Tooncrap #11 - Rubix The Amazing Cube
Ruby Spears: 1983
Written by: Raymond Gallant
A while back I reviewed Legend of the Hawaiian
Slammers. And since that review I've often wondered if there was a way
to come up with an even stupider idea for a glorified toy commercial.
And lo, the great gods of the animated awfulness opened their butt
cheeks, and from out the mighty sphincter shat out something that could
be even worse. And that is Rubik the Amazing Cube.
Everybody should know what the Rubik's cube is. The puzzle creation of
Ernő Rubik, you would have to try and get all the sides of the cube to
have matching colors. It was a fun toy... for about 5 minutes and then
you'd just say "screw it" and break it apart, putting the pieces
together. But when you look at this, is the first thing that pops in
your head "man I wish there was a cartoon of this"?
Because if you were the schmuck who did, you got your wish in 1983 when
Ruby-Spears brought upon the world Rubik the Amazing Cube. And if there
was ever a clearer example that 80's animation boiled down to nothing
more than being glorified toy commercials, then this is the finest
So, is it as bad as it looks? Let's solve this puzzle and review this
Let's start with the theme song. The footage shown gives us the general
nature of the plot. A Rubik's cube falls out of a magician's stagecoach,
and just happens to find itself in the hands of three Hispanic children,
who easily solve the puzzle, and...
Give us this high pitched abomination, voiced by Friggin' Horshack
himself, Mr. Ron Palillo. Although considering the voice is pitched
higher, you'd probably never guess it. So, whenever the puzzle is solved
correctly, you get this slow talking goober who can has magic powers,
and a droning voice that is trying to sound cute, but is annoying, much
like 90% of these 80's toy mascot characters.
Isn't that right Glomer?
Also the theme itself is okay. And it's sung by Menudo of all bands.
Though don't get too excited. It's pre-Ricky Martin Menudo. The
instrumental is really the only thing that's good about the theme song,
as it gives that nice synthesized 80's vibe that is not just fitting of
the show it's representing, but also makes you very nostalgic for that
time period. Menudo however just sound droning and a little monotone.
But then again they're singing the praises of a frigging block.
Also, something about kids and a mysterious alien creature, befriending
it, and trying to keep it from the hands of evil. There's something
familiar about this concept, but I can't put my elongated glowing finger
Since it's next to impossible to find the pilot episode, we'll look
instead at the episode "Rubik and the Mysterious Man".
We open the episode with our protagonists, middle child Carlos, older
brother Reynaldo, and little sister Lisa, enjoying breakfast along with
the titular block of squeaky voiced annoyance. Carlos is complaining
that neither of his siblings will help with the chores, as they quickly
split the scene. So, since Rubik has the power to manipulate objects and
make them work on their own, Carlos uses him for help.
It goes about as well as you'd expect.
Carlos' mother comes in, and is flabbergasted by the disaster area, and
annoyed that Carlos is more focused on playing with the Rubik's Cube
instead. So, she takes Rubik, as Carlos whines some more about how
nobody cares about him, so he's going to run away. Sure Carlos, running
away is a fine idea...
Then some cold loving jackass turns you into a frog thing.
Carlos takes Rubik back later in the night, and uses him to float away.
Not before leaving a goodbye note, and talking loud enough to wake up
Reynaldo. But despite the pleas of Reynaldo not to leave, Carlos and
Rubik snatch a bike and
Oh come on, now that is just blatant!
Also, why was this even needed? We've already established that Rubik has
the power to levitate and move people, so Carlos and Rubik could have
flied off on their own. If the very idea of this plot didn't already
give off E.T parallels, this would feel like a harder slap in the face.
Rubik and Carlos land in a train yard, while Reynaldo and Lisa give
chase. The plan is to ride the rails as far away as possible. Though if
Rubik can just fly you wherever the hell you want, why is this even
necessary. Again, seemingly unlimited power source here. Even if he ran
out of gas for a while, it would likely be far enough away that you'd be
far away from home.
But this was done to introduce the episode's villains, a mysterious
carnival owner (who we never get the name of), and his hunchback lackey
named Gogo. Apparently Rubik's been around the "block" (get it? Because
he's a block and all.) with plenty of evil people as the mysterious man
used to have Rubik in his possession. Rubik is reunited with the
mysterious man, and is none to happy. Before Rubik can be taken away
again, Carlos comes in with the save.
