With Transformers: Age of Extinction turning the Transformers movies into a Quadrilogy, TMNT later this summer, probably another GI Joe movie and Jem and Troll movies coming soon, the 80’s and 90’s cartoons of our youth are still prime targets for movie adaptations, especially some of the more obscure, more bizarre series. Here are 10, in no particular order, that should get a chance at the big screen.
10. Bucky O’Hare
Combining TMNT’s animal heroes with the epic galactic conflict of Star Wars, Bucky O’Hare premiered in 1991 and followed rabbit hero Bucky and his crew, who piloted the Righteous Indignation against the evil Toad Empire. The characters were actually co-created in the 70’s by comic legend Larry Hama, who wrote the GI Joe Marvel comics of the 80’s. If Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge hit this August, Bucky’s space adventures are the perfect weird, action packed follow up.
9. King Arthur and the Knights of Justice
Game of Thrones is the biggest show on television and all things fantasy are in high demand, so why not bring back the rad adventures of Arthur King and his football team turned super powered knights? The story of the show finds King Arthur and his knights captured and locked in a crystal cave by the evil Queen Morgana. Merlin looks to the future and pulls back the New York Knights football team and gives them armor that each has a special power, whether with it’s weapon or it’s shield. It’s basically Friday Night Lights meets Avengers meets Game of Thrones, and it also has one of the greatest theme songs of all time.
8. Defenders of the Earth
This one seems like it could be the most likely because two of the Defenders already have had movies. Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom become the Defenders of the Earth, along with Mandrake’s body man Lothar and four teen sidekicks, who defend the planet against Ming the Merciless and other threats. I’m sure someone in Hollywood is thinking about a Flash Gordon reboot but why not capitalize on the success of the Avengers and throw in two other classic comic heroes for a big summer blockbuster team up?
7. Beast Wars
Paramount is probably going to run the Transformers franchise into the ground if Age of Extinction blows up the box office but they should take a break and give the prehistoric prequel a chance at the big screen. Optimus Primal leads the Maximals against the evil Megatron and his Predacons after both groups crash land on prehistoric Earth following a massive space battle into a time warp. There are tons of great, complex characters you could feature, like Dinobot, big events that could carry entire movies and hell, why not do what Marvel is doing and work it into the Michael Bay Transformers universe, since in Beast Wars, they stumble across the Ark and Prime and co. Plus, since it’s prehistoric Earth, it would be super hard to get annoying human characters into the mix, unless Mark Wahlberg wants to dress and act like a caveman.
It’s kind of bizarre that Disney had to purchase Marvel and Star Wars to get more “boy” properties when they’ve been letting one of their coolest properties languish. The incredible rich world of the Gargoyles would make an incredible movie, especially now that CG is caught up to create realistic CG versions of Goliath and Co. I think most of us would prefer the original voice cast return but if nothing else, Keith David would have to come back as Goliath. The first arc of the show is already a movie, so just film that and you get some Game of Thrones style magical fantasy battles that fast forward to NYC action with a smarmy David Xanatos and his various plans.
Imagine if the Fast & Furious crew had cars that could turn into planes, boats and other vehicles and weapons? That’s how a MASK or Mobile Armored Strike Kommand movie should play out. Matt Trakker leads the MASK team against VENOM, both teams possessing special masks that give them enhanced senses or weapons and also vehicles with dual functions. The closest we’ve ever gotten to a MASK movie is probably Megaforce, which is awesome in it’s cheesiness but MASK deserves a massive, action packed blockbuster.
4. Mighty Max
Imagine that movie Jumper but with an anthropomorphic chicken and an immortal viking warrior helping our hero instead of an annoyingly grim Jamie Bell. After coming into possession of an ancient baseball cap (don’t question it), teenager Max meets Virgil and Norman and together, they jump across the Earth, battling the evil forces of the Skullmaster. The show featured lots of mythological creatures, cryptids and mutants that were all wrecking havoc that usually had to be stopped by Norman killing it in brutal fashion.
If Jurassic World rekindles the world’s obsession with dinosaurs, I nominate Dinosaucers to be the first of the many 80’s/90’s cartoons dealing with anthropomorphic dinosaurs to hit theaters. Arriving on Earth are the noble Dinosaucers and the evil Tyrannos, who wish to conquer the galaxy. The Dinosaucers befriend a group of kids who become the Secret Scouts and are basically like the Planeteers but with dinosaurs. The Dinosaucers are evolved dinosaurs but they can “dinovolve” back to their ancient, powerful selves while retaining their intelligence. Fun fact: it was co-created by Batman producer Michael Uslan. The show has a bunch of fun characters and some especially hilarious, completely inept, villains but it could potentially be a crazy action spectacular, especially if there were some dinovolved dino vs dino battles.
We have Pacific Rim, we have Godzilla, we have Transformers, where in the hell is a Voltron movie? Someone just pay Guillermo Del Toro whatever he needs to get the Lion Force team on the big screen. Can you imagine a Voltron with battles as massive and awesome as the Hong Kong battle from Pacific Rim, but also in space?
I don’t know if anyone saw the recent reboot on Cartoon Network but if you did, you know it was an incredibly well written, complex re-imagining of the classic 80’s cartoon and would have been the perfect basis for a movie, if it hadn’t been marketed horribly and it’s success was tied to toy sales, so it was cancelled. TMNT will probably be the litmus test for if any other animal teams get fast tracked into movies but Thundercats is such an iconic franchise, it has to get turned into a movie eventually, but please, make it set on a weird planet and not have the Thundercats arrive on modern day Earth where they befriend Selena Gomez or something.
Honorable Mentions (thanks everyone who commented on Facebook:
Biker Mice from Mars
Pirates of Dark Water