In celebration of Bruce Campbell’s birthday today, I thought it would be an ample time to reflect on him and his career. Specifically, his voice and the variety of cartoons he’s acted on! Needless to say, there have been a lot, so I decided to focus on just a handful of his animated adventures sometimes as a hero, sometimes as a villain, but always memorable!
This cult action comedy cartoon on Cartoon Network had some incredibly animated fights, and some incredible villains. Chief among them, Bruce Campbell in one of his more self-referential roles as Magnanimous! An evil, extraterrestrial cyborg with a big head and chin (of course) along the lines of MODOK. The series centering around Coop, a New Jersey slacker who comes upon a massive mecha from the future called Megas, repairing it and making it his ride of choice. Using it along with his timid friend, Jaime, and Kiva, a warrior from the future who intends to use the Megas to fight off alien invaders. In his first appearance, Magnanimous lured Coop and co. into entering his inter-galactic fighting tournament in order to make some space cash, wanting to fix the fights in order to rake in more dough. Coop refuses, leading to a mechanical brawl sending Magnanimous down a quantum singularity… until he got out and threatened Coop and friends on Earth all over again for the sake of money and revenge. Mag quotes quite a bit from Ash, and his mecha suit even resembles Elvis’ costume in Bubba Ho-Tep. With some seriously funny lines and some seriously cool robot fights, these episodes are classics.
MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT
In this retro-future sci-fi Nicktoon, XJ9 or “Jenny” to her friends, defends the Earth from all manner of threats both big and bizarre. In this case, the bullish Himcules voice by Bruce. A big, buff, bully of a man who gets his kicks by beating up those who’re weaker than him and humiliating anyone who gets in his way. As each defeat and embarrassment of a foe only boosts his strength. Unfortunately at the same time Jenny tries a nerve ending application and experiences pain for the first time! This is Bruce at his hammiest, playing a jock villain to super villainous proportions.
AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE COLON MOVIE FILM FOR THEATERS
It’s not often cartoons make the jump from TV to animated features, but leave it to the weirdest classic from Adult Swim to take the plunge! To describe the surrealistic film of bizarre anthropomorphized food and jerkass aliens would take too long and get too weird. Speaking of, Bruce Campbell plays a character tied to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s origins! Frylock flashes back to how he, Meatwad, and Master Shake were created by the insane scientist, Dr. Weird. Along with Chicken Bittle, the never before seen 4th member of the ATHF. A human sized chicken nugget voiced by Bruce with an incredibly positive attitude. Their mission: drive an airplane into a brick wall. While Chicken Bittle is enthusiastic to complete his creator’s purpose, Frylock diverts the plane from Chicken Bittle at the last second, realizing crashing into a wall would hurt. A lot. Unfortunately, this leads to Bittle’s end anyway when he’s devoured by a lion while parachuting. Go figure.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
The children’s book classic got an animated theatrical update from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, revolving around Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, an inventor that creates a food generating machine called the FLDSMDFR which turns the small island of Swallow Falls into the foodie paradise of Chewandswallow. Bruce playing the diminutive yet egotistical Mayor Shelbourne, who sees a goldmine of opportunity from the machine- and for his endless appetite. Pushing Flint to keep producing more and more mutant foods to feed the tourist economy… and his own appetite, causing the Mayor to get huge!
In the hit sequel to the hit franchise from Pixar, the story went from high-speed races to high-speed chases… of espionage! Bruce playing Rod “Torque” Redline, a heroic American secret agent trying to stop a sinister global plot. Some more references are made to Bruce with this role, both to his recurring role on the spy series BURN NOTICE, and to his origins in Michigan. The character being a Detroit muscle car, and his plates even being listed form Michigan!