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Western Animation / Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects

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Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects is the second TV movie made for the Jonny Quest series, following hot on the heels of the earlier Jonny's Golden Quest. It aired on on TNT in 1995, one year prior to the release of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, making it the final program using the classic 1960s character designs of the original series until 2015's Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest, which saw the Quests team up with Tom and Jerry.

The basic plot has Jonny's father Dr. Benton Quest called in by a nebulous group called Intelligence 1 to investigate strange weather phenomenon that is affecting the entire planet. It turns out that the Quests' old enemy Dr. Zin is behind it all, using a stealth satellite to control the Earth's weather. On top of this, Zin has a veritable army of genetically-engineered insect monsters, with which he plans to invade Earth after his weather machine is done softening it up.

Benton and his colleague Dr. Eve Belage end up as captives aboard Zin's asteroid fortress after Zin tractor-beams the entire space station into it, and Jonny, Hadji, Race and Jessie (Race's daughter, introduced in the previous film) must rescue them.

Tropes used in this film:

  • Admiring the Abomination: Zin spends an awful lot of time caressing the glass of the tank the first Assassinoid grows in, and seems to really find his insectoid creations in general to be things of beauty, particularly the Formicoids and Hymenoptoids, describing them in glowing terms as "fearless and devoted warriors" and "my loyal friends."
  • All Animals Are Dogs: When the Assassinoid finishes developing and busts free of its tank, the first thing Zin does is pet it ("There, there, now, doesn't that feel good?").
  • An Aesop: About working together as a team.
  • And Then What?: Zin avoids this at least partially by being something of a Visionary Villain. Upon conquering the Earth, he mentions he plans to revolutionize the world by removing humanity's dependence on fossil fuels using the vast quantities of ethanol he has developed and stored.
  • Asteroids Monster: Not only can the Assassinoids regenerate after being blown apart, but their blown off limbs can grow into more Assassinoids. The final piece has to be kept frozen to keep it from growing.
  • Bad Boss: Zin has a few human Mooks in addition to his bugs. He routinely kills them off for various petty reasons until he has none left.
  • Bald of Evil: Dr. Zin.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The titular cyber insects.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several, but especially the computer virus, the feed to Zin's freezing chamber and also the piece of frozen Assassinoid Mylana obtains. There's also the ethanol that Zin is producing as fuel, which he stores in the open air, leaving it very susceptible to an explosive that helps to destroy his whole station.
  • Compressed Hair: At one point, Hadji's turban blows off, revealing his hair is actually very long underneath it.
  • Computer Virus: 4-DAC gets infected with a Trojan horse program that brings him under Zin's control. It is later used against Zin's own computer.
  • Da Chief: Commander Harris.
  • Disney Death: Race. One exploding control panel and his heart stops. He then revives for no apparent reason, other than, y'know, he's Race freakin' Bannon.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: All the guns in the film are lasers. Oddly, though, the ones Race Bannon uses appear to be modeled on a Colt M1911 and a Steyr AUG.
  • For Science!: Why Belage says she cloned so many giant prehistoric assassin bugs, who, unlike the other animals she clones, don't seem to be good for anything except death and destruction. Even Zin points this out to her.
  • Fun with Acronyms: E.D.E.N. - Environmental Diversity Experimental Nucleus.
  • Genre Savvy: As the asteroid base is being destroyed, Zin runs off, yelling, "Oh, I hate when this happens!"
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Intelligence 1, which is apparently multinational and answerable to no one in particular. Commander Harris regularly meets with ambassadors from different sovereign nations and can issue orders of worldwide surrender.
  • Green Aesop: There's a little of this peppered into the story with the characters of Dr. Eve Belage and her assistant Mylana, who clone endangered and extinct species.
  • Hydra Problem: The Assassinoids. When shot or blown up, the bits of them regenerate into more and keep on coming. Only freezing or nuking them seems to work.
  • Human Popsicle: Dr. Zin punishes 427 for (ostensibly) failing him by freezing him until he falls over and smashes into bits offscreen.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: For genetically-engineered super-bugs, the cyber insects sure can't aim well. They can't even hit each other properly. The Red Shirt Quest Station scientists are better shots!
