You're not going to believe this! In the scene where the prince and G-1 are in the dungeon with the skeleton, BotP actually out-darkens GoS!
_ _ _
Demons of the Desert
Why does Zark always have to sound so self-important?
The sheikdom of Adullrah on the Persian Gulf; in other words, well inside the Middle East, a region of trouble since slightly south of the Great Flood. Of COURSE Zark could reasonably expect trouble there! Anyone with half a brain and an nth his scanners would keep an eye on it!
Shiek Tabul studied at Center Neptune? Wonder why? And he's a friend of G-Force.
So Tabul's uncle Ajeeb overthrew him, and there's reason to suspect Zoltar's behind it. Well, from a military standpoint, it makes perfect sense for Zoltar to pull such a move. [1: I'm spelling phonetically here, so sorry for misspellings. 2: This is some of the worst dubbing I've seen since Jackie Chan's "Drunken Master". (Early film made in South Korea.)] So the deposed ruler is running a rebellion, and Zoltar's not going to like that, but Galaxy Security won't want Zoltar in control there –the country's too useful for an attack base.
The familial relationship is different than in GoS, but the complaint is the same. The person controlling the country instead of the young ruler has undergone a major personality change.
Smart for the rebels to hide their base on sacred ground. It's a known fact that taboos often cling long after they cease being practical or even believed. (Show of hands: who still throws salt over their shoulder when they spill it? Anyone?) : -)
Barhul (sp?) Winged Dragon, ancient guardian of the desert….but Tabul knows that calling on some old friends will help him help his country. And who does Tabul's voice? It sounds familiar for some reason.
Except for the opening shot, Zark's been somewhat less annoying than usual…so far.
So Tabul calls Anderson for help. G-Force is dispatched.
Keyop saying something about Tabul and friends, and Princess says in this really really gooey voice, "And we don't forget our friends, Keyop." Cringe. I'm sorry, but sometimes her voice…
So Tabul is a proud person, and his calling for help indicates to G-Force that he's got major trouble.
Jason get a "moral" line here: "There's no greater danger than facing greedy men who take what don't belong to them." Gag. This is the kind of line that makes you wonder if Jason took the scriptwriter for a short walk down a dark alley afterwards. >:- >
Discussing the problem…
Sighting the enemy planes….Enemy tells them to back off, Mark tells them Prince Tabul called them, the guy tells them they've had their warning and they can't evade them.
Mark: "We're sure gonna try." The way he says it, it actually works. (And this is a really good shot of him here. G-3 too.)
Gatch musictrack (nice), enemy attack, discussion of what to do.
Jason says to disperse (sounds like a cross between discourage and disperse) really fast. Mark says there are a few too many for comfort. Jason teases him about getting cautious in his old age.Grimly humorous, Mark replies, "It's the way to reach old age," and orders the transmute. ( And since we've seen pilots in those planes, we know we aren't going to see them flamed; not on BotP.) :-p
Love how they changed to Firebird in cloud cover. Great effect and major surprise.
Aren't those the shots from when the God Phoenix went to the moon in the scorpion ep?
So the rebels see the Bird and follow it to its landing place…
Interior temp. is handled by a "climate effector"?!? What? I didn't know that "climate control" was copyrighted. Or was someone trying to sound really futuristic?
Mark's smart enough to know that if Tabul saw the Firebird, he'll find them.
Of course it doesn't look like a welcoming committee, Tiny. These people are in the middle of a civil war and Tabul's the only one who knows you by sight. (And if Zoltar were to somehow convince the right people that he was backing the rebels and not the current regime, there would be trouble. At least he hasn't been smart to figure that out. Or it's not worth his time.)
Mark goes out and identifies himself, Tabul recognizes him and welcomes them.
Let's see…from the general tenor of this and the proceeding conversations, Tabul's visit to Center Neptune seems to have been pretty recent. And the uncle underwent his personality change while Tabul was away. (Has anyone written any fanfics on this theme?) And we've had it from three people under three different circumstances mention the uncle's former closeness with Tabul –and all such that it fits into the general flow of the story and can't be counted as "the audience wasn't listening" (or at least they hide it well).
