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I finally bought a DVD player yesterday, and watched much of the Gargoyles DVD on it; to be precise, all five parts of "Awakening" with the commentary on, "Deadly Force", the original pitch, and the Gathering documentary. I very much enjoyed the experience as well (once I got used to how to work the DVD player, of course).
I very much liked the commentary, though I'd only recommend it to people who've already become familiar with the series since it contains a number of spoilers (such as Owen really being Puck, the prediction of Xanatos creating the Mutates and Thailog, the prediction of Xanatos making peace with the gargoyles at the end of Season Two, etc.). I did have a little trouble sometimes working out whether it was you or Frank Paur speaking (though I didn't have that trouble with Keith David; his voice is definitely unmistakable).
While much of it was information that I'd already learned from "Ask Greg" and my visit to the 2001 Gathering, there were some new things there that stood out to me, as well as a few old things that I thought I'd briefly comment on:
1. You mentioned about how much of the set-up of Part One of "Awakening" (with the opening scene of the stones falling from the top of the Eyrie Building and the preview of Part Two with Xanatos, the Eyrie Building, the commandos, etc.) was to reassure the audience that "Gargoyles" would be mostly set in the present-day rather than in the 10th century, for fear that they would be turned off the series if they thought that it would be set in the Middle Ages. Interestingly enough, for me when I started watching "Gargoyles", it was the reverse; my favorite part of "Awakening" was the 10th century introduction, and one of my biggest thoughts during it was "Pity that this is just the origin story and that the bulk of the series is going to be in the modern world". (How I'd have enjoyed the "Dark Ages" spin-off!)
2. You mentioned about Goliath being in the wrong to send the trio and Bronx down to the rookery (though with the irony that he thereby saved their lives). When I saw the episode, I always thought that Goliath had done the right thing in punishing Lexington, Brooklyn, and Bronx, however, since regardless of the fact that the humans had started the fight, the three of them were still helping to escalate the hostilities (and all that growling with eyes glowing obviously would only reinforce the humans' fear of gargoyles). Where I did think that Goliath was in the wrong was in sending Broadway with them, since he hadn't been in the fight at all, but was merely peacefully eating at the time.
3. One little bit that still amuses me (part of "Awakening" itself, I might add, though not part of the commentary) is that, directly after Xanatos's line "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell", we see one of the workmen dismantling the castle for transportation, with the close-up on his feet (although they're in shoes).
4. I honestly hadn't realized (until you pointed it out here) that Goliath's request of the Magus was suicidal, maybe because I was then aware of the fact that the series was just starting and that the gargoyles were going to be somehow awakened in modern times. But when I looked at it from his perspective rather than that of a viewer who was aware that it was a television series, I realized that it was indeed the case, that Goliath couldn't have known that someday, the castle could rise above the clouds. Which meant that he wasn't asking to be placed under the spell so that he could be there when Hudson, the trio, and Bronx were awakened (as I'd subconsciously assumed) because he didn't think that that would ever happen, but just to gain release from the misery of loneliness.
5. Your remarks about Xanatos being designed to appear deceptively heroic definitely brought back memories for me. When I first saw "Awakening", I didn't know for certain whether Xanatos would be a friend or an opponent to the gargoyles until Part Five, but I wanted to believe that he was on their side, that he was on the level, even though a part of me had suspicions that he would turn out to be the antagonist. And it wasn't until Elisa revealed to Goliath in Part Five about what had really gone on in the Cyberbiotics raids that I had to accept that Xanatos was up to no good.
6. The significance of the Alice in Wonderland sculptures during the scene where Elisa was being chased by the commandos was definitely new to me; I had only thought of them as part of the background, and hadn't realized that they were also symbolic of the new world that she'd just discovered.
7. And thanks for confirming my suspicion that Demona's "a thousand years of solitude" remark was a hommage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
8. About Demona revealing her name: that scene always worked for me as dramatic and threatening. What stands out to me about it now, though, was how the expectations or assumptions that I'd had from that line turned out to not match what actually happened in the series. I had believed then that her name arose out of terrified humans whom she was preying upon viewing her as a nightmare straight out of Hell, and then, in "City of Stone", it turns out that she was given that name by a then-ally, and as a means of praising her fighting skills. Talk about skewering the audience's expectations!
