Sometimes movie makers take established fictional works as inspiration for screenplay ideas. Sometimes they take established fictional works as a cash grab; they take a popular comic book, video game or toy line and turn it into something that clearly comes across as a half-assed attempt to cash in on the name. As long as they can keep the expenses low they know they will make their money back on fans hoping to see their beloved characters shine on screen.
While accepting the nature of this beast normally can normally put one’s mind at ease, there are still some movies based on popular franchises that really could have become reputable works in their own light. I present my list for franchises that should have a second shot at the big screen. I don’t make my judgement necessarily based on my own fandom of the source material but that said material could be made into a decent story in of itself. I also don’t honestly care too much if any of these movies do get made, but in this era of reboots, knock-offs and generally unoriginal mainstream screenplays, I would certainly welcome the (second) chance to see these franchises work better in the theaters.
- Masters of the Universe. I include this one not so much because the original movie sucked. As a kid I didn’t make it all the way through, but that’s probably more because it wasn’t like the cartoon than the movie’s own merit. But I would like to see a movie based on the popular action figure line that actually takes its story from either the toy line or the cartoon instead of bringing He-Man to present day Earth. Also, with the advances in CGI I imagine would have a better-looking Skeletor this time around.
- The Punisher. I admit that I haven’t seen War Zone yet. From my understanding, however, it received mostly negative reviews. Then again, if those reviews are based on how violent the movie is that tells me that it might actually have gotten it right. Likewise, I actually like the first movie starting Dolph Lundgren. But I like the idea that The Punisher could be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving it that darker edge that it’s been lacking. If they go that route, maybe they could throw in Deathlok for good measure.
- Street Fighter. To be fair, a fighting game should be more remembered for how fun it is to play rather than its story. A good story is just a bonus. The Street Fighter series not only has some great games but has that story with a lot of potential to explore in movie form. So what did we get? That travesty starring Jean-Claude Van Damme that’s not only a bad movie on its own merits, it completely throws the games’ story out the window. I am aware of the Japanese animated series, but I think we deserve a better attempt at a live-action film—and other than one that only focuses on Chun-Li.
- G.I. Joe. If you look at the live action G.I. Joe movies in of themselves they’re not that bad. There’s a lot of parts that are quite enjoyable. But like the case with Street Fighter, they strayed so far from the source material longtime fans are left scratching their heads as to whether or not they could consider this the Real American Hero they grew up with. I have to admit, though, I really felt a sense of satisfaction that Breaker was constantly chewing bubble gum.
- Super Mario Bros. Apparently Nintendo doesn’t care if their video games make good movies or not. They don’t need the extra promotion. Their products sell on their own merits. They can afford to fail with the occasional experiment. I won’t go into why this movie failed so miserably. That’s been covered ad nauseam all over the Internet. I also get that we probably won’t ever get a new one as Nintendo just doesn’t need to make one. But they owe us, damn it. I think after all of these years and sales in video games, Nintendo should see it in their hearts to make up for that movie. Again, I don’t really care to see a Mario movie in of itself. But I’ve felt for years that there was a big void in my childhood.
I know that there were plans for a new He-Man movie. There’s also a third G.I. Joe film in development. We can only hope that they make up for the flaws of their predecessors. But hey, I’m not going to cry over if they don’t.