In case you're wondering, except for Zark and lack of fatalities, this is running fairly close in plot to GoS. The difference is in the details, and I'll discuss those details. (For one thing, that statue ain't a dragon in GoS.)
I like this interpretation of the prince. When Jason asks if he's in danger, Tabul says, "It doesn't matter" and speaks of his duty to his people. No wonder he and Mark got along!
Here comes the mech of the week, zipping in from Spectra.
Umm, Zark, I think we all know where Spectra's supposed to be.
Ooookay, someone good in astronomy sort me out on this. Zark said that the mech for this show left the Crab Nebulae and entered our galaxy and then that it's entered the solar system and is passing Saturn (which I KNOW could only work like that if it entered on the elliptic.) But my question is, I thought the Crab Nebulae was in OUR galaxy, the Milky Way. I'm confused….is Zark using shoddy astronomy, or is my memory fritzing out?
The mech's headed for Earth and the Arabian Peninsula –are we surprised?
How did that giant ugly mech sneak up on G-1, of all people? I mean, engine noise, air displacement, and all. Of course, Zark might have been better able to keep track of it if he wasn't yammering so much.
How is that mech staying up? It can't be more than 30 –50 ft off the ground.
So in BotP the mech flies over the camp without dropping any bombs, thereby sparing the producers and Zark the necessity of explaining the injury and deaths of uncounted rebels. (a bit of sarcasm here)
Okay. As far as anyone knew just before this point, it was only a supposition that Zoltar was behind the insurrection that put the uncle on the throne. For all anyone knew, it was just another civil war such as periodically pop up in the Middle East. By sending the mech, Zoltar's tipped his hand and provided an excuse for G-Force to get involved in as more than just friends. I think there's a question here about the PDOS's (courtesy Lori McDonald) level of plain common sense.
An upset stomaflex and a flutter in his fosdic? Where's the Maalox?
Good voice actor for the uncle. Bass and threatening –perfect for the character being played.
(I'm sorry, but when this soldier is patting the sheikh down for weapons, it looks almost like he's feeling him up.)
It certainly looks like the prince is unarmed –and Zoltar's a jackrabbit.
Mark is beating up the bad guys, and I'm pretty darn sure that there were bits clipped –I remember in GoS that G-1 threw his boomerang, and the scene jumps around a lot.
So Tabul's pointing a gun at his uncle, and his uncle's trying to appeal to the memory of better days and all the warm fuzzies. Tabul's having none of it.
Mark stops him and spouts off with: "Two wrongs don't make a right. You'll regret it for the rest of your life." Does he have to sound like a book of wise sayings? It comes across as rather corny. And the pros and cons of this situation could be argued for another 35,000+ messages on the list, so I'm not going into it.
I notice they left out the soldier/assassins and the "sleeping" gas bullets.
So Tabul and Mark are going back and forth, and the uncle pushes a button, and down into the hidden dungeon the two heroes go. Mark makes an effort to contact Tiny. When Tabul gets to his feet, a skeleton is dragging at his cloak. A ring falls off its finger. (They didn't Zark that? I would've thought that an almost-rotted skeleton would be too scary for the kiddies. (more sarcasm)
The prince identifies the ring as his uncle's, and tells Mark that his uncle never removed it ever. He says further that his father gave it to his uncle, and that he would know it anywhere. The look on Mark's face is very much, "Oh, crap." The implication is clear; the uncle upstairs is a fake and the real….
(And BotP actually out-darkens GoS on this one! On GoS, the prince tells Ace that if the ring were placed on the finger of the skeleton means his father and chief advisor have fled the country!)
The people of the country approach the palace with torches to find out what's become of their prince (and the "uncle" doesn't look at all concerned. Gee, wonder why.)
The mustache being pulled off always makes me cring. I know it's fake, but…
What? Rewind, hit slow…Do it again, since I can't believe what I'm seeing. When the PDOS sheds the fat guy disguise, from behind there is long yellow hair and a definite hourglass-type shape between the middle of the back and upper thigh, but when we see the front angle, thru the window, it's very much the PDOS in full costume, with pointy-eared mask. ?!?!?
I was expecting Zark next, but we get Zoltar laughing and gloating and howling like a maniac –until Mark cuts in.