I enjoyed seeing the original presentation again. One thing that stands out to me about it now is that, even though the series had by this time clearly switched to a more dramatic genre, there was still a much more strongly comical tone about it than the final version, as in:
1. The depiction of Goliath reading in the 10th century, while seated on a few annoyed-looking smaller gargoyles to keep them out of mischief.
2. The picture of Goliath and Elisa on a subway train, with Goliath wearing a lot of heavy garments to hide the fact that he's a gargoyle, but still getting a lot of attention from the other passengers (which I honestly can't imagine happening in the series itself, though we did get to see Broadway in the trenchcoat and fedora a couple of times).
3. Bronx (looking astonishingly anthropomorphic there) chewing on a fire hydrant.
All in all, I really enjoyed the DVD, and am looking forward to the Season Two ones.
I mentioned back in MARK OF THE PANTHER that I feard that episode would be focused on the illegal poaching angle, and become less of a story, more of a "public service announcement" of sorts. I said back then that, in my experience, when a show is focused on (or does an episode focused on) certain issues (especially environmental ones for some reason) it seems to sacrifice plot, character, and even believability to force its moral across.
Thankfully, that does not happen in this episode, or in any episode of GARGOYLES that I can think of.
Granted there are *some* lines that come close to being preachy. I find myself laughing at the "Forget me, save the trees!" line. And Zaphiro's "There is no such thing as a few trees," while admittidly cool and well-delivered, initially struck me as so absolutist and dogmatic.
Now, in that last case, I would have felt better if the conversation between Zaphiro and Elisa continued after that (maybe with Zaphiro pointing out that rainforest soil is absolutely worthless for farming). This is another one of those times I really wish GARGOYLES had hour-long episodes.
Actually, I really do like that scene between Elisa and Zaphiro because Elisa plays devil's advocate--she actually tries to see things from the side of the "forest defilers." Going back to what I said about other "environmentally-minded" shows and episodes, things have a tendency to be drawn completely in black and white--anyone who chops down a tree is evil to the core, basically. Broad strokes and caricatures.
Let's look at "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," for example. From what I remember, they had a cadre of "Eco-villains" who largely seemed to be destroying the environment because they enjoyed doing so. And it was specifically the environment that they enjoyed destroying. In some cases, they had a motivation (oftimes greed, though one character needed radiation to survive), but mostly they seemed to do it because they enjoyed polluting. If a normal person was doing "bad things" it was because they were under the influence of one of the big bad-guys, and by the end said normal people saw the error of their ways and turned around. Thus, it doesn't seem terribly realistic to me.
Contrast this with MONONOKE HIME ("Princess Mononoke"), one of my favorite animated movies. The "forest defiler," Lady Eboshi, while she can be quite ruthless and capitalistic, has a heart. She frees women from prostitution and takes care of lepers. She has depth, and this makes her more realistic and identifiable. Thus I was able to take this movie seriously, and more fully appreciate humanity's impact on the natural world.
And thankfully, THE GREEN is much closer to MONONOKE HIME than "Captain Planet." Much of this comes from Elisa. In addition to the scene I already mentioned, I LOVE the scene between her and Goliath at the pyramid when he leaves to protect The Green. She argues from the human point of view, in essence still playing devil's advocate, but she can fully sympathize with the gargoyles. And while Goliath can understand Elisa's point of view, he can see little other choice for the gargoyles trying to save The Green than the guerilla attacks. Even the Mayan clan seems to understand (Turquesa is a bit snappish about the "misguided laws," but Jade seems downright cheerful towards Elisa).
And as for the "villains" themselves, Jackal and Hyena are the only real ones, and their primary interest is the money. They don't show any specific enjoyment out of destroying the rainforest (even Jackal's destruction of trees stems from his trying to keep the gargoyles from doing anymore damage and--heck--he just likes destroying stuff, period). Vogel, and through him Cyberbiotics, are the "big bad" employing Jackal and Hyena, but again it's about the money and not a gleeful hatred for the environment (Environmental Ethics for Businesses: "Care about the environment unless it costs you money."). Even the workers are just doing their jobs (and they're probably as unnerved by Jackal and Hyena as they are the gargoyles). The destruction of the rainforest is, as is often the case in real life, the direct side effect of pursuing other goals (as opposed to the ultimate goal of some malefactor).
