With an adaptation of Transformers set to be this summer’s biggest blockbuster, KING-MAG.com takes a look at other perennial 80s series that could and could not work on the big screen.
Story By Rich B. Knight
May 31st, 2007
Michael Bay, director of such loud movies as The Rock and Pearl Harbor, is a studio gangsta, which isn’t a bad thing to be in Hollywood. That gangsta mentality is a big reason why he is about to debut his ambitious project to date – a live action movie on the beloved Transformers series. Not since Spider-Man has an adaptation arrived with as much skepticism, and when you’re trying to sell what is essentially a kiddie franchise for grown-up 80’s babies, you’re going to need some bigger guns than the type robots carry.
Fortunately Transformers, which comes out on the fourth of July, is an exception to what kind of 80s cartoon should be revived for the big screen, as many others would be best left in the past. KING-MAG.com takes an introspective look at what 80s cartoons are fair game for the silver screen treatment, and what movies should stay in the decade of crack and Ronald Reagan.
BRING IT BACK
ThunderCats - (1985-1987) If done properly, and not with people in make-up and cat suits like the Broadway musical, Cats, Lion-O and the gang would make great popcorn companions at your local theater. Fighting a raging battle on Third Earth, the ThunderCats could even be an allegory for modern day Iraq if they wanted to take it there. And a remix of the theme song done by Kanye West and Common would be the icing on the cake. Seriously, why AREN’T they making a movie for this already?
G.I. Joe - (1985-1986)Technically, G.I. Joe is not really an 80s thing since the series has been around since the 1940s, but most people remember the cartoon best, and if a movie were made, the studio should stick to this concept: Cobra Commander, played by a masked Terrance Howard, could be in a quest to take over the world, and Hawk, Duke, and the posse of Real American Heroes could fight the good fight in an epic three part series. And if Sergeant Slaughter isn’t doing anything, throw him in there, too. Come to think of it: What is Sgt. Slaughter doing nowadays anyway?
Voltron - (1984-1985)We got so used to hearing the Wu-tang Clan say “arm, leg, leg, arm, head,” so many times it began to be associated with them. A 2010 update of the original flying lion robots in space would go quite nicely as a bookend to the 80s cartoon revival that’s sure to happen if Transformers does well in July. Gotta love those lions.
The Smurfs - (1981-1990)There is actually an animated movie of the little blue weenies slated to come out in 2008, but anybody who can remember the show knows full well that the Smurfs’ reign of terror is best left in the 80’s. From that infectiously God awful song they sing (La, la, la la la la), to their disturbing no-shirts-ever policy, there’s no need to rekindle any long lost memories fans may have had of Papa Smurf and the gang. There’s even word of a trilogy in the works, and, if that’s so, God help us.
Alvin and the Chipmunks -(1983-1991)Alviiiiin! You know if there was a movie made of the three, ball squeezing voiced chipmunks, it would have a trailer that would begin just like that, with Dustin Hoffman probably playing their manager, Dave Seville. And if hearing countless good songs given the Kanye West treatment wasn’t enough, just imagine how annoying it would be to stare at those pudgy little bastards for an over an hour and a half. But to their credit, Alvin and his two brothers, Simon and Theodore, are definitely the original wearers of the long T. Just look at those shirts. They go all the way down to their feet!
Care Bears - (1985-1990) The Care Bears have a look so sugary a person can get develop diabetes just from looking. Imagine taking your little brother, sister, son, or daughter to see these things skipping around a ‘hood called, Care-A-Lot. Even worse, imagine the influence the Care Bear stare would have on young girls everywhere? Do you really want young girls running around sticking their chests out so early in life? If so, then you’re either 10-years-old or just sick.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - (1983-1985)As much as you’re thinking this adaptation could actually be good, you’re wrong. Very wrong. Having a greased up man in his underwear on the screen swinging a giant broad sword and riding a battle cat might have been cool in the 80s (see: Arnold in Conan the Barbarian), but people, remember Brokeback Mountain? Please, let’s keep the mixed message movies with man riding to once every 20 years.