"You destroyed a good man and, by replacing him, his good name." Where does Mark get this stuff? Did the scriptwriters go hunting thru fortune cookies? No wonder some call him "Golden Boy."
This is an excellent scene, tho. (In spite of Zoltar whining when his hand got birdranged. It sounds like a whine.) But the POV of Zoltar as he's flying down the stairs after Mark throws him, that's cool.
Mech bombing the city…
Prince Tabul: "Come on. Get those aircraft guns working!" (I guess he means antiaircraft guns, since the rebels don't seem to have any flight capability.) And whispers: "We must capture that man." Next shot is of Zoltar.
(CAPTURE! After all…so much to say, so little time. Than again, maybe there's a mandate allies of Galaxy Security/Federation government have to follow when it comes to high ranking Spectrans.)
So Zoltar gets away where GoS's Galactor doesn't because his line stays intact and he doesn't fall into the confusion below.
Man, if the PDOS and GBC used more mechs like this one, there'd be serious trouble!
Mark's comment here applies to ANY GBC, PDOS and their green goon brigades: "If he [Zoltar] can't win, he'll destroy." (And, of course, everyone in the bombed village got out safely. At least it's not Zark telling us this time.)
Tiny had the idea of leading the mech into a trap. Owls don't get enough–well, I've think I've said it enough. :- P
So Tabul and his men get to set off the trap. Knock a bomb or two off the mech so it lands on the oil refineries, and everything goes up!
Ummm..Mark just called the bombs that fall off the mech "dics". Has he not had a chance to see them clearly or did the translator/scriptwriter just not pay attention?
Let's see…blow up the refineries to destroy Zoltar's mech or let the mech blast the oil fields? Not much of a decision, when you think about it.
Why is Zark telling us what G-Force and Tabul were just discussing? And why is the trash can telling us that he's advising a transmute to Fiery Phoenix so they can escape at highest speed? I mean, DUH!
You know, having bomb and explosion proof shelters at the refineries makes sense. If a fire or somesuch gets out of control, the workers would NEED someplace sturdy to shelter!
BOOM! There go the refineries.
There goes the mech.
There goes Tabul getting all dramatic.
And here comes the Fiery Phoenix!
Zark summarizing and telling us and how wonderful everything's going to be. And then babbling on about how he's going to get some internal layer to his body structure or something.gag
Susan…why? With that actor, why that voice? On a little kids' show, yet.
_ _ _
Here the prince is named Ali, and his father is the king, Ahmed. The name of the kingdom is Duuru (that's how it sounds) in the Ari Desert. And oil is its wealth.
BTW, Dr. Brighthead's the narrator for this.
That statue at the ancient shrine in the desert is a representation of the Sunbird. According to legend, long ago, when the people were badly oppressed by a greedy king, it flew down to rescue them.
Praying to the statue for help…Ali decides to ask for help. And in GoS, it's Dr. Brighthead who is Ali's friend. Interestingly, Ali refers to him as Dr. Brighthead of G-force. And Ali goes on to say that Dr. Brighthead was his father's friend before his "father became a stranger to me."
And apparently someone was expecting trouble, because Ali and Dr. B already a "special communications system" set up.
Here we have it again –someone close to the prince has had a thorough and unexpected personality change. Even Dr. B. finds it hard to believe, saying he's known King Ahmed well.
Since at this point no one realizes Galactor is involved, Aggie asks, on the way to Duuru, if they should even be getting involved. (A question that never comes up in BotP, but nevermind. That's probably already been discussed to death.)
Ace points out that if the Dr. didn't think they should get involved, than he wouldn't send them. (And I have so much to say on the subject of both the Dr. and Ace getting G-force involved in situations where the definitions of `should' or `shouldn't' get rather mushy, but that would be a post in itself.)
Dirk's take is he's not sure what they're doing is right, that maybe they shouldn't get involved in the politics of a foreign country.
Ace tells them –when they're already HALFWAY THERE- that their orders are not to get involved in the local politics and not to openly interfere in the power struggle. (Why am I thinking American soldiers, Russia, 1918-1919?) And that includes not fighting back unless it can't be helped. So basically, until and unless Galactor shows his pointy little ears, they have to sit on their hands.