Okay, NOW we can get down to smaller details.
I LOVED seeing the new gargoyles. Zaphiro's design was excellent! And Hector Elizondo's voice-work was wonderful. The whole cast did a great job, in fact (and was the Jesse Corti playing Jade the same fellow who played Le Fou in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?).
The "flesh by day and night" thing was nice--we don't often get to see the gargs in sun-lit environments.
And it was great seeing Jackal and Hyena again, and they actually managaed to be more unnerving than ever. There are the scenes you and Erin mentioned (a headless Hyena is pretty intimidating), but the whole "retract eye/ear" thing creeps me out, too. Those long cords are rewinding into their SKULLS!! And the sound Hyena's earpiece makes when it goes back in her ear...[shudder].
Admittidly, Jackal did have a nice plan, and if it weren't for the amulet being in New York it might have worked. I find it strange that Hyena seems to think being in NY again is a good "omen." Then again, she likes fighting the gargs, so....
I was pleased to no end to see Broadway and Lexington show up again. And their fight with Hyena was well staged (though the destruction of the various exhibits sets my teeth on edge, as well). You brought up Broadway's clan mentality towards maternity (the plural "mothers"), but what I find interesting is Hyena's use of the singular ("mamma"), which almost seems to indicate that she already in her mind sees these guys as brothers.
RE: the head injury. Yeah, that's another one of those things Toon Disney cuts out. Hyena's holding her head in pain was actually a nice touch, though.
I like the look on Jackal's face when Vogel points out the little "contractual oddity." I almost wonder if Vogel enjoyed needling Jackal on some level.
Actually, I must say I was surprised to see Vogel here. I mean, if any corporation was supposed to be "behind it all" shouldn't it be Xanatos Enterprises--the "bad guy's" company? Instead, it's the company headed by a good man, but run (while said good man is ill) by a rather unemotional businessman. It actually helped with the message and increased the depth of both Vogel and Renard. You get the sense that while Vogel may not like Jackal and Hyena (or their actions) he puts it aside in favor of results.
Still, his deciding to pull Cyberbiotics out of the rainforest entirely seemed a bit too pat. Despite that, though, it's pretty well handled.
I would have loved getting a chance to listen to Broadway and Lex's rationale for ultimately not destroying the amulet. I kind of figured they wouldn't, and having seen Obsidiana lose her pendant and Bronx find it I kind of figured out what the ruse would be.
Dang, but Morgan's casual with Hyena the killer cyborg. Unconcious or not, I'd wait until I was packing a nuclear weapon before I got near her.
Jackal doesn't kill Elisa. He tasers her unconcious, but doesn't kill her right off. Why? I just find myself wondering if he didn't have even WORSE things planned for her.
Elisa comes up with a sort of back-up solution that I had been wondering about for quite some time before this episode aired. It always struck me as being advisable to collect "genetic samples" of endangered plant and animal life "just in case." So I rather liked Elisa's contribution here.
A couple final thoughts: I liked that the gargs never referred to the rainforest as such. It was always "the forest" or, even better, "The Green." I love their using a title for this land they hold in reverence.
Also, the "Oxygen" line you mentioned. It is a valid point (one that I keep forgetting, I'll admit), but, yeah, it may have been a bit difficult to pull off without feeling preachy or forced (I could only see Elisa saying this line since the Mayan clan strike me as mostly knowing their own turf--they know the forest is important, but they may not know how globally necessary it is).
It's a good episode, and a well done "special message" ep. And hey, more gargoyles (and cool looking ones at that)!
It's always a fine line, but we do try to avoid being preachy.
And yes, Jesse Corti is Jade and Le Fou.
In materials I've read since, I'm no longer certain that the rain forests are the lungs of the world. That's been called into question... to some extent by the DESTRUCTION of the rain forest. If so much is gone, why haven't oxygen levels dipped -- or something like that.
