By Justine Manzano
I just saw Transformers – it was awesome. Here I sit, like a giddy little school girl, chatting with my husband over all of the wonderful things they did right, and all of the things they had to adjust in the movie so it wasn’t too cheesy. Suddenly, I find myself thinking through all of those cartoons that I watched as a child – they were all so great. What a wealth of material!!!! You could easily make movie franchises out of all of my favorites. Check it out:
Jem: Does everybody remember this show? This series was about Jerrica Benton, the daughter of a music mogul, great philanthropist and loving father. When he died, he left his entire business to Jerrica: his music studio, the orphanage he paid to run, and a small abandoned warehouse. Side by side with her sister, Kimber, and her good friends Shana and Aja (ex-residents of the orphanage), she visits the warehouse, struggling to figure out how to raise enough funds to keep everything running. It is there that she discovers Synergy, a holographic hottie woman built to serve any of Jerrica’s needs and she’s also a holographic imager! Together they come up with a brilliant idea to save all of Mr. Benton’s businesses – they create Jem and the Holograms. Jem is composed of a holographic image projected over Jerrica to make her look like a rocker with pink hair, and The Holograms are holographic rock star images projected over the girls. The problem is, for some strange reason, while it seems to be okay that the rest of the girls look like themselves as they perform in their band, it isn’t alright for Jerrica, and she must hide her secret identity and appear as Jem even as her boyfriend, Rio, falls for both of them. They also must face the Misfits, a rival band that wants to take The Holograms out!
Now, how fun would THIS series be in live action? Screw live action – how fun would this movie be if it was for adults? We get Jerrica, a mixed up chick with both daddy issues and abandonment issues, who is in love with Rio, but doesn’t mind that he is in love with Jem, her alter ego, despite the fact that HE doesn’t know that they are the same girl. Jerrica’s way of dealing with this is finding someone else to date Jem, or creating another secret identity to flaunt so that she could determine whether or not Rio is in love with what is fundamental about her, or simply every girl he meets. In the meantime, they could face The Misfits. Now, anyone who remembers this show will note that The Misfits never have mild plans and wouldn’t last long by real world rules. When they tried to strand them on a desert island, they would land in the slammer. When they tried to sabotage the train The Holograms were riding on, they would land in the slammer. It would be fun! Actions would have consequences! Unfortunately the battle for the rock and roll charts doesn’t really have all that much intrigue…but does have much more drugs, which would have probably been how they would have seen Synergy in the first place – they were tripping!!! None of the above could have been possible if played to a child audience, but since Jem’s main fan base would be grownups anyway, why not make it a wacky science fiction movie for adults and let us have all the fun. If done as true to life as possible, I’m sure a Jem movie wouldn’t disappoint.
G.I. Joe: Now this, I know everyone has seen, but a quick refresher would probably do. This cartoon was about a group of army men and women who are united against one force, Cobra. Cobra, led by Cobra Commander contained some of the baddest men in the country, some of whom had odd abilities, and all of which, for whatever reason, seemed obsessed with snakes. Now, if G.I. Joe was a live action movie, it would be great…mixing great gritty war realism with kitschy character names like Serpentor and The Baroness would be great fun. And maybe in the live action war we’d actually find out what Cobra wanted in the first place…or they could keep the fighting completely senseless…then it would be like a real war!!!! Only instead of real war like arms and defense, the good guys would be capable of blowing up tanks, but not able to shoot any people, and people would be running through the war zone, as bullets flew around them, without ducking for cover because they wouldn’t have to – nobody has any ability to aim. It would be easy to assign the members of the force to their assigned positions…just from their names one can tell that Shipwreck belongs on a ship (or maybe not, considering), Airborne belongs on a plane as does Altitude, and Medic…well, you know. It would all be quite interesting…and campy…and ridiculous. But who could resist a movie like this?
She-Ra: Well, they already did a Masters of the Universe movie starring Dolph Lundgren, and that sucked beyond the telling of it. So, why not do an amazingly bad version of She-Ra? Let’s see…how could we make a cheesier selection for the lead than Lundgren? We could put Brigitte Nielsen in the title role! That would be WAY worse than Dolph! What else? We could cast an assortment of popular stars in all of the cheesily named characters like Cast-A-Spella and Catra. To top things off, this series would be diverse, as it would contain a major gay character – Bow! That’s right, I know he was supposed to be She-Ra’s love interest in the series, but now that we’re all grown ups, you’ve got to know he was gay. He had almost orange, reddish hair, his clothing was very Robin Hood, but had a big heart emblazoned in the middle, an owl with PURPLE wings chilled on his shoulder, and he had a Freddie Mercury mustache! It just doesn’t get much better than that…
Voltron: Voltron rocked! We could totally do that in live action! Oh, wait…that’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers…or at least, the movie industry would butcher it enough that it would vaguely resemble Power Rangers…Yeah, maybe NOT Voltron.
So, Transformers was great. But maybe that’s a fluke. X-Men and Spiderman were good for the first two movies too, and then they started to suck. Maybe when it comes to the classics, the movie industry would be better off avoiding them. Odds are still good that new versions will always pale in comparison to the original. Why? Because the old versions were what we watched as kids…and since the innocence is gone, they will never look the same to you again.