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Top 5 1980s Properties That Need Their Own Movie

Seriously, would they be any worse than G.I. Joe?

By Kurt Anthony Krug     March 03, 2011


Top 5 1980s Properties That Need Their Own Movie
© Warner Bros/Robert Trate

 Okay, He-Man (in what was really a thinly-disguised New Gods movie released in 1987), G.I. Joe, Transformers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this summer – God help us all – the Smurfs have gotten the live-action treatment, for better or for worse.

Here’s a wish list of 5 cartoon/toy properties from the 1980s that would probably hold their own if adapted for the big screen and done right. Plus, can you imagine the reinvigoration of its respective merchandise lines?

 

5) Inhumanoids: The Evil That Lies Within

A short-lived cartoon from Marvel/Sunbow and a toy line from Hasbro, the plot of Inhumanoids is pretty simple and straight-forward: giant monsters attack and a team of heroes called Earth Corps stands against them. For the 1980s, this cartoon was somewhat gory, given that the monsters had their limbs amputated (they grew back). Given the success – and the cool effects – of 2008’s Cloverfield, where a giant monster attacks New York City, this formula can be applied to Inhumanoids – especially if heavyweights like J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves are involved.

 

4) Galaxy Rangers

Extrapolating a Western into outer space is nothing new, and this cartoon was pretty edgy for the 1980s and has become a cult fave. Set after the year 2086, two aliens came to Earth to search for allies against the Crown Empire. In return, mankind is given blueprints for interstellar space travel, resulting in the colonization of distant planets. To deal with the rise of crime in these colonies and to fight the Crown Empire, the Galaxy Rangers, a team of lawmen, are founded. There was some romantic tension in the cartoon between the Clint Eastwood-esque Goose and the psychic Niko, both of whom are Rangers. Imagine how that can be explored in a big-budget movie that’s not worried about offending children? Imagine if someone like Joss Whedon, who has proven he can do outer space Westerns with another cult fave called Serenity, got involved?

 

3) Thundercats

There have been plans for a big-screen version of the ‘Cats, but they’ve since been put on hold for one reason or another. Given that the Thundercats are cat-like humanoids, to have actors in make-up would look absolutely silly, especially given the SFX technology out there today. If anything, the Thundercats should be given the Avatar treatment, which incorporated the use of photorealistic computer-generated characters that are superimposed over the actual actors.

 

2) Thundarr the Barbarian

Set in the distant future where Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland divided into territories in which the villains employ a dark marriage of sorcery and science, Thundarr is Conan meets Flash Gordon and Star Wars with a dash Marvel’s Thor thrown in. In fact, comic book legends Alex Toth and Jack Kirby designed the characters. If Star Wars auteur George Lucas got his hands on this (but had someone else write the dialogue), he could potentially have another successful movie franchise.

 

1) Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

Based on Mattel’s failed Wheeled Warriors toy line, writer J. Michael Straczynski actually tried to add some legitimacy to what he called an otherwise “dopey” concept. This show lasted 65 episodes and had an ongoing, serialized plot (which was never resolved like many 1980s cartoons) as Jayce and the Lightning League battled the Monster Minds, vegetable-like creatures who could shape-shift. To defeat them, he had to reunite with his father Audric and unite the Magic Root, which never came to pass. JMS did write a script for an animated feature that would tie everything up but it never came to pass. In it, JMS planned on killing off Audric. It would be sight to behold if the entire concept was re-imagined the way Battlestar Galactica was as a serious and hard-hitting military sci-fi movie under the pen of JMS. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Johnnyathm1 3/3/2011 2:36:31 AM

Wow...Right on!! Thundarr the Barbarian was one of may fav's as a kid...great stuff!

gutsmgee 3/3/2011 4:28:45 AM

Loved, loved, loved Inhumanoids when I was a kid. A close second to Star Blazers for me. I have often thought it would make a great live action movie.

Dazzler 3/3/2011 4:34:00 AM

Thundarr is my vote!  I always thought the Sun sword was really a Son sword, a sword that has been pasted on from gen to gen since it only works for a certain bloodline.  Yes I have thought too much about this, I could write the movie.  I would just continue where they left off in the series.  My favorite line in the show from Thundarr, "I am not afraid of your death machines!" staring down three wizard's creations that will race him.  You can see the reflection of them in Thundarr's eyes. 

Dazzler 3/3/2011 4:34:39 AM

Oh and I love the music on the show also for Thundarr!  I would love a soundtrack!  

samurai1138 3/3/2011 5:08:36 AM

Goning to have to go with Dino-Riders, or Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. What im trying to say is big 3-D dinosaurs wrecking shit is cool.

samurai1138 3/3/2011 5:09:34 AM

Oh yeah, and Pirates of DarkWater. That was a cool concept that would probably sell in todays market of LOTR and POTC.

jppintar326 3/3/2011 5:12:30 AM

What about Bravestarr?  They are after all got Cowboys and Aliens coming this summer.

Glad I'm not the only one who remembers Inhumanoids.  The Evill That Lies Within.

DECOMPOSE

BunyonSnipe 3/3/2011 5:33:03 AM

The sun sword was the ONLY thing about Thundarr that didn't work for me, still call it the Sun sword, but no dodgy lightsabre rip-off this time, overall the concept is awesome, a bit like Killraven or Iron-Jaw

Wiseguy 3/3/2011 5:44:00 AM

My top vote goes to THUNDARR also, I couldn't wait for saturday mornings back then to catch this show.

I was about to suggest  EXOSQUAD but I'm almost sure that that came out in the 90s, but keep it in mind for your 90's list, one of my fave toon series of all time

Mayhem101878 3/3/2011 5:44:05 AM

Going along the lines of samurai1138 what about Dinosaucers? That was a good one after all they went between humanoid dinos and acctual dinos. Another one that was good and they could do is the Bionic Six.

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