This is regarding the Gargoyles first season DVD set--
Hurrah! I love this series and hope very much that the remaining seasons will be put on DVD as well. This is my favorite Christmas present for 2004!
And Merry Christmas to you too!
I got Gargoyles for Christmas!!! I was/am so happy, especially since I've been reading everyone else rave about the DVD during the past 2-3 weeks. I started screaming with joy when I opened the box and found Gargoyles inside. I think I was even more excited than my little sisters were about any of their presents. (They're usually the ones shrieking for joy). All of I got to say is that it looks awesome. I watched all five parts of Awakening yesterday morning and Trill of the Hunt this morning and it looked and sounded awesome. The funniest part is that my eight year old sister kept going "that wasn't in the movie" when we were watching Awakening, since we have the Gargoyles: The Heroes Awaken movie and she's seen it a million times.
Anyway, I just had to share my joy! Now, we just need season 2! <My sisters keep asking me if we have "the episode where that guy picks Elisa up on the motorbike" <for example, she's referring to the end of Hunter's Moon Part 2> and keep having to tell them that no that episode is from season 2.> Now they're convinced that all the good episodes are from the second season. <sigh> It's funny though too...
After a few hours of perusing through the archives and "unanswered questions," I think these are questions that haven't been answered yet. If these questions were answered, I apologize. This list of questions will have to do with Elisa Maza.
Knowing that Elisa Maza is half Native American/African American, does she struggle with the duality of being of mixed cultures? If asked the question "what racial aspect she feels more related to?" what would her response be (if any)? As a child, how would being of two different descents affect Elisa?
I've also noticed within the series that she is close to her parents, but gravites towards her father (i.e. "Her Brother's Keeper"). Did something happen in the past to make her gravitate that way or is it "Daddy's little girl" type of thing?
I know the name of the show is "Gargoyles," but I have always been intrigued at the fact that Elisa Maza didn't have strong outside relationships with anyone outside the police force and the gargoyles. Is it because she's too busy on the force? Is it because she's a loner at heart? Was there a plan to have her outside friends/relationships shown within the series?
You've stated before that Elisa has been in romantic relationships. What is her preference towards men? I know that she finds traits exemplified in Goliath as attractive, but this is more of a superficial question and I'm looking for answers that deal with a racial, religious and financial aspects. Yes, I'm horrible.
You've stated earlier that she's bee in romantic relationships, but not to the point of marriage because no one has ever been that close to her -- why is that? There are probably too many influences to state, but I just want to know about the most prominent influences.
There are probably more questions brewing in my head, but I see that you're bogged down already; therefore, all I can do is wish for my questions to be replied someday.
In the future, numbering your questions would be helpful. I'll divide your questions by paragraph.
2a. I'm sure she struggles a bit.
2b. I think Elisa probably relates to being African-American a bit more than Native American as her mother studies her heritage and her father had (for most of Elisa's life) rejected his. But I don't think she'd respond well to the question, frankly.
2c. I'm not going to use this forum to right a dissertation long answer. I'm sure there was some societal ostracism here and there. Elisa's different. Her ethnic background isn't always immediately obvious from looking at her. This causes some confusion for OTHER people. And that confusion can indeed effect a child. But Elisa was raised in a good home, surrounded by love and a fairly concrete ideal of right and wrong transcending the petty. I think she did fairly well.
3a. Probably a bit of Daddy's little girl. Probably also a natural bent. Elisa is bright, but she's a doer like her father. She didn't follow her mother into acadaemia; she followed her father onto the force. Beth, though choosing to study her Native American heritage, is much more like her mom. Derek is somewhat trapped. He probably would have been better off just following his own path -- to the sky, most likely. Flying was his great passion. But he felt (mostly internal) pressure to follow dad and big sis onto the force. That led to a backlash, which brought him under Xanatos' sway. Now he lives underground.
