Thursday, March 2, 2017

O Captain. My Captain?

Yesterday on the Great Lileks's site, he was discussing the various dark 'n gritty Batman reboots and, by contrast, the new LEGO Batman movie. A discussion of the goofiness of comic books from the 1950s (when comic books were written for elementary school children) led me to mention that complaining about them was like complaining about the silliness of Captain Kangaroo.

Of course, I then suggested that it might be time for a dark, gritty reboot of Captain Kangaroo.

And here it is.

From left to right: Mr. Moose, Mr. Greenjeans, the Captain, unidentified flunky,
Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock.
Think of the film:

The dedicated Captain Kangaroo, U.S. Navy (ret.), suffering from PTSD and an unexpected return of kinetosis, is living in a dump he ironically calls Treasure House. He's called out of retirement for one last mission -- to smuggle a quantity of self-reactive gamma-charged Ping-Pong balls out of Uzbekistan before commandos from a mysterious nation (referred to in code as Korth Norea) can capture them. He must sail his rotten old banana boat, the USS Bananaman, to Tashkent and take delivery from a couple of SEALs he used to work with, hardened warriors that will only trust him with the job. The mission is doubly hard since Uzbekistan is completely landlocked, but he never says quit -- there's a reason Captain Kangaroo is the most feared name on the sea.

With him are noted scientists and Ping-Pong ball experts Bunny Rabbit and the enigmatic Mr. Moose; his longtime friend and former ship's mate (not like that) (no, really) Greenjeans; the computational AI device known as Grandfather Clock; and a gigantic, surly enforcer called D. Bear. At first the mission goes well, as the Captain sails to the Caspian and has the boat dragged by portage to the meeting area. D. Bear goes undercover as a ballerina to make contact with the SEALs (played by actual seals), but the plot is exposed and the Captain and his crew get in a firefight with the entire ballet company and half the audience. D. Bear takes one for the team, covering fifteen live hand grenades with his body and dying from the explosion, which sounds like a balloon popping under a rug. With the Korth Noreans on their trail, the Captain and the crew get the Ping-Pong balls loaded onto the ship and begin dragging it over Turkmenistan, Greenjeans providing cover with his minigun and pitchfork. Meanwhile, Bunny Rabbit is seen secretly attaching some kind of device labeled "EXPLOSIVE" to the cache of radioactive material!

Once back on the water it looks like they'll be able to get home free -- but wait! Mr. Moose suddenly incapacitates the Captain with his secret weakness -- strawberries! Stolen from the mess! The moose is a double agent! While the Captain reels from anaphalaxis and seasickness and flashbacks to his horrible battle on Lake George during the war, the moose destroys Grandfather Clock and knocks out Bunny Rabbit (breaking his thick glasses), as well as Greenjeans and any number of NPC flunkies.

Mr. Moose starts to turn the Bananaman around, but the Captain manages to get his Mylan-branded EpiPen, which really isn't all that expensive no matter what you have heard (Mylan would like you to know), and stop his reaction to the strawberries. Using Didgeri-Fu, the martial art he learned decades ago in the Outback, the Captain battles Mr. Moose all over the ship. He deals a fatal blow to the moose, but as the enemy agent collapses he sets off the timer on the explosive that was attached to the balls, meaning the Bananaman will go up in an atomic explosion if the Captain can't stop it! And he doesn't know how!

Quickly, Captain Kangaroo revives Bunny Rabbit, who confesses that his instructions were to blow them all sky-high if it looked like they would be captured by the enemy. Although he can't see without his glasses, he is able to instruct the Captain how to reverse the polarity of something or other to prevent the meltdowny blowuppy thing, and with the help of Greenjeans they are able to remove the explosive device with one second to spare. They are saved.

The crew sail home, and Captain Kangaroo seems to be able to finally put the ghosts of his past to sleep. But, he says to Bunny Rabbit, he really has come to hate those m******ing strawberries.

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