Friday, May 3, 2013

Johnny Bravo

Directed by: Van Partible
Layout Artist: Virginia Hawes
Background Stylist: Jane Nussbaum
Music: Louis Fagenson
Voices: Jeff Bennett, Soleil Moon Frye, Maurice LaMarche, Roger Rose, Mae Whitman, Pat Musick
Computer Animation Facilities provided by: Cambridge Animation Systems, Cambridge, England

Johnny Bravo was never my favorite CN original, even back in the days where it was only Dexter's Lab, Cow & Chicken, and this show. It was by no means bad, but the show kinda lacked the humor and the more active animation the other two had. I guess you could say it's a different style, which it is, but I feel the show could have been a lot better while still keeping its more distinctive approach. However, as far as this short is concerned, it's a pretty good series pilot, and while it has a couple of problems, it's a very enjoyable package.

Johnny Bravo is hanging around at the zoo, trying to impress every chick that passes by. After a couple of failed attempts he notices a Zoo Warden (Mary) running towards a cage with broken bars and revealing that a Gorilla has just escaped. Johnny, self-proclaimed Superhero and martial arts expert, volunteers to bring said Gorilla back, but not being very smart, he mistakes a robber for the escaped ape, all while the real Gorilla was right next to him, losing his chance at a date with Mary.

As a first episode, this short works great, because it introduces everything we need to know about the title character. We know he would hit on any remotely attractive girl that walks around. We know he would do anything to impress a girl, like capturing a dangerous, escaped animal. We know he's also a musclehead who can't tell a Gorilla from an actual human being. His trademark design and voice (thumbs up to Jeff Bennett) are also established here, which will be retained for the entire run of the series.

Another staple of the Johnny Bravo cartoons are Johnny's various poses, which consist mostly of flexing his muscles to impress the girls, switching poses in very quick transitions. This is done through motion smears, and there are A LOT, probably more than any other WAC short. They are very well executed, so expect to see lots of them in the screenshot section.

The humor in this one is pretty much hit and miss. There are some amazing moments, like the first scene with the Gorilla, which has several great lines and poses, most notably when the Gorilla combs his and says "You are the man, ow!" to his reflection. But there are also moments that seem to do nothing but extend the cartoon, like the part where Johnny gets in a cook attire and makes some sort of banana sandwich for Mary. Not only is not funny and goes too long, but stops the momentum that was built from that scene (which was quite long) dead in its tracks.

I'll go into more details in the screenshot section, but overall, Johnny Bravo is a pretty good cartoon and as mentioned, does a good job at being the series pilot. It has a few problems, but in the grand scheme of things they're minor, and the short as a whole is still very fun to watch. Like the Powerpuff and Dexter pilots, this one is a nice piece of Cartoon Network history, so don't miss it if you have the chance to watch it.

Heeeeeeeere's Johnny! Right off the bat we get one of his classic poses, in addition to another one of his trademarks, the eyebrow raise.

This is an example of the motion smears used as transition between poses. This one is very simple, but we'll get to better stuff later.

Just a couple of good poses. The animation of Johnny grabbing his heart and letting it go is pretty good.

I really, REALLY don't like this gag. I don't mind Johnny being a womanizer that hits on every chick using his figure, but him grabbing a girl and forcibly kiss her feels really creepy, even as a joke. Makes Johnny looks like a pervert, and I don't think that is the intention of the character.

Another example of motion smears here.

Classic Johnny: He asks a girl what's going on, in the few seconds she responds, he manages to check his B.O. by sniffing his armpit, and spray his mouth for minty fresh breath.

Great example of motion smears when Johnny pulls out his martial arts diploma. Looks very nice in motion.

No idea why this scene is here. I still don't know why I took a screenshot.

 As mentioned, the scene with the Gorilla is great. His poses while combing his hair are pretty funny.

Always get a laugh when the Gorilla turns his ear into a megaphone for Johnny to speak to.

The part where the Gorilla makes funny faces without Johnny noticing is simply amazing. I've always laughed at the faces, but this is the first time I've actually paid close attention to each frame, and the transition is brilliant. Of course this REALLY needs to be seen in motion, but the resulting animation is very fluid and almost seamless. Oh, and this is probably the closest we'll ever get to see Bart Simpson on the Cartoon Network.

While not as good as the Gorilla making faces, the scene where Johnny hits on a woman, who then grabs and gives him a judo throw, has some pretty good animation.

Who is this robber trying to fool? Seriously?

We end this review with an continuity goof. When the robber calls the Gorilla a "Big Fat Cow", he gets furious and starts stomping on the robber until Johnny grabs him and tells him to calm down. This last shot is followed by a few close-ups of Johnny and the Gorilla, and then we get this:

I really hope someone was fired for those blunders.

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