11 October 2019 | hellraiser7
This is another cartoon that has speed under the radar. Most video game to cartoon adaptations either make it to the finish line or don't, this one fortunately does. I was a kid from the 80's and I remember playing the "Pole Position" games when I was about six years old as they were one of the first video games, I've every played, they were so much fun. I remember running into this animated show on the "USA Cartoon Express" early morning and it really blew me away, I honestly never knew there was an animated series adaptation based on this game let alone possible.
This show to me is not just fun but also one of the better examples of doing a video game to visual medium adaptation right. It's true that making this into a pulp spy thriller is a radical difference but you have to understand that back then this was a time when adaptations on just about any to every other medium had rules, and with a game that was simply about racing it was opportunity to do about anything.
The show is sort of like with anime series "Speed Racer" which features some spy episodes, but also another show in the 80's "Knight Rider", you can say this show is almost more of an animated adaptation of that show as both formats are similar, what I like about both shows and this were that it was just a beautiful combination of two genres that doubled the fun and thrills of both sports and spy thriller.
The main characters Tess and Dan are solid both are teens or young adults I'm not sure which, yeah I know people their age as spies is far fetched but it's an 80's animated show you just roll with it. Anyway, Tess and Dan, they both have a good back and forth, there is some personality like Dan whom is more of a daredevil on the aggressive side of things more. Tess is the older sister which makes her a little more mature, levelheaded making sure Dan and things don't drive off course. But also, she has some spunk and is energetic.
Even like the Ai Car characters Wheels and Roddie whom both are pretty much like KITT on "Knight Rider" or even "Jarvis" from Iron Man. Both have personalities, with Roddie he's a bit on the brainy side and Wheels whom is on the cool side, like the voice which sounds like something from a 70's blaxploitation film.
Their boss is Uncle Zachary whom they never meet in person as he's always on a video screen, much like how Charlie in "Charlies Angels" is always on speaker, which I thought was a nice touch giving it a little mystery. In a way this sort of makes the show a bit of a wish fulfillment fantasy because as kids some of us dreamed of driving race car and maybe even being a spy and kicking some butt.
But of course, this show were in it for the vehicular action which it has plenty of. Really love the design of the cars where one is a red sports corvette that's Tess's car, and the other Dan's looks futuristic, and all the neat features they have which come in handy, as a kid I wanted to drive those.
The chases are cool really like how the show creates the illusion of speed. Just seeing how fast they pass the environments by and what ever features from the cars they need to employ to clear a path. I remember being on the edge of my seat as a kid sometime imitating the turns and movements the cars were making. Even like there's the sports aspect they kept where we both engage in some stunt shows, really like the design of the tracks which are unique. As well as races which happened in an episode or two.
Of course the other highlight is the theme song which is awesome, it's one of my favorite theme songs of all time. It has such a catch beat but it's a song that just sings fast racing action.
The only real speed bump on the road is it was sort of formulaic which made the show rather predictable, it really would of benefited more with plotlines that differentiated more like infiltrated some shadow organization or even have Tess and Dan do a little more away from the cars.
I wouldn't mind a revival of this animated show which would not just bring in new fans of this show but the classic video game franchise that helped start the racing subgenre in video games.
For animation I'd say a combo of both CGI and regular hand drawn animation or plain hand drawn animation, whichever preferred just to make sure it looks good. We can have a little more depth, like the origin of how the cars were made. What's happened to Tess and Dan's parents where that could be an ongoing plotline where they are either kidnapped or killed during a mission both were on and this could be an ongoing plotline where both Tess and Dan have to find them or find out the truth about their demise. Maybe latter on have some other characters which would me other cars with different designs, features, as well as different personalities for the cars.
Or maybe even a live action TV show adaptation from Justin Lin and any other director that did the "Fast and Furious" movies, heck those films are a lot like the cartoon series. Well all thought worth a test run anyway.
Pole Position has enough mileage for fun.
Rating: 3 stars