Wednesday 12 May 2010

Captain Planet: Origins

I love pollution. I don’t recycle. I intentionally buy aerosol cans with CFC gases in them. When I have one of those plastic things that holds a six pack together, I intentionally go looking for fish and birds to trap in it. You know what I do when I see an endangered species these days? I punt it.

Many years ago, I was employed as a lab technician for the Seriously High-tech Intelligence Encouraged Laboratory in Doncaster. It’s only now, after so many years have passed, that I’m allowed to talk about what went down there. I was sent there on this occasion, and like so many others, by my local burger-van owner turned literary agent turned temp agency turned occasional wedding planner, Bjorn. He told me this job would be relatively easy – simply pushing bits of equipment around, whilst I waited for a publisher to pick up my latest novel: Varg, a tale of Vikings and werewolves.

Upon arriving I was given the usual tour and Health and Safety video, followed by being given a run-down of exactly what the operation was. Long story short, it was the early nineties, and people were big on three things: Boglins, The Simpsons and being seen to be environmentally friendly. After their Weapon X project had failed back in the eighties, Stupidly Hyperbolic Initials Equalling Literally Diddly-squat decided to try and create themselves another super-weapon, albeit this time with a day-glo environmentally friendly bent. The result was what came to be known as “Captain Planet”.

I was introduced to the concept by Captain “Slim” Jim Bimflim, a noted military scientist. “Well, let’s face it, Professor Von Bolt-thrower, the world needs some sort of icon to rally around to deal with the pollution epidemic that we’re all painfully and artistically aware of in the early nineties. With that view in mind, we’ve decided to genetically engineer a superhero of our own!”

“Oh, really?” I asked. “Do you think that harnessing cloning and genetic modification really sends the right eco-friendly message? Are you sure that this isn’t a really dumb idea? Don’t these things always go incredibly hulkily wrong? Doesn’t the creature always turn on its creator?”

“Do you like my gun?” he asked. I took his point.

The idea was so fucking stupid I still can’t quite credit it to this day. Basically, to prevent the superhero from becoming too powerful and taking over the world, they split his power into five rings to represent the five elements: fire, earth, water, air and the other one.

“I know there’s the gun thing, and all.” I said. “But aren’t there four elements?”

“You’ve forgotten “Wind”.” replied Bimflim.

“No, I’ve got that one.”

“Ah, then you must have forgotten the human element. We’ve decided to call that “Heart”, after test audiences responded poorly to “Duct Tape”.”

I picked up the forlorn looking item and examined it. “But...this is just a Ring Raider...”

At this I was forcibly dragged through into the main laboratory, where a giant of a man lay in a tank of water, various IV leads and medical gubbins sticking out of him. His skin was a pastel blue and his hair a vibrant green. “So...what exactly are we looking at here?” I asked.

Bimflim smiled at me, evidently very proud of his creation. “This is the superman himself. We call him “Captain Planet”, after test audiences responded poorly to “Deathbringer McGee”.”

“So...” I asked. “You people at Shepherding Hate-mail Into Envelopes Labelled “Diatribes” seem to have everything under control here. What exactly is my job going to be?”

Bimflim smiled, and gestured to the rings. “Well, until the appointed agents arrive, you’ll need to look after these. We’ve named the agents "Planeteers", after test audiences responded badly to “motherfuc”...”

“You want me in control of this guy, and these rings, until such time as a bunch of teenagers turn up?”

“Yes.” replied Bimflim. “That’s about the long and short of it.”

I shrugged and took put myself on overwatch whilst the crowds of scientists milled around and about, studying clipboards, turning dials and occasionally whispering to each other. After what seemed like ages, I felt a tapping on my shoulder, and turned around to see five teenagers waiting for me.

“Professor Von Boltthrower!” exclaimed Speccy, Ginger, Orlando, and two other friends.

I took a fast, hard and very close look at my palm. “Hi, kids.”

“What are you doing here, Professor Von Boltthrower?” asked Speccy. “Are you hot on the trail of Lord Voldemort and his latest plan?”

“Kids...” I muttered. “I just want to sit here, guard these rings and go home – why is that too much to ask?”

“The lost Rings of Aghoahn!” said Orlando. “They must be using them to try and awake the Captain of the Planet!”

“Hey!” I cried as the five kids snatched at the rings and pulled them on. Raising their hands into the air they cried out:





“Duct tape!”

There was a shattering shattering sound, and the green titan within the tank rose up, spraying glass and dead scientists everywhere. Fearing for my life, I ran from the laboratory, plumes of fire, smoke and duct tape chasing me down the corridor. Turning back, I saw a giant blue hand reaching for me. Throwing myself down a flight of stairs, I rolled out of the way, to see the laboratory go up in flames. I calmly lit my cigar from the fire ring (which still had Orlando's finger stuck in it), and went home.

"Jesus, Brad, this makes even less sense than the rest of them do!" cried Bjorn as he handed me my pay slip.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, for starters, you claim this was back in the early nineties, but those Hogwarts kids would have been just toddlers back then! And why didn't you just blast the giant monster with your Storm Bolter? Yes, your jacket is half burned away, there is broken glass in your hair and you appear to have acquired a Ring Raider...but I sent you to be a milkman! You were supposed to be just delivering bottles of milk to old people!"

I nodded. "Let me answer your questions with another question. Do you like my gun?"

Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable.

Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible–inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one.

If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.

1 comment:

  1. Stupidly Hilarious Internet Epistle, Lacking Diagrams.