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Stop Adapting Pop Culture Icons From My Childhood Into Movies.

It’s enough to make you want to gag yourself with a wadded-up ball of Paris Hilton’s dirty prison garb.

First, Transformers got the Hollywood treatment. Even with Michael “Boom Boom” Bay attached, this could still be a good thing.

Then, Hasbro and Paramount Pictures announced a deal to turn G.I. Joe into a live-action flick. The brain-damaged writer of Swordfish, Skip Woods, has penned a first draft that includes a lead antagonist named “Cool Dude”.

Cool Dude.

Sigh. Sounds promising so far!

Today, studio Warner announced that it has optioned a Thundercats script by Paul Sopocy (who??).

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Oh, look. Production on Thundercats has started already. In this dude’s living room. Yeah, that seems about right.

Live-action-movie versions of He-Man, Voltron, and Street Fighter are in the pipes. If Transformers does well, Robotech: The Movie won’t be far behind.

“But, but, but,” you say. “Great White Snark! This all sounds like a fanboy’s dream! Iconic entertainment properties from your childhood are getting the cinematic treatments that they deserve! Why aren’t you happy? Your apparent discontent makes me feel itchy in places that don’t see much sunlight!”

Perhaps at first glance these bits of news seem hopeful. But Hollywood is clearly buying rights to all the whimsical children’s properties it can get its hands on, attaching near-talentless or -clueless hacks to produce movie adaptations, and then throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Since the library of comic book characters has almost been exhausted, studio execs are turning to cartoons, video games, and board games. They’re even revisiting properties that have already been made into movies in the past, like He-Man and Street Fighter. (Yeah, ’cause those were s-o-o-o-o good the first time around. I’ll give a blind pig an acorn if they let Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren switch roles this time around.) I have serious doubts that these brands will get the careful consideration and talented teams that went into shining examples like Batman Begins.

Did I mention that William Morris Agency is “contemporizing” Hasbro brands like Monopoly, Candy Land, and Clue for possible film adaptations? Sigh, again.

What? What’s that you say? There’s already a Clue movie, starring Christopher Lloyd and Martin Mull? Sorry, perhaps you haven’t been listening. That doesn’t matter.

This rampant activity among the studios has led to the obvious speculation… what’s next? Jem? The Smurfs?

Just go ahead and sign me up for French citizenship, ’cause I don’t want to stick around for the next debacle. This is the not stuff that ideal cinematic experiences are made of.

Ok, so I’ve delivered a (notably sarcastic) rant on news that’s generally well-reported in geek circles. But this blog is about the stuff that falls through the cracks. So, where’s the beef?

Please bring your attention to The Asylum Studios. As far as I’m concerned, they should be the only ones allowed to produce “reimaginings” of existing entertainment properties.

Why? Because their productions are so farcical that there is no danger of tarnishing the brands of the adapted subjects. Case in point: Their latest release, Transmorphers. (Care to guess what obviously-unlicensed property it’s based on?)

Transmorphers. More than meets the, um… I.

When I said “farcical,” were you thinking along the lines of The Naked Gun or Hot Shots? Wrong! What’s so hilarious and delightful about Asylum’s movies is that they’re clearly produced with no sense of self-awareness or irony, even though they’re blatant, cheap rip-offs! They’re rocking the same kind of awesome as Indian Superman or Indian Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Be on the lookout for Asylum’s next release, 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I can’t make this stuff up, people! But thank the Lord of cherry lollipops that someone can!

3 comments… add one
  • Shithead June 7, 2007, 1:59 pm

    A little off topic, but these reminded me of some of my favorite toys ever: M.A.S.K. They were like regular vehicles that transformed into fighting vehicles. I even remember having a transforming gas station.

    Ok, so they sound stupid now. But they weren’t. Jerks.

  • Great White Snark June 7, 2007, 2:08 pm

    Good call! In all of the news and speculation, I haven’t seen M.A.S.K. mentioned, once. It’s just a matter of time…

    Loved those M.A.S.K. guys. Totally regular dudes in jeans and shirts, until you stuck a giant, almost-magical mask/helmets on them.

    A friend of mine in 6th grade had the gas station. Many-a-time, I considered stealing it, piece by piece.


  • nickolai June 7, 2007, 3:20 pm

    Probably the coolest thing about M.a.s.k. was that it had bad-ass transforming vehicles, but all of them were scaled correctly relative to one another (since you had to be able to fit the tiny 3-inch figures in them).

    …unlike the makers of Transformers, who didn’t know the word “scale.”

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