This cartoon is definitely worth checking out. As far as I'm concerned, it's set in the same universe as the great, first MK movie, though there are some differences, mostly the absence of Kano and Shang Tsung being an old and conniving weasel instead of the confident way he was superbly portrayed by Cary Tagawa in the following film.
Not surprisingly, it's used as an advertisement vehicle for that film, which is fine with me. But back to the cartoon, it shows some beautiful background animation, even by today's standards, and considering it's from 1995, that's saying a lot. I challenge anyone to find prettier eye candy than the water, or island, or cave, or sky, as are done in this cartoon. Second, we find out some very well-written past history on many of the MK movie's participants. Shang Tsung's victory over the temple master was very dramatic and sad (imagine being the master's students who found his body, and realized that the soul had been removed after death), in addition to the history of the ultimate villain, which being Goro. Here, we learn the type of parenting that fed Goro's bloodlust, leading him to kill his older, stronger brother, and Kung Lao, the human champion. It's very heartbreaking, and infuriating, to see Goro kill these two noble characters, especially Kung Lao, as this human was clearly kicking his rear end for quite a while before Goro simply used his massive size to his advantage.
Fortunately, we MK movie fans know that Goro will be meeting his end at the hands of an arrogant, yet very smart and brave, Johnny Cage quite soon after this cartoon, in an ironic recreation of the way he murdered Durak. Third, the music to this cartoon is one of the beautiful and most haunting you'll ever hear. It was enough for me to buy the soundtrack, while the graphics and story were enough for me to buy the tape.
Which isn't to say it's perfect. There are scenes where some shots are repeated, and needlessly so. Having the last fight where the three heroes take on hordes of expendable nomads could've been shorter and just as effective. I know that's the reason why so many people dislike this. But it's a very small minus in a filmstrip that's otherwise full of pluses.
So highly, highly recommended.
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