  • Jerkass: Jonny, surprisingly. He's actually quite mean here. He learns to be less confrontational as the movie progresses, though.
  • Kill It with Ice: Freezing the Assassinoids is the one way to stop them cold.
  • Literally Shattered Lives:
    • What happens to 427 after he gets frozen.
    • Also the fate of many a frozen Assassinoid.
  • Magical Native American: Chief Atacama.
  • Meaningful Name: Dr. Belage's first name is Eve, and her project to clone extinct wildlife is called E.D.E.N.
  • Mechanical Insects: The titular cyber-insects, who are mostly biomechanical, but still have machine-like features, sure as Arm Cannons.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Russian ambassador looks an awful lot like Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Zin's asteroid base is pretty much your standard supervillain death trap with high, suspended walkways without handrails suspended over hundred foot chasms. He does have handrails over his ethanol vats, but no lids on them.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There's not much that's "cyber" about the "cyber insects," except for maybe the Formicoids' arm-guns. And the Assassinoids are purely organic.
  • Nuke 'em: This is one of the only other ways to kill an Assassinoid. Since they're on the asteroid with said Assassinoids at the time, though, they don't do it.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The Quests escaping from the exploding asteroid base have to race down a tunnel while being "chased" by the explosion. And an Assassinoid.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: 426 talks Zin out of blowing up Quest Shuttle 2, not because she cares about the Quests, but because she points out that that firing their ion cannon will reveal their cloaked base to Intelligence 1.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
  • Remake Cameo: Jonny's original voice actor Tim Matheson does the voice of 4-DAC.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • Benton's old colleague Dr. Eve Belage is implied to have known him ever since childhood, but she wasn't mention in the previous film or the series.
    • Similarly, we have Commander Harris, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to the previous film's Commander Burns. Burns is never mentioned, and Harris is treated like he's been i1's commanding officer from the beginning.
    • And finally 4-DAC, who is basically just a more mobile version of 3-DAC without the Creepy Monotone voice. The family acts like he's been with them for years, and no mention is ever made of 3-DAC.
  • Rite of Passage: Jonny fails one at the beginning of the movie.
  • Robot Buddy: 4-DAC. He is actually pretty smart and capable (and has some fun lines), but a bit of a liability given how easily he can be reprogrammed.
  • Sequel Hook: Dr. Belage with the last Assassinoid fragment (shades of The Blob). And also Zin's escape ship drifting out in space.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: 4-DAC calls a lot of Zin's more inane villainous shenanigans out as being illogical and dangerous. While ostensibly under his control, no less. After too much of this, Zin becomes annoyed with him and switches him off.
    Zin: You know, Quest, your robot's most endearing feature is his off switch.
  • Space Base: The asteroid fortress.
  • Spock Speak: 4-DAC:
    4-DAC: [trying to capture two Platinoids] Elevate your appendages, immediately!
    4-DAC: [running away] Turbo-ambulators, don't fail me now!
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Jonny and Race kill most of the bug army by opening the door of the asteroid hangar, sucking them all into space.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The stealth satellite, which uses reflected light from the sun to melt the polar ice caps and sent Earth's climate haywire.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The other two Formicoids that were sent to Earth. There were three, and Race killed one, but we never saw the fate of the other two.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zig-zagged. The cyber insects don't tend to be seen as sympathetic and the heroes kill them left and right (although Zin seems to genuinely care about them at times), while 4-DAC, although he's a robot, is treated like a living, breathing member of the Quests' family and his possible demise(s) cause the characters much distress.
  • Yellow Peril: Dr. Zin, as usual.
  • You Are in Command Now: Whenever Zin kills whoever it was that was in charge of his human subordinates, he promotes the person with the next number into their place.
    Zin: [after killing 426] Congratulations, 427. You are now in charge.
  • You Are Number 6: Zin's Mooks all have numbers instead of names - 425, 426 and 427.
  • You Have Failed Me: Played with. Zin kills 425 and 427 for things that weren't their fault, apparently just to have somebody to punish.