4a. I'm not sure I agree with your premise here. Elisa had a VERY strong relationship with her family. Plus I think she has friends. The fact that most of those friends are cops, is hardly surprising, since most of us pull our friend pool from our environment. I don't think that Elisa dates much. She would, I think, be very hesitant to date cops or lawyers that she works with. (It's dicey even today for a woman to date co-workers and still be taken seriously.) And she's sure not gonna date perps. And given her schedule, that limits her opportunity to meet people. We happenned to meet her between relationships, but I never thought she NEVER dated. The force does define her a bit. But not entirely.
4b. She's self-sufficient. Which is different. But she has a lot of love to give. And a cat.
4c. Eventually, all things.
5. Racially/ethnically, I don't think she's picky. Her parents' successful marriage; her attraction to Jason, her attraction to Goliath, certainly, indicates she's pretty open. Religiously? I don't know how much that would matter to her either, assuming values were shared. Financially. Well, she wouldn't want to date a bum, i.e. someone who wasn't first self-sufficient as she is. I think she has some traditional values and dreams... again modeled from her own family. But I think those values and dreams are pretty middle/working class, generally.
6. Main one: didn't meet the right guy. Otherwise, see above. She had a goal, a plan. To be a detective for the NYPD. She didn't want anything to stand in the way of that. Then she got there, and meeting eligible guys isn't that easy. Doesn't mean she wasn't looking or even hopeful.
7. Hope you're still around to read these answers.
I was wondering if there was a place where I could find a bunch of quote that Goliath says later in the series during, The Goliath Chronicles. I love reading good quotes, and I remember this show having good ones. Thanks.
You have a better memory than I, then. No, I'm afraid I don't have any info on Goliath Chronicles.
I feel odd for asking this, but I simply became (or at least my interest) piqued and felt that it must be asked.
Coldstone Creamery. What did you think when you heard the name (or at least when they started taking over the world)?
Nothing all that brilliant. Something along the lines of "Hey, we had a character named Coldstone!"
Rambling on Demona
I just finish watching awakening part one to five, from the DVD, witch I love by the way, and it reminded me of the first time I saw Demona. She is my all-time favourite TV Character. I actually feel sorry for her. The talk between her and Goliath at the end when she revels for the first time that she made a plan with the Captain of the guards moved me. I love the way she is written. She sounds alone and I feel and hear her pain.
See I'm a 22 year old gay guy, so when I first saw this I was 12. I didn't really know that I was gay but I knew their was something different about me. Seeing that scene helped me in a weird way. Hearing Demona's pain and loneliness about what the humans "did" to her kind sort of mad me feel like I wasn't alone. Demona's way of blaming others for her mistakes is something that most people do in one way or an other. I can truly say that I felt like she did allot of the time( I didn't want to kill all straight guys) but I felt like they didn't except me and that I couldn't trust anyone. Demona's actions were also mostly responsible for her pain, as the sisters pointed out in COS part 4, just like my fear of being different mad me feel alone.
Later in life I realized that people fear what they don't understand. The whole show is about creatures being different and misunderstood by "normal" people. It help me better understand the other's way of looking at things, that to them I was like a monster( not really a monster but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.) As the show when on, it helped me realize that different wasn't always a bad thing. The Goliath and Elisa relationship gave me hope that maybe someone could love me for who I was and except my differences.
I understand Demona's pain, Marina Sirtis is so amazing in this role. Demona is written so fantastic and realistically that its like she was a voice for me( in a good way, again not the killing part) like she mirrored what I felt. Now I'm fully comfortable with my self and in a way I have Gargoyles to thanks for that. I herd in the commentaries that ( I'm typing from memory, so please forgive me if I'm misquoting you) you indented the show, among other thing, to have or be a voice for the little people. I just wanted to say that at least for me it help me a lot when I was younger. I felt like the were other people in the world that were different. Thank you for that.
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. I been wanting to thank you for a long time. I truly hope that Disney bring this show back, because people like me need more shows like this, with real characters that are normal.
Your post here is very gratifying. I am quite proud of our series and of how evocative and strong and complex a character Demona is in particular, but hearing that it helped you and taught you something truly makes my day. Thanks for sharing this ramble with me.
Does Elisa ever get married??? She is one of my favorite characters. Angela is my most favorite.
My advice is to start picking up the comic book... In time, all will be revealed there...
Will there ever be a movie on Gargoyles?
I don't know. Will there?