Every other weekend one studio or another announces yet another remake or reboot. Names never before associated with movie production–Marvel and Hasbro–now rule the summer marquees.Spiderman is being remade a scant four years after Tobey McGuire hung up the suit while two production houses vie for the Snow White enthusiasts and a feature length Captain Planet enters pre-production. Even beloved amusement park rides have been violated in Hollywood’s eternal quest for the instant hit. No comics, toys or books from our childhood are sacred. So before we are forced to live through the big screen adventure of “Row, row, row your boat,” we thought we’d put together a list of the ten childhood icons actually worthy of adaptation.
10. Rainbow Brite
Little orphan Wisp lives in a Colorless World. To bring back the colors and happiness, Wisp must find the Sphere of Light and defeat the King of Shadows and his twitchy fingers. Color Belts, Star Sprinkles, Color Crystals and Color Caves fit into the equation somewhere, but we’re not really clear on that. The important thing is that the last movie was released in 1985, and Rainbow Brite deserves her shot at fame and glory. Imagine this relentlessly positive Hallmark franchise with a dark undertone and sabres instead of sprinkles, and you’ve got a huge blockbuster.
9. The Rifleman
One of the first primetime series to focus on the drama of a widowed parent and his son, The Rifleman ran from 1958 to 1963 on ABC. Starring Chuck Conners as a homesteader in the American West, the show promoted all kinds of good ol family values, from equal rights to playing fair. But least you think manifest destiny was all fun and games, there were plenty of villains and opportunities for gunplay. With the success of True Grit and the upcoming release of Cowboys & Aliens, the public is ripe for another epic western.
If there ever was a board game that begged for adaptation, it’s Risk. Boring as hell to play, the goal of world domination while armed forces battle to the death over Australia should be enough spectacle for any studio. And since there’s no set plot to compete (or complete), the narrative possibilities are literally limitless.
The star of both a Mattel toy series and 1985 cartoon, She-Ra celebrated girl power—albeit in a racy outfit. When the kingdom needed her aid, Princess Adora (He-Man’s twin) turned into She-Ra, a warrior ready to defend good with her magic sword and winged steed. While the milieu may need updating (everything is named with an ear to the odd), a live-action version still capitalizes on the perils of saving the world while maintaining a secret identity.
6. The Mighty Heroes
You really can’t beat the sheer kitsch value of the single 1966 season of The Mighty Heroes. Who wouldn’t want to be rescued from box office humdrum by Diaper Man!
5. Dynomutt, Dog Wonder
Ever since Underdog made its terrifying live-action debut, we’ve been waiting for an appearance from Dynomutt and Blue Falcon. Sitting patiently at the intersection of Scooby Doo and Inspector Gadget, Dynomutt would be the perfect foil to how seriously the Batman franchise is taking itself. Whatever happened to fun action movies where the heroes aren’t unmasked and nobody dies in horrible explosions?
4. Johnny Quest
Originally released in the 1960s, then revived in the 90s with a virtual reality component (evidenced above), Johnny Quest is the next big thing for the Spy Kids market. More hard core, less bathroom humor and (gasp) possibly educational, the series followed teenage adventurers as the investigated the world’s exotic legends and mysteries. Though a remake would have to explain away the fact that a 40-year-old professor is hanging around with a 10-year-old Indian kid.
3. Jay J. Armes
When most people lose their arms at the age of 14 during a heist gone wrong, they wallow in self-pity. Not Jay J. Armes. He worked as an actor (most notably on the original Hawaii Five-O), started a private investigative agency, rescued Marlon Brando’s kidnapped son, and spawned his own action figure—complete with detachable prosthetics replacable with an arsenal of weapons. Why has this guy’s story not been made into a film again?
2. Wonder Woman
Stuck in negotiations since 2001, a Wonder Woman film may indeed be on the way. But then again, that tidbit comes from Fox News, and we all know how reliable they are. But wouldn’t it be great to see the Princess of the Amazons finally hit the silver screen?
Already being revived as an TV series (and with an animated feature currently on hold), ThunderCats is certainly the next big childhood icon in line for adaptation. With an alternate universe and snappy character names, the 1985 series doesn’t need much to make it relevant today. There is so much fan demand for a ThunderCats movie that some have created trailers featuring their favorite stars to prove the franchise’s worth. Shoddy effects aside, we definitely see the possibility.
Thanks to all the HARO submitters who contributed ideas for this story.