Whatever you think of Michael Bay’s Transformers films and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, there’s no denying that toy-based movies have been successful. So what beloved childhood toyline will be made into a movie next, and which auteur’s vision will it be?
I asked several fellow geeks to join me in imagining what would happen if Hollywood convinced some of Hollywood’s most successful directors to make movies based on playthings.
Barbie by Eli Roth, director of Hostel and Hostel: Part II
“So it’s like this. Barbie is a bored suburban housewife living in a condo in L.A. Her husband Ken is a successful CEO who suffers from impotence and takes it out on her physically. So one day she decides to fight back. Over the course of several years, she secretly funnels Ken’s own money to build her ‘Dream House’ in Malibu. One day she lures Ken and his chauvinist golfer pals to the Dream House, which is actually an immense trap-and-torture complex. One by one they die in gruesome ways. Near the end of the film, Ken, wounded but alive, confronts Barbie and tries to kill her, only to discover what he thinks is the real Barbie is actually a plastic doll. Before he can react, two large spikes burst from its breasts, impaling him.”
Battle Beasts by James Cameron, director of The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic and Avatar
“Battle Beasts represent the most primal elements: fire, wood and water. For the purposes of this movie, we’re going to be concentrating almost entirely on the water beasts. We’re going to be filming water like no one has ever filmed water before. I had to invent a new kind of camera just to do preproduction – it’s a camera that’s inside a submarine that’s on a soundstage that’s in a second, larger submarine. And I’m piloting that one, so for the duration of the shoot, you’re going to have to call me ‘skipper.’ But man, when you see the camera zoom in on the duck with a blade for a hand and you feel like you’re really there, it’ll all be worth it. Oh, fire and wood? Well, I’ve got a neat sequence planned where the wood tribe stick their ‘vines’ in the holes of some trees, but honestly…don’t you think the audience will just spend the whole thing wondering when we’ll be going back underwater?”
–Justin Aclin, former editor of ToyFare Magazine and author of Hero House
C.O.P.S. and Crooks by Martin Scorsese, director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Departed
“In the future, I figure cops will have, like, flying cars and laser cannons and stuff, right? But what about the crooks? Won’t they havethe same things? Picture this: Two Irish boy growing up in Empire City. One is P.J. O’Malley, his dad’s a cop, his granddad’s a cop, so he becomes a cop. He gets a thing on his wrist that shoots handcuffs. Handcuff gun. On the other side, you got this other Irish kid, TommyMcBoomBoom, but everyone calls him “Buttons,” because he’s alwayswearing a vest or a jacket. Y’know, with buttons. Anyway, theMcBoomBooms are all crooks, safecrackers, so he becomes a crook, butone night a heist goes wrong, bomb goes off early, Tommy takesshrapnel in his chest. His dad takes him to this crazy doctor heknows, Dr. Badvibes — it’s French, maybe — and Badvibes gives him anew heart and a pair of chest guns. Guns in his chest. Anyway, hebecomes the top enforcer for the crooks, and his childhod pal is thetop cop. Irony. They cross paths, they struggle with their loyalties,bing, bang, boom, both die in a hail of bullets. Whaddaya think?”
—Zach Oat, Marketing Supervisor at Diamond Select Toys, co-author of Pop Sculpture, former editor of ToyFare Magazine and Television Without Pity
Care Bears by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director Serenity and The Avengers
“So the Care Bears are just living their lives in Care-A-Lot, unsuspecting and adorable, until one day, the cute fluffy clouds that their whole world is built on turn all gray and thundery. Nobody knows why or why, and here’s the really Bizarro-world part: nobody seems to notice or to care (which is pretty weird, you’ve got to admit, for Care Bears) except for a small rag-tag group of outcasts lead by Cheer Bear. Now, Cheer Bear’s seen a lot: she was down on Earth, helping kids in some really desperate conditions (like high school), so she’s a tough chick who’s struggling to reconcile some of the harsher stuff she saw and did there with how friggin’ happy everything is up in Care-a-Lot (which is pretty bourgeois, in a pastel sort of way).
Anyway. So it eventually turns out that in trying to force-feed happiness to tons of people who would otherwise quite naturally have been glum, the Care Bears have created an imbalance in the universe that’s manifesting itself directly over Care-A-Lot, transforming it into this kind of…blackhole of crankiness. Can Cheer Bear and her close-knit crew–lovably nerdy but secretly a ticking timebomb of rage Funshine, nerdy and perennially-pining for Cheer Tenderheart, and outwardly vapid but surprisingly empathetic Friend bear–restore the balance and save the world? Oh, and then everyone’s favorite irascible crank, Grumpy Bear, gets impaled by a harpoon.”
—Kate Racculia, author of This Must Be the Place
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by Tim Burton, director of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and producer of The Nightmare Before Christmas
“In a world that looks pretty much exactly like the sets from The Corpse Bride, the evil Skeletor tries to conquer Castle Grayskull to harness its mystical, ill-defined powers and rule all of Eternia. The only thing that stands in his way is the thin, pale, brooding hero He-Man, his friends the mad scientist Man-at-Arms, the dark-but-not-as-dark-as-Skeletor sorceress known as the Sorceress, and the mischievous yet highly marketable gremlin named Orko. He-Man to be played by Johnny Depp. Teela, Evil-Lyn and the Sorceress to be played by Helena Bonham Carter.”
–Rob Bricken, writer & editor of ToplessRobot.com