Having determined that I'm not crazy
(at least with regards to THAT) I went on Amazon and purchased a used copy of the Siegfried and Roy cartoon series/movie for .01 dollars (and 2.98 shipping and handling) and it has arrived!
It's fairly standard fantasy fare, but not nearly as wretched as I expected. Though the fact that the starring characters are, sort-of, Siegfried and Roy, means that there are some interesting changes.
Siegfried's a fairly standard hero for this sort of story. The somewhat roguish everyman. He's a trickster and illusionist and is generally out for a buck. He gets to be the one that starts off relatively clueless to the major plot/conflict of the story. He also has a gnome sidekick whose name I still can't recall.
Roy gets to be the wounded mysterious fugitive with a special book and a magic tiger who gets to be all empathetic and with a special bond to animals. He's serious and a bit angsty, and by turns impressed or exasperated with Siegfried's derring-do. He's the one who basically gets the others involved in the plot.
It's kind of interesting, from a long-time fantasy fan's perspective, because while both characters are fairly standard archetypes, Roy's is one that (at least when teamed up with a character like Siegfried) tends to be female. This is not to say that Roy's character is at all effeminate. Merely that in the traditional story pattern, when the roguish ne'er do well ends up stumbling across the wounded and solemn fugitive who clues him into a greater quest which ultimately shows him that there's more than just money/prestige/fame/whatever, that character's usually female.
It's interesting that of all the stereotypical story patterns they could use, the writers went with one so, well, traditionally heterosexist. Having both be male makes an interesting dynamic.
The tiger is a rocking sidekick by the way, as is the flying hawk thingy. They never, however, really explain why Roy can apparently psychically communicate with them or why he has the seer's book to begin with.
Or why his accent tends to fluxuate from germanic to pseudo-Irish at a moment's notice. And sadly, it's still steadier than whatever it is that comes out of Siegfried's mouth. (Neither the real Siegfried or Roy provide the voices).
The princess Estella is an interesting character. Even if she does get sidelined for most of the story. She's pretty, daring and stubborn. When she came on screen I figured that her presence was there to...well...straighten the proceedings up so to speak.
Honestly, if that were
the intention, it failed miserably
. When she offers her hand in marriage to whoever figures out a way to help her father, Siegfried's enthusiasm is strictly expressed in terms of the profit/money gained. He never once expresses any sort of physical attraction to the princess herself.
He actually seems to spend most of his time invading Roy's physical space, touching his shoulder or arm, and pestering him about letting him use the cat in his act.
After a while, I was starting to think that was a metaphor. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, the princess gets sidelined fairly quick anyway, so as not to interrupt the
dashing adventures of the two men.
The overall plot is fairly lame, but with a few interesting bits here and there. I thought the possessing spirits of greed and pride were particularly striking in the manner in which they were used. King Midas's touch is the usual mythic cliche, sure, but the way that the spirit menaced, tormented, and then physically invaded the king was rather strikingly horrible for a cartoon. I was impressed.
They couldn't seem to quite decide which mythos they were using. We had King Midas, the Titans, Medusa, Grendel, some personifications of the seven sins, Zeus and Loki. Zeus, by the by, was a wife stealing dick. So at least some things were fairly true to the source material. :-P
It was definitely clearly a couple of episodes first, rather than a single movie. There were odd repetitions, marking episode breaks, and the structure was definitely more in four or so mini-climaxes rather than one movie climax.
The ending was reasonably satisfying, though clearly more intended to be the beginning of a series rather than the end of a movie, as the main quest (save the Tiger!!!) is still ahead of them. Siegfried does of course decide not to marry the princess, and instead goes off with his
one true love
partner, the gnome, the tiger, and the bird to seek adventure. While still pestering him about Roy letting him use the cat in his act.
Yep. Definitely a metaphor.
And one that's well worth the three bucks I spent to get it. :-)