Monday, November 24, 2008

Movies from my childhood (part 1.5): Warriors of Virtue

Originally, this was going to be a part of the two "movies from my childhood" posts, but it dragged on and looked like a benign tumor hanging off the end of the second one. So I decided to make it a single post. Think of it as a sort of intermission between the two. Enjoy.

Warriors of Virtue (1997)
Before I get into the finer points of this film about an alternate universe protected by five elemental-powered kung-fu kangaroos, I would like to share an anecdote with you all.
When this movie was released, it was widely talked about at my elementary school. Every kid wanted to see it. I never saw it in theaters (WAY too expensive for my family), but told the other kids I did, only to be asked what it was like and if the kangaroos were real. Bullshitting my way through these questions, I was then hit with a "you didn't see it!" by one of the schoolyard dickweeds. Red-faced and stuttering, I was caught. I didn't know what to do. So I lied again.
Now, I was a compulsive liar at this young age, and had an active imagination, so I would always come up with something that was believable, but only slightly. I told this kid (whose name was Austin, I believe) that my dad had bought me a toy of the coveted fire-powered red kangaroo character after we saw it in theaters. This Austin fellow then asked me to prove it, and being the mini-Marty McFly that I was, I snobbishly stood up to him and told him that I would.
After this, I went home and panicked. I had no idea what to do. Being 7 at the time, I didn't yet get an allowance, and wasn't set to see my dad for another few days. Asking my mom was out of the question, because I didn't want to really really lie (which in the pre-pre-teen mindset is what happens when you fib about who you got a present from). So I called my dad and asked him to get me a Warriors of Virtue toy. I was very specific in my wording, telling him that I wanted the red one and the red one only. He said he'd look and see if he could find one, and that he'd have it by that weekend.
I was relieved. I could easily lie again and again to Austin, telling him that "my mom wouldn't let me" bring the toy, or that "I forgot" for the next few days. Of course, he was skeptical, but I smugly told him that I would have the red kangaroo the following Monday.
Friday rolled around, and I practically tripped over myself running to my dad's car to see my prize. But...something was wrong. Instead of getting the hot-tempered, badass red kangaroo, he instead got me this one:The motherfucking green kangaroo. The old, decrepit "wise one" that doesn't do shit throughout the entire movie, and whose element is "wood." Who the fuck would have thought "wood" was an element? I sure as shit didn't. This was easily the worst character he could have found for me. I would have rather taken the plaid-shirt wearing human protagonist "Ryan" over him. At least Ryan had the whole "central character" thing going for him. But no, he got me the old dude. The mentor. The do-nothing member of the team that only slows them down. I was livid. I couldn't talk. And my dad sat there, smirking, acting like I wouldn't know the difference between the two.
"He's just a dumb kid," he likely thought. "He won't know the difference between red and green." Well guess what? I DID. And when I brought him to school that following Monday to maybe salvage a tiny shred of dignity, I was totally ostracized by everyone that had viewed the previous week's conversation. I was an outcast for the next few weeks.
My dad's mistake (or rather, his ability to assume I was literally retarded) only added to my growing contempt for adults at that point in my life. I'm not going to blame myself and say that I shouldn't have lied, because fuck, every kid lies. No, he shouldn't have been so assuming of my colorblindness and absolute dumbassery.
A few months after this embarassment, this toy (whose movie-name is "Lun") went on to become one of my favorites. I'm not entirely sure why, but he did. I guess I realized that one ass-kicking kangaroo is better than none; even if he is the "smart one with the staff."
This story is why I remember this movie, and have chose to place it amongst these other films in a metaphorical "hall of fame." It taught me a lesson that would later be cemented in by Mick Jagger when I went through my short-lived Rolling Stones phase in 2003:
"You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need."
Well said, Mick. Well said.
Anyways, the movie itself is a sack of shit. It is basically a retelling of the early 90's incarcerations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except it's more fantasy-based and stars the aforementioned five elemental-powered kangaroos that know some sort of karate.
Yeah, it sounds like a bad acid trip. Yeah, the production is terrible. But it taught me a lesson in life. And for that, I'm sort of thankful, I guess.

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