What an oddball enterprise--an incredibly long animated flick targeted for kids but written in an adult sensibility! On the heels of a lackluster live-action THE PHANTOM (1996) film, this dark cartoon is recommended for adult connoisseurs who haunt collectors comic book dens and for
sophisticated children hooked on superhero sagas instead of classic literature.
In Metropia City in 2040, an ecological engineering student, Kit Walker (voice of Scott Valentine), discovers he has a dormant life purpose: to assume the identity of the environmentally-minded hero, the Phantom, once inhabited by Kit's late father. After an attack by Artificials on Kit's Aunt
Heloise (voice of Carrie Snodgress) and his father's old crony, Guran (voice of J.D. Hall), Kit stalls accepting his destiny--until two pals need rescuing from a video arcade where the customers are brainwashed to riot. This civil disobedience is the tactic of Rebecca Madison (voice of Margot
Kidder), a control freak. She is seeking city council sanctions for an inner city biodome dominated by her, her diabolical inventor son, Maxwell (voice of Jeff Bennett), and her humanoid enforcer, Graft (Ron Perlman). While Kit perfects his invisibility powers as riots proliferate, Maxwell hinders
the Phantom's peacekeeping by creating a criminal doppelganger of the superhero. Circumventing Rebecca's plot to smuggle in nano-chips to build a robot army, the Phantom teams up with a young computer hacker, eludes capture by police who regard him as a subversive, foils a mass hypnosis scheme
involving a rock star named Vaingloria (Deborah Harry), and accelerates the battle against mad Rebecca's plot to assume control of Metropia from her power base.
The cartoon is loaded with subplots, including sidelights about a sympathetic female cop and a double-crossing internet surfer. Well-drawn within its familiar bleakly futuristic designs, PHANTOM 2040 has a built-in audience of serious youngsters weaned on Saturday morning cartoons about masked men
flexing extraordinary powers under their crime fighting costumes. For those who get off on a volcanic spewing of crypto-scientific jargon and who thrill to the sight of android junk heaps crumbling like the losing participants at a monster truck rally, PHANTOM 2040 delivers sci-fi action. But its
violence is unsatisfyingly smothered, like leftovers covered by plastic wrap.
Most puzzling, the film presents (for a part-kiddie audience) a dominating mother relying on her effete son's destructive input. Instead of zapping these two with his stun gun, the Phantom should have come armed with the collected works of Freud. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: What an oddball enterprise--an incredibly long animated flick targeted for kids but written in an adult sensibility! On the heels of a lackluster live-action THE PHANTOM (1996) film, this dark cartoon is recommended for adult connoisseurs who haunt collect… (more)