Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barbie Is Getting A Movie, So Why Not These Toys And Board Games?

Universal Pictures (you know, the guys who aren't making new movies until 2010) are revving up to start their family-friendly Barbie movie franchise. There have already been half a trillion straight-to-DVD releases, such as Barbie Finds Out She Has No Genitals and Barbie And Post-Op Ken Get A Makeover. Even then, in the 50 year history of the toy she hasn't had a feature film release, save for her appearances in the Toy Story franchise. While Transformers and GI Joe are natural properties to bring to the screen, the Barbie movie doesn't seem like it has much to offer the world of cinema. Hell, even the Lego film that is in production is pushing it, but there is still some potential there.

In a time where Battleship is getting a damn movie, as well as Monopoly, you have to figure that nothing is out of reach. The majority of these future films have a similar thing about them: they are all based on toys and board games that have no business being turned into movies. I've decided I'm going to buck the trend here and list out some toys and board games that SHOULD have feature films based on them. The wrong things are getting the attention, and maybe I can help set things straight! Yeah! And maybe I'm a Russian spy with microfilm sewn into the inner linings of my left ass cheek.

Yes, I know these Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere were based on a franchise from Japan called Kinnikuman. So it had video games, anime, and manga, but thats not what we want over here. What it never had was an American-based film. I propose we give it some respect, and combine the origins of both the original Japanese series and the American toys. Bring it back to the roots of a crazy Ultraman-style parody, but with the characters coming to save the Earth from an evil horde of aliens. Give them some famous wrestler casting and I think you've got a property to sell to any major studio out there. HHH, John Cena, Stone Cold, and The Rock could do much better than the films they've already touched. This tongue-in-cheek outing would not hurt their current images. Hell, a snuff film couldn't hurt their current images.

Magic: The Gathering
The Dungeons & Dragons film was a huge mistake. I don't think anyone is going to argue the fact that it was handled so wrong. However, with a Warcraft movie on the way, and The Lord of the Rings still giving off positive vibes, the Magic franchise is a humongous opportunity. It has been going on since 1993 and has tons of characters, races, heroes, monsters, spells and locations to make a nicely varied high-budget fantasy. Do the fanboys a favor by making everything loyal to the designs on the card paintings, as well as their strengths, spells and weaknesses, and I'm sure you'll have rows of seats filled in the multiplex. What I don't want to see are multiple versions of the DVD and Blu-ray that have different scenes, depending on which limited and numbered box you picked up. That won't be doing Dominaria any justice.

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light
You're probably saying, "what the hell is this bullshit? I never heard of this." Well, that means you're under the age of 30 or stayed away from toys with holograms on them. Personally, I was all over holograms. Those little laser-written stickers meant that we had finally come to live in The Future. Flying cars were coming soon, food pellets were on their way, and we could almost smell the fumes coming from the inevitable rocket pack. Unfortunately, none of that stuff came to be, but we definitely had a bunch of alien space knights with magical spirit animal holograms. Imagine that concept, with the special effects from the Tron Legacy trailer, and you can already see how this would be amazing. Even without a tangible plot, the first trailer would still be better than Avatar's.

The Settlers of Catan
With video games you show your Gamerscore or talk about how many headshots you get in a deathmatch when you want to speak of being a hardcore gamer. With board games you just have to say you play The Settlers of Catan. Forget those 18 hour games of Monopoly, if you're doing something right, this game can take years. So what would the movie be like? Well, it would have to be a period piece, filled with lots of hard labor, violence, and scrounging for resources. I say the gritty look of something like Braveheart would fit nicely. Things would be crazy from day one, but the moment you introduce the Mayfairs, you know it is going to get really interesting!

What kind of ass backwards world do we live in? How do we wind up at a point where movies based on board games have a better shot than giant goddamn robots? When it comes to being optioned into a film, Voltron is the biggest whore in Hollywood. Only Paris Hilton has fallen face first into the laps of more men. You've got giant aliens, people in robot lions that turn into a giant robot guy with a big laser sword, and a fantasy kingdom. What the hell is taking so long? Even the shitty ripoff that was Power Rangers managed to have two films released, and the originator is nowhere to be found. These are the kinds of things that make grown men cry and little boys kill each other.

Mr. Bucket
Mr. Bucket has the great distinction of not only being a toy but also a game. He also has the most tortuous and harrowing story of any board game or toy that could be turned to film. It is really simple. Mr. Bucket is alone in this world, trying to find happiness somewhere he doesn't belong. Unfortunately, his everyday life takes a toll and he has no way to make money except for becoming a prostitute. He becomes paranoid and tries to run away from everyone around him. At the end he sings a sad and lonely song with the same refrain, "I'm Mr. Bucket. Balls come out of my mouth."
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