We were there!
There is a good chance that you have not yet heard about Twisted Toonz, but it is self-titled as “the greatest entertainment sensation of the 21st century.” After, my first live viewing of the one-of-a-kind series this weekend at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo I am inclined to agree with their assessment.
Twisted Toonz has been appearing at major conventions across North America for a few years now. The show involves some of the best voice over talents from cartoons, video games, and movies doing a live script reading of some of the most iconic films in history. However, there is a bit of a twist as each character is given another pop culture character to voice in place of the characters in the film. So, past shows have featured the voices of Christopher Walken, Winnie the Pooh, or Batman in place of characters from movies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Word of warning for parents, these shows have a tendency to go way past the PG ratings of the scripts they read from.
Sounds brilliant, right? It is, and many of their readings can be found on YouTube, but there is nothing quite like watching these performances live.
This weekend at the Calgary Expo the Twisted Toonz lineup included Zach Callison (Steven Universe), Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels), Fred Tatasciore (Batman: The Killing Joke), and Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim). An impressive assortment of talents that could quickly put together any entertaining show. And, for their choice of the script to read? None other than the timeless time-travel fan-favourite flick, Back to the Future. The movie was chosen, I am assuming because the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo had a Back to the Future cast reunion the day before.
In forty-five minutes the cast was able to squeeze out the first five scenes of the memorable movie. That is quite the feat considering how much improv is done, never mind how much laughter breaks out during these shows.
Everybody can recognize the scenes quickly, Back to the Future starts with Doc Brown introducing Marty to his time machine and things turn dark that evening when Doc is shot by a terrorist group. Although, it is an entirely different experience with a narration in the voice of Julia Childs, or Doc Brown being played by Horvitz’s most famous character, Invader Zim.
Things just got stranger from there. For the scene in the café where Marty McFly realizes that he has travelled back in time the voice cast of Grand Theft Auto was brought out to fill the place of the bullies. The heavy swearing and brutish attitudes were quite the contrast to Callison’s Mickey Mouse interpretation of Marty or Tatascoire’s impressive rendition of Barrack Obama in place of George McFly.
The show really took a turn after Marty gets hit by a car. As you remember from the film, Marty wakes up in the bedroom of his younger more attractive mother, and she makes some bold passes at who she calls Calvin Klien. Well, there is a whole other connotation to the scene when the mother is replaced with the voice of Bill Cosby and Horvitz is playing Marty as the young Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. I probably do not need to get into further details of how inappropriate things had reached by this point.
Some other voices that appeared include Cher, Donald Duck, The Hulk, Darth Vader, Jimmy Stewert, and the Haunted Mansion from Disneyland. Basically, this is just a mish-mash of pop culture moments and voices. It is brilliant!
This was one of the best moments of a convention full of major celebrities. I would grab at any opportunity to watch another one of these events live at any time. If you have not watched any of the YouTube clips before, be sure to check them out as each one is better than the last. And, be sure to check the schedule for the next convention you make it out to, you will not be disappointed.