Apollo Gauntlet takes you to a magical world of wrestling & rap music when an ordinary Canadian cop is transported to medieval times and represents! Paul Cassidy doesn’t miss a beat. Under the assumed name Apollo, he defeats monsters and booby traps with a combination of wrestling and dance moves accompanied by own personal beat box via magical talking gauntlets!
The Adult Swim series is based on the web series by real-life Canuck Myles Langlois, who voices the titular character. And features much improved animation (believe it or not) by Mondo Media’s production company 6 Point Harness (Dick Figures: The Movie).
The surreal feel of the characters was achieved by using an animation technique known as rotoscoping, popularized in animated films like Heavy Metal. The animators trace over live-action footage to create realistic movement. Of course the end result is only going to be as the source. In this case, they took a DIY approach and just used staff as seen in a behind-the-scenes look. Furthermore, the animators mimicked the style of the web series.
“Every animation artist is trying to do, by their very nature, the best job they can do,” director Greg Franklin explained. “A lot of people have been trained to do like a Disney or to do like a John Kricfalusi style (The Ren & Stimpy Show) or very expressive and big. And this was more like mumblecore, more like lo-fi.
“There were a lot of times where we were rotoscoping rotoscoped footage,” he added.
Langlois says he spotted mistakes but insisted on keeping them in the show.
Apollo Gauntlet is a stand up guy
Apollo is nonchalant about the whole being transport to another world thing. He responds to impending danger with pop culture references that are lost on those around him. Even his psychically linked gauntlets don’t appreciate his jokes. It’s like one long stand up routine filled with deafening silence from the audience, which painfully funny to watch.
Not even the ominous sounding Oracles of Doom faze our hero.
“You know, you always talk about how bad the Oracles of Doom are but, come on, Crystal Skull was so much worse,” Apollo remarks in reference to the Indiana Jones reboot.
Many of jokes are easy to miss thanks to a deadpan delivery such as Apollo reciting the lyrics to Radiohead’s “Creep” when Ozborne tells him he doesn’t belong here. It doesn’t help that all the references are decades old. And young viewers may be as lost as everyone else.
I have the power!
It’s hard to miss the He-Man influence. Apollo has his own magical catch phrase that cuts right to the point.
“Make these gauntlets powerful!” he cries out followed by a stock transformation scene in 3D!
There’s even a skeletor-esque villain, Corporal Vile, who wants the gauntlets for his own devices.
Apollo’s love interest, Prince Daphne (Kelsy Abbott), is literally empowered in the TV adaption. She goes from being a damsel to heroine. It’s revealed she too has fabulous secret powers when she holds aloft the Belenus sword complete with a She-Ra transformation sequence.
It’s prophesied that the sword can only be wielded by the prince, Orenthal Bellanus, but he turns out be more like Adam than He-Man. Daphne ends up falling for Apollo but those are the one moves he doesn’t have. When she professes her love for him, he reciprocates with “absolutely.”
The plot is nebulous and left unresolved but that’s okay. Apollo isn’t some avenging superhero like Batman though he does do a very good vigilante voice a la Nick Nolte. He’s an almost too everyman, who is utterly unfazed by the things happening around him. It’s a comedy clearly intended for people with a very specific sense of humor. Think Steven Wright.
Apollo Gauntlet airs Mondays 12:15AM on Adult Swim / Cartoon Network.
Watch Apollo Gauntlet season 1 online @ adultswim.com