Director Jon Chu got to talking recently on the matter of dropping out of his proposed He-Man and the Masters of the Universelive-action adaption and what he expects out of G.I. Joe 3. You don’t have to like Mr. Chu’s movies (I know I don’t), but the dude sure has a penchant for talking passionately. It’s too bad he doesn’t have the same passion for creativity and talent. Ouch, was that harsh? No, harsh was sitting through 2 hours of G.I. Joe Retaliation.
Every day the internet produces an astounding amount of goodies and gems. Most hilarious, some amusing, but all worth at least a few seconds of your time. We here at Nerd Bastards try to bring you the best bits of news and nerdery the webz has to offer, with a bit of snark thrown in. But sometimes not everything makes the cut. Monday through Friday we’ll be bringing you our inbox leftovers, our forgotten bookmarks, the nerdy bits that simply slipped through the cracks. You can submit items to Nerdy Bits by emailing us at email@example.com.
There was a time when what could arguably be dismissed as “kids’ stuff” (comics, cartoons, toys, video games) had little or no chance at being adapted into successful, never mind respectable movies. Hell, to make Superman – the most famous and universally recognized comic book character on Earth – into a film people took seriously, they had to put Marlon Brando in the cast and get the author of The Godfather to write the script.
Things have changed: Nowadays studios drool over the chance at getting their mitts on nerdy properties. The children who grew up with cartoons, action figures, and comic books are now the adults buying movie tickets and DVDs/Blu-Rays. Marvel is close to becoming better known as a film studio than a comics publisher, video game flicks are no longer a running joke in the movie business, and cartoons designed to sell children overpriced hunks of plastic are now fodder for summer blockbusters.
Now, however much we as nerds want to see Michael Bay die in a fire for what he did to our sacred Transformers (or what he’s currently doing to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), it’s impossible to argue that the man made serious bank for Paramount. Sure, Bay might bathe in the tears of geeks, but the financial success he’s had is opening doors for live action adaptations of many of the programs we grew up with (some of which probably won’t completely suck). GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra may have been underwhelming, but its long-awaited sequel is proving to be a smash hit with audiences, critics, and nerds alike. A Robotech adaptation is reportedly in the works, and there’s been a great deal of talk about a Masters Of The Universe live action film that might actually take the subject matter seriously.
But what about the shows from our childhoods that are not quite as well-remembered? Shows that were largely forgotten by all but hardcore ’80s nerds? Could any of them possibly be resurrected as serious, profitable, well-received live action films? Well, here are ten we think might have a shot:
The mid-late 1980s series Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is best remembered for its rather disappointing interactive toy tie-ins, but those who bothered to watch it recall its surprising depth and the intricacy of its story-lines (particularly for a half-hour children’s show), largely due to the work of future Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski.
The aforementioned toys–made by Mattel, who also financed the series–weren’t exactly the incredible innovation they were built up to be: The toy spaceships could “shoot” enemy targets on the screen–but kids who were expecting an emotionally satisfying explosion instead got an electronic tone that designated a “hit” or “miss”. Enemies could also shoot back, with hits resulting in the somewhat more dramatic payoff of your ship’s cockpit bursting open and the action figure inside falling out (yes, I had one).
The show only lasted a single season, however, Captain Power has developed something of a cult following. The popularity of Babylon 5 no doubt lead many to seek out the all but forgotten show, and a few years ago it got its own remastered DVD set featuring six hours of extras.
Here’s what show creator Gary Goddard had to say to io9 about the original Captain Power:
Captain Power was my attempt to merge sci-fi and superheroes, two of my great loves. And beyond that, I wanted to create a show that would be groundbreaking. First, a story that would start in the ashes of defeat (for the human race) and show how a small group of warriors, with power suits that would level the playing field with the opposing forces, could change the course of the war. The idea that they would fight to preserve life against all odds was at the heart of the story. And then, the idea of a live action show with CGI created bionic “monsters” that the armored team would fight against – this was a radical idea at the time. CGI capabilities were not at the level to create “realistic” robotic creatures that could be composited into live action sequences. And on a weekly series! Live action heroes battling larger than life bionic “thinking” machines – in a weekly series – was considered impossible.
And then, when we went to Mattel, they pulled out the interactive toy technology and said “can you work this into the show?” And I said, I thought we could find a way, but that it could not be a situation where the shows “featured” this technology. Rather the shows would work whether or not you – as an audience member – knew there was any interactivity. But here we were on a very aggressive schedule producing a series that was going to merge live action production with the CGI biodreads, a challenge in an of itself, and then we added this other layer of interactive technology for the Mattel toys. But that show was definitely ahead of its time.
Now Goddard’s production company is pitching a reboot of Captain Power called Phoenix Rising, with a pilot script written by Trek scribes Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Phoenix Rising will be an hour long show, and will accentuate the darker, more mature aspects of the old show, making it more of an adult sci-fi drama than the 30 minute toy commercial its predecessor went down in TV history as.
Captain Power star Tim Dunigan will return as the father of his old character: Show protagonist Johnathan Power, in the form of a holographic mentor.
The pilot has yet to be picked up, but reportedly it’s being shopped around to markets outside the United States, one of which, it seems, is very interested.
We’ll definitely be watching this story very closely, and bring you updates as they become available.
Of all the various subjects we like to think we know something about on this site, one I believe we can speak with clear authority about is “Bastards”. I mean, come on–the word itself is in our name! And there’s nowhere that one can find more obvious, clearly defined, and truly repugnant Bastards than in the films of the 1980s.
Movies of this era, for the most part, had a moral clarity to them you simply can’t find anymore: Within about five minutes of viewing you’ll know, without any reservation, who the good guys and bad guys are. Back then, Heroes were Heroes–and Villains were Villains, and there was rarely, if any, ambiguity about who was which.
