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Airing Date: December 18, 1996

Spacecase

Directors: Paul Rudish & Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Dexter
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

This episode starts with Dexter activating an alien communicator.

Almost immediately he gets a visit of three aliens in a flying saucer. Unfortunately, they’re mostly interested in taking Dexter with them for further examination, but Dexter manages to send Dee Dee with them, instead. First he enjoys the bliss of her absence, but before soon remorse kicks in.

The scenes in which Dexter is taking in by guilt are a great echo of other guilt-cartoons like ‘Pudgy Picks a Fight‘ (1937) or ‘Donald’s Crime’ (1945). Also very entertaining is the heroic sequence in which Dexter ascends his space ship, which borrows elements from both Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.

The Justice Friends: Ratman

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: The Justice Friends
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

In this episode Krunk and Valhallen clog the toilet, so they have to go down in the basement to fix things. But something is lurking there.

‘The Justice Friends: Ratman’ is pretty silly, and overtly tongue-in-cheek, but also all too talkative. I’m not sure about the addition of the laughing track, which does add to the corniness, but which is also pretty annoying itself. Best is Tartakovsky’s staging, with the Justice Friends frequently taking dramatic poses.

Dexter’s Debt

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Dexter
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

In ‘Dexter’s Debt’ Dexter gets confronted by a bill from NASA of 200 million dollars.

Dexter’s attempts to raise the money are feeble, indeed, and what’s worse, Dee Dee outdoes him every time. ‘Dexter’s Debt’ greatly plays on the relationship between brother and sister, while both Dexter’s mom and dad get more screenplay than usual. Highlight, however, is the entrance of the two NASA men.

‘Spacecase/The Justice Friends: Ratman/Dexter’s Debt’ is available on the DVD ‘Dexter’s Laboratory Season One: All 13 Episodes’

Director: Juan Antin
Release Date: October 3, 2002
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Mercano el marciano © Juan Antin‘Mercano el Marciano’ is a curious feature film from Argentine about an ugly little Martian who gets stranded in the evil city of Buenos Aires, where he ends up living in the sewer.

Here he builds a virtual Mars to play in for himself on the internet, but soon it is discovered and exploited by businessmen. Together with a nerdy boy and a trio of alternatives Mercano takes revenge. This leads to a silly musical finale.

The film uses original designs and is nicely animated. Unfortunately, it is also hampered by slow timing, poor gags, graphic violence, ugly colors and bad sound design. The result is an original, yet mediocre film, which is not too surprising, when one considers the film was made with a budget of only $250,000 (for comparison: a contemporary Hollywood production like ‘Monsters, Inc’ cost $115 million).

‘Mercano el Marciano’ seems to be an early example of an international movement in animation film, which favors urban settings, violence and rather adult material (e.g. ‘The District!’ (2004)  from Hungary, and ‘George the Hedgehog’ (2011) from Poland).

Watch ‘Mercano el Marciano’ yourself and tell me what you think:

 

 

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