil-twindom". When the original Knight Rider was one of the hottest shows on the airwaves in the '80s, Michael Knight's estranged brother Garthe escaped from an African prison and returned to the U.S. to seek revenge on his sibling over the fact that his father favored one over the other. As far as evil twins go, Garthe Knight embodies everything an evil twin should be - evil, bitter, manipulative, scheming, vengeful, sinister, and deceptively charming. When you look at a picture of Hasselhoff as Garthe Knight you can't help but think "evil twin". Although we could easily add KITT's evil twin KARR to the list, too, ask anyone who grew up in the '80s for an evil twin and there's a 90% chance they'll say Michael Knight's evil twin Garthe.

Elliot and Beverly Mantle - Dead Ringers

There's no question that Dead Ringers was one of the most, if not the most, memorable twin movies of the '80s, as Jeremy Irons pulled double-duty as twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle under the direction of horror legend David Cronenberg. If anything, it was one of the most uncomfortable, disturbing and screwed up twin movies of the past 30 years. For women who went for their yearly check-up back in the '80s, Dead Ringers could very well have left lasting scars. Although most twins have pulled the old "switcheroo" while dating, Dead Ringers takes it to a whole new level. One Playboy type brother lures women into their practice only to pass them off on to the socially inept brother who becomes obsessed with his newfound but sexually deformed lover. When she rejects the latter, Jeremy Irons as Beverly Mantle organically ruins the lives of both twins. It's something only David Cronenberg could think of, which is still as disturbing today as it was back in 1988.

Kirk and Spock - "Mirror, Mirror" - Star Trek

One of the best episodes of the original Star Trek series featured the crew of the Enterprise transported to an alternate, mirror universe where everyone met their evil equivalent. Even the USS Enterprise became known as the ISS Enterprise within the Empire instead of the Federation. Although Kirk and Spock later became icons for their unique personalities and vocal deliveries, it was their ruthless evil personas that helped to define what we've come to expect from the many evil twins who followed in their footsteps. Sporting one of the coolest fashion statements of the day, Spock became an evil goateed version of his former self while evil-mirror Kirk and crew ultimately clashed with both of their identities - good and bad - before they could continue their existence in their own universe. In the end it was Spock who was able to convince evil-Spock that the evil way of life was illogical as compared to living the Federation way. It was an evil twin episode that "mirrored" the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.

Alfred Borden and Robert Angier - The Prestige

Sure there's an unspoken statute of limitations on revealing spoilers, but this one's better left alone to check out fresh. First off, Christian Bale's Alfred Borden and High Jackman's Robert Angier aren't twins. The Prestige is so complex and cool that I'm not going to spend much time on detail. It's a completely new spin on the evil twin idea. In fact, if you haven't seen it yet, I've already said way too much. Two magicians battle each other for ultimate supremacy in 19th Century London and nothing is ever as it seems in The Prestige. Throw in David Bowie as electrical magnetic wizard Nikola Tesla and you've got one of the best, scientifically intelligent double-identity doppelgangers to come down the cinematic pike. For those who go along for the ride, the pay-off is well worth the wait. Really, it's not what you're expecting at all. In fact, you might not figure out what happened until a few hours after you watch it. After watching The Prestige, there's little doubt that Christopher Nolan is one of the best directors on the planet. That is, if he is indeed the real Christopher Nolan.

Austin Powers and Dr. Evil - Austin Powers: Goldmember

Although it took three movies to reveal that Dr. Evil was in fact Austin Powers' twin brother, you knew it was coming sooner or later. Still, Mike Meyers' portrayal of the bitter, estranged brother of Austin Powers almost overshadowed the International Man of Mystery himself. When you think of the Austin Powers movies, it's hard not to get a mental image of Dr. Evil, who was separated from his brother after a car crash and subsequently raised in Belgium. Evil twin characters have become so cliché that Dr. Evil embodies all of the cheesy characteristics from similar villains in the years prior to the release of Austin Powers. The funny thing is… it's even tougher nowadays to buy into evil twin characters on TV or film since Dr. Evil trumps them all. If you couldn't take an evil twin seriously before, it's even harder to now thanks to Meyers and Dr. Evil. Writers will think twice before relying on the old evil twin as a crutch.