And if you’ve seen as many ’80s flicks as I have–and have nothing resembling a career or social life to get in the way of such vital research–it won’t be long before you notice certain patterns regarding cinematic “Bastardy” (I hope that’s a word). The zeitgeist of the time period was utterly blatant about setting up certain kinds of people as inherently, irredeemably despicable–and once you catch on to this, you can spot the villains (or at least assholes) in such films unerringly and almost instantly.
Therefore, I have, as a handy reference for the aficionado of ’80s cinema, prepared a list of ten different varieties of characters who seem almost (if not entirely) incapable of decency, kindness, good will, or charity. These individuals are doomed to an existence as soulless blackguards who deserve nothing but scorn and derision–simply because of their careers, social standing, appearance, or familial roles.
(NOTE: Just so we’re on the same page, in no way should this list be taken to suggest that these individuals are morally repugnant outside of the fictional world of cinema–and the societal mores of the 1980s….thank you)
When news broke that Sony was looking to do a big screen reboot of Manimal – NBC’s 1983 show about a guy who fights crime by turning into animals – I too probably flipped a table at how creatively bankrupt Hollywood is these days. The show was a flop (only lasted like 8 episodes) and is legendarily panned as one of the stupidest ideas a coked out 80s studio exec could conjure up. Why is Manimal getting sent to the big screen when there are so many other great shows borne out of the minds of skinny tie wearing, nose candy loving, execs.
Go get your Duran Duran casstte tape and go pop some fresh batteries into the Walkman, because after the jump we’re going over (our by no means definitive) list of six TV shows that would make better movies than Manimal. (more…)
Somewhere between Battlestar Galactica and One West Waikiki, prolific TV producer Glen A. Larson co-created a series called Manimal, and because everything old is exploitable, we will soon be enjoying a Manimal movie on big screens everywhere.
It was the fall of 1983, Reagan was President of a crime plagued America and only one man could cut through the bureaucratic red tape was a man, who could become an animal… A Manimal! The series followed Dr. Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale), a good looking rich bastard who could shape shift into an animal, usually a hawk or a panther, and used it to fight crime alongside a pair of police officers.
In case that explanation went over your head, here’s the oh, so 80s opening sequence that preceded every episode of Manimal.
Hard to believe NBC scheduled this beauty up against Dallas Friday nights, huh?
Well, apparently Larson is going to double down on Manimal as The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that he’s taking a position as producer on a big budget, big screen Hollywood remake of Manimal. Sadly, MacCorkindale died in 2010 so he won’t be able to be a part of the project, but let the casting process begin! Who might be able to fill the shoes, and paws and claws of Dr. Jonathan Chase? My money’s on Christian Bale because, well, that would be awesome.
Obviously, we’ll keep you posted with news as it develops.
Let’s face it, in the 80s the action movie was king. Arnold Schwarzenegger was eviscerating Australians in tool sheds, Bruce Willis was ‘yippie-kai-yay’ing his way through ventilation ducts, and Sylvester Stallone was helping keep Afghanistan free for Afghans. Well, the 80’s are over two decades ago, and times have changed.
While promoting his upcoming The Tomb with ET, Stallone had a few words about what happened to the venerable action movie and who is to blame for it’s apparent demise. Hit the jump (or read the title…) to find out who’s fault it is.
For those of you who slept through the late 80s (or happened to be unborn at the time), ALF was a major player in the television circuit. He was a wise-cracking, cat eating puppet that lived with a family in typical sitcom style, making their lives difficult while entertaining a marginally-conscious television viewing audience.
This obnoxious little alien spent 5 years on the air in both live-action and cartoon format, his face and form gracing everything from t-shirts to lunchboxes. Later, he would pop up randomly all over the place, making guest appearances on other people’s shows. But eventually the gimmicky steam would run out, despite how many times creator Paul Fusco tried to recycle it.
It’s been over 20 years since the original show left the television and Fusco has been attempting to re-sell the character for years. Now it looks like he’s giving it one more try, though this time setting his sights on the big screen.
With the current trend in reboots, it’s likely that Fusco may finally have some success in the matter. Production companies will recycle pretty much anything nowadays, and ALF could be a ripe property to draw in both fans of old and wide-eyed children of the present (not to mention furries world-wide).
The question is, was ALF all gimmick and no substance? And does that even matter when you’re looking to make a reboot?
What about you kids out there? You remember the ALF from way back? Is it worth giving the character another go?
Thundercats, Thundercats, Thundercats… no. Despite generally positive reviews and moderate ratings success, Cartoon Network released it’s coming lineup in advance of it’s upfront presentation sans Lion-O and the other Thundercats. In addition to that, according to Topless Robot, Bandai had no new products to show from their Thundercats toy line at Toy Fair, another sign that the show may have used up the last of it’s 9 lives.
What’s replacing the Third Earth felines? Among other things, a new live-action half-hour long sketch show with Nick Cannon. I don’t know about you, but I just did a sort of dry heave, full body shiver after reading that.
We’ve made an attempt to reach out to Cartoon Network in an effort to get confirmation of the Thundercats‘ demise, but Space Ghost seemed to be in a withholding mood when I spoke with him earlier, still, check back for updates and also to give us repeat hits… *maniacal laugh* *maniacal laugh*
Update: Apparently I spent too much time honing my maniacal laugh skills, and not enough time checking Cartoon Network’s Saturday Morning lineup. Thundercats LIVES! Every Saturday at 9:30 AM on Cartoon Network. The second season began on March 24th, this according to the network.
I screwed up, flat and simple. Many, many sites ran with this story and in the ghetto of internet journalism, that is usually enough. I and many, many others followed the smoke, not the fire. I apologize.