Jason at this point says that "they can go down," which I found confusing. Dirk's line is to inform them they are in the airspace of the kingdom of Duuru.
All the little jets are lining up to greet the Phoenix…the wing leader informs them of their "airspace violation". Ace tells them that they are there on an important business matter. Then he says, "We would like to see the king." He gets pretty much the same response as Mark got. Ace says, "Lose him, Hootie." (And have I said how great G-1 looks in that last shot?)
Now for some fun. Wingleader just told "Royal Squadron DKS" to "destroy intruders." Does he have a death wish? Lucky for them G-force is under restricted orders.
After some weaving and dodging and missiles fired by the Royal Squadron, Dirk urges scaring them with a bird missile. Ace points out that if they do that, they might hit one of the planes. (He has so much better luck with Dirk with he explains why they can't fire the missiles instead of just saying no.) :-P
In his turn, Dirk points out that if they don't do something, they won't be able to meet with the prince. This is when they pull the hide-in-the-clouds and go-to-Firebird trick.
The Prince and his rebels see the Firebird. The rebels think it is the Sunbird, and Ali orders some his men to come with him to where it lands.
Pewee: "Wow, that was scary. No matter how many times we go into Firebird mode, it still rattles my gauges –and the ships."
Ace: "Pewee, sometimes your gauges could use a little rattling."
Then they discuss how they're going to get in contact with the prince (no, no plan for that. And IMHO, that should have been Brighthead's dept., since he was the one who actually talked to the prince). Dirk says that if they don't get out of the desert soon, they'll all melt. (This is when he's tugging at his collar.)
Hootie checks outside, they see the soldiers, Dirk points out that such poorly-equipped soldiers can't be the king's soldiers, Aggie adds that they're most likely the rebels, and Ace goes out on the nose of the Phoenix to talk to them. Identification made, and G-force welcomed.
Discussion of King Ahmed's personality change, and Ali mentions that his father's best friend and closest advisor Kabul has disappeared.
Interesting discussion here. Ali is telling of how he's been trying to get in to see his father, but he's too well protected. Dirk's question is, "Can you get to your father?"
Ali's answer? "Yes." He blames his father's personality change on the fact that the oil wells are but recently discovered and the resultant wealth too much for his father to resist. He is so sure that if he can just talk to his father, he can make him see how wrong he is. (Anybody who's been in a bad relationship would have something to say about that.) And right after that, when Ace asks what would happen if the king found out about the team, Ali says his father is "very dangerous" and that even he lives in fear of his life. (rolls eyes) Honestly, is this guy listening to himself?
We have Ali sitting on the cliff and Ace coming up behind him, and in the background, against the night sky, we can see the shape of the bomb mech flying by. How the heck does that thing sneak up on them?!?!
I still can't figure out why either Zoltar or Galactor would tip their hand that the problems in that desert country were more than a internal civil war.
So the Bomb Mech is blasting the rebel base to smithereens. With the resultant casualties.
Ali and Ace go to see the king. And here's the fun one: you know the second the king speaks that it's Galactor, which takes a lot of the surprise out of the plot that BotP had because the voice was rather different.
So the prince is searched and goes up to see his father…
And the "king" is standing there with a dozen soldiers lined up ready to shoot the prince when he comes in….The prince reaches behind his back with one hand while commanding the attendant to open the door. When the flunky does so, the prince shoves him into the room and the soldiers mow the servant down.
The sound of bullets alerts G-1. Ace clobbers the soldiers downstairs and rejoins Ali. And what was clipped here in BotP was Ali using his hidden gun to mow down the soldiers. Don't know why, but GoS says that the bullets in question were gas pellets, even though the cartridges dropping from the gun sure looked like those used for bullets. (My dad does his own reloading for the range.)
Ali tells the "king" that he's going to knock him out with a gas pellet and take him back to the rebel camp for trial. Of course, out the phony's mouth come all the protestations of how he didn't know about the assasination attempt, not his fault, yadda yadda yadda. Ali's not buying it.
