Defenders of the Earth
(from the DVD case)
Defenders of the Earth follows the continuing story of Flash Gordon, who returns to Earth in the near future, to defend the planet against the evil Emperor Ming. In the exciting battle between good and evil that follows, Flash teams up with Mandrake, the master of illusion, the powerfully strong Lothar, and the Phantom, who has the ability to summon the strength of the jungle animals in his battle against evil. The dazzling quartet of heroes is joined by their young offspring: handsome and headstrong Rick Gordon; Jedda Walker and her panther sidekick; tough and smart Lothar “L.J.” Jr.; and orphaned Kshin with his outer-space pet Zuffy. Together the team of heroes must battle against evildoers from their past and future, including Ming and his underlings, as well as super villains, marauding aliens, destructive demons, and sultry enchantresses! United as a team, they protect mankind as the Defenders of the Earth.
Most of the fun of watching this for me is probably nostalgia because I watched it as a kid. But I think there is still something here for new viewers. Is it great? No. The animation isn’t great, in fact, sometimes it is rather terrible. The plot lines are corny and there are things that are very convenient, like a supercomputer that seems to be able to pull vital information out of nowhere or a magic crystal that has the exact powers they need at the time. There are lessons about being brave or not using drugs that are also corny and can get overbearing at time. There are firefights where laser bolts are flying everywhere and our heroes never get hit even though they are standing right out in the open. And every new character has a voice that is suspiciously similar to one of the Defenders. But… they do a good job of keeping the characters consistent, Flash is cocky but not too smart, Mandrake is a bit arrogant, the children are always doing something stupid and impulsive. The stories make you take them at face value without too much explanation about how things came about or where certain people came from but they are full of action, magic, aliens, outer space fights, and battles of good against evil that can be fun. It may not be the best animation or the tightest plotting but it is still a team of superheroes joining together to save the Earth from every force that comes against it, and superheroes are fun and exciting in almost any form.