"Damn, foiled by my poor decision to cosplay as the Mad Hatter!"
Rubik and Carlos escape, as Rubik promises to tell Carlos later about
the mysterious man.
Spoiler: he doesn't.
They eventually run into Reynaldo and Lisa, who try to convince Carlos
that maybe running away isn't a good idea. You know, what with the evil
people and all. Carlos is still bitching, so he has Rubik send his
siblings on top of a water tower. As Lisa's feminine instincts predict
this is not good (really, you needed feminine instincts to figure that
one?) Carlos hops into a boxcar that is currently occupied by a hobo.
Sure riding in a boxcar with a hobo sounds glamorous and all...
But after the 70th rendition of "Jimmy Crack Corn" you just want to
Jimmy Crack his skull open.
After Reynaldo and Lisa stow away as well, it seems like all is well,
until what a shock! The hobo was the mysterious man in disguise. Rubik
manages to nail his jacket to a wall as the kids escape. Well,
technically Carlos escapes while the other two for some inexplicable
reason decide to stay for a minute or two. The mysterious man tries to
go after Rubik, but the annoyingly cute Lisa says he'll have to go
through her first.
Your feminine instincts didn't predict that one, huh?
Carlos and Rubik get cornered on the train (because, you know, staying
on the train was a wise idea. Could have gotten far away, but nope.),
and a gust of wind knocks Rubik out of Carlos' hands, causing him to
somehow be unsolved again. The Man gets Rubik, and escapes, and just
leaves Carlos to still live, instead of, you know, killing him. But
Reynaldo and Lisa save him, while they wait for the train to stop. They
hitch a ride on the carnival van as they listen in on how Rubik and the
mysterious man met. Which is of course a perfect time to cut away before
we can get any back story at all. Great decision making.
The kids make it to the carnival, and Lisa's big plan is to rush the
mysterious man and Gogo. But Reynaldo decides the wisest decision is to
go in disguised. As the mysterious man solves the cube, awakening Rubik,
the kids rush into the mysterious man's office pretending to be a very
tall man. And then, for no logical reason, this happens.
Because nothing says cartoon about a Rubik's cube like pedophillic
But before Gogo can whip out his hunchcock of Notre Dame, the kids get
the jump on the villains, and get Rubik back. They get chased around the
carnival for a bit. Even winding up in a haunted house (though sadly,
it's not Moolah's haunted cave). But every time the mysterious man and
Gogo try to get the jump on the kids, they manage to evade their grasp.
Rubik eventually decides it's time to fight back.
First by turning into a giant version of himself, which scares the
mysterious man. I guess a giant version of this squeaky voiced burden
can be quite the fright. The kids dunk the mysterious man in water, and
tie balloons to Gogo, causing him to fly off. The duo try to escape, and
Rubik eventually gets them dizzy on a roller coaster until they promise
to leave him and the kids alone.
Carlos suggests calling the cops, and all of a frigging sudden a cop
arrives. There wasn't even a cut to them calling the cop, he just
arrived. Unless this was something Rubik did in the middle of messing
with the villains, but we didn't see that either. Oh, and the villains
escape. That can happen when you, oh I don't know, NOT KEEP THEM FROZEN
But who needs that when we can have Rubik bring a merry go round horse
to life, and give it wings to fly the kids home?
Boy, a lot of horses getting wings lately.
The episode ends with the parents shocked to see the kids actually doing
chores (you know, that's more shocking than the piece of carnival
equipment on the frigging front lawn!), Carlos gets Rubik back from his
mother to continue their elaborate ruse, and that's really pretty much
Rubik the Amazing Cube is a stupid cartoon, but I've seen worse. I do
like that they went with an all-Hispanic cast of protagonists, which is
something even to this day you rarely see unless they really stereotype
it up. Hell, Hawaiian Slammers couldn't even bother to make the main
character Hawaiian. But everything else is pretty stupid. Rubik has an
annoying voice, his powers seem to be poorly used, considering the kids
seem to just not get how to use him correctly (though light breezes seem
to screw him up). And we seem to get little explanation as to what he
is, and the history of him with the bad guys.
And in the end, it's just a thinly veiled E.T knockoff that's tied in
with a toy that never needed a cartoon to advertise its existence. And
even if it did, this was not the best avenue to do so. This puzzle's
solved, and the solution is that Rubik the Amazing Cube, amazingly, is