What is it with Eagles? Mark started in on Tabul, and now Ace is telling Ali that "maybe if you give him one more chance to explain things, we can begin to settle this!" Ho-nest-ly! Under the circumstances, who has the better understanding of the local situation? I would think the guy who's been there since the trouble started!
Ali: "I've given him enough chances!"
Ace: "You can't let your emotions cloud your thinking!" (!!!...So much to say, so little time.) Then he goes into how he knows how tough this must be for the prince (!!! How?!) and that Ali has to remember he's the prince and has to try every diplomatic solution for the people of the country. This coming from a ninja on a team who's job is to stop a terrorist organization that wants to conquer the earth. Maybe he's being just trying to see both sides of the issue, or maybe he's being an idealistic dolt.
While they're arguing, the `king' pushes the button, and down into the hidden dungeon they go.
Ace smells a rat and contacts the Phoenix.
The ring falls off the finger of the skeleton as Ali yanks his coat away. Ali recognizes it as "the royal ring" and says that the placing of it on that skeleton in that dungeon is a message from his father. The message being that the real king and his advisor have left the country. And yes, I agree, this is as contrived as anything Zark ever came up with.
The people come to plead for Prince Ali…(shades of Aladdin, here)
Galactor throws off his disguise –slow button! Rewind, slow again. Yep, definitely a female-type form there.
Here comes the floating bomb mech, blowing up the suppliants.
Ace and Galactor going at it in the main hall…Gatch theme! :- )
Ooooh, bad pun! After Ace throws Galactor down the stairs, he says, "That's the only kind of throne you're going to get while you're in this palace!"
Galactor: "Oh, that is very clever of you" and then goes on about how his bomb mech's going to blow up the kingdom. He tries to escape on the rope from the Devil Star Ship, but Ace throws the boomerang and severs the rope and Galactor falls into the burning mess below. Ace does the boomerang spin and holsters it.
Meanwhile, Ali's rallying his men and getting them in position to fight.
On the Phoenix, the team's discussing what happened to Galactor. Ace says they searched all over and couldn't find any trace of the PDOS. (And they never specify who actually did the searching, including if Ace called in the other team members.)
Then they switch to discussing how to get rid of the bomb mech. Ace points out that the whole things one big bomb, so they just can't shoot it down. Dirk suggests trapping it somehow and leading it out into the desert.
Hootie speaks up and says that from the mech's flight patterns it looks to him like it's following energy sources. He theorizes that the weird silver knobs on nose and tail are some kind of antenna. They should be able to use the energy from the Phoenix's engines to get it to follow them. (Owls don't get enough credit.)
Ace approves Hootie's idea. Than Aggie says: "Getting rid of that bomb won't be so easy, I'm afraid. It is so powerful that only an explosion 100 times greater than its own firepower can destroy it. Even our bird missile isn't that powerful." (Whether any of that's true or not I'll leave to those with greater expertise than me.)
Putting the plan into action…
Ace contacts Ali, tells him that Ali's father and the advisor are safe on Tanzi Island and that Dr. Brighthead is going to pick them up. (SO many questions, so little time…) Than Ace tells Ali to shoot at the bomb when he's told to.
Here comes the plan to use the refineries and the bomb's own firepower to blow it up. The Phoenix first, the mech following, and Ali following both in his jeep.
Hootie tells Ace that there won't be a split second to spare. Ace makes a "ehn-huuuhhh" noise and says: "Yeah, I know that, Hootie." He seems a lot less confident that it'll work than he did when he was talking to Ali. Dirk points out that there's no choice.
Ali gets the cue and shoots.
There goes the refinery.
There goes the mech.
Ali is certain that the Phoenix and G-force could not have survived the explosions. "They give their lives for others."
Cue one Firebird.
Ali knows the Firebird for what it is, but many of the inhabitants think they are seeing the Sunbird of legend. (According to the Dr. B. narrator.)
Dr. B returns the king to the country, everything's rebuilt, warm fuzzies all around.
Incidentally, from the ep where Katze pretended to be Dr. Nambu after nuking an island and putting lots of teeny tiny lead bugs on it, we learn that after two rounds of Firebird, the Phoenix's tanks are all but drained. If Ali couldn't supply the team with fuel, they weren't going anywhere until Brighthead got there anyway.