11 Classic Toys That Could Be Turned Into Awesome Movies
11 Classic Toys That Could Be Turned Into Awesome Movies
Toys have long been a source of nostalgic inspiration for Hollywood; if kids have enjoyed playing with something, there's a good chance they might like to see a movie about it too. This week sees the release of The Lego Ninjago Movie, based on Lego's popular Ninjago series, and earlier in 2017 we had The Lego Batman movie and a fifth Transformers. That's not to mention all the other films based on toys that are in development, from He-Man and G.I. Joe to Barbie and Hot Wheels. But what about those classic toys that are yet to be turned into a hit movie? Let's take a look at some plastic favorites that we think could make an awesome cinematic experience.
Thundercats was an action figure line that ran from 1984-1987. Like Masters of the Universe, they were part of a fantasy saga that also played out on a popular animated TV show; unlike He-Man and friends, the Thundercats were all giant, superpowered feline warriors with names like Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra, and Panthro. A movie was in development a decade ago, and although it never saw the light of day, some early CG tests did eventually leak. More recently, Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich expressed an interested in playing Cheetara--whether she gets her chance remains to be seen.
Before there were Dinobots, there were Zoids. These giant mecha animal toys first hit Japanese shelves in 1982 as Mechabonica and were then sold worldwide the following year as Zoids. The original line ended in 1987, but various updated versions have appeared over the years since; as recently as 2013, you could find new Zoids on shelves. There have been four anime series but no movie; with the success of Transformers, Jurassic World, and Godzilla, the time is right for some big-screen Zoid action.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
This early '80s game required only one skill--bash a lever up and down fast enough to allow your hippo to eat more plastic balls that your opponents. A movie version was rumoured a few years back, but has to date not appeared. Who wouldn't want to see a terrifying film version, in which a group of adventurers are trapped on all sides in a remote African river by ravenous mutant hippos? Jaws meets Jumanji!
Big Trak was a large, programmable space tank that first appeared in 1979 and could execute up to 16 commands--forward, turn, fire and so on. It looked very futuristic (in an '80s retro way), and a thrilling big-screen version could star Chris Hemsworth as the only man who can stop the path of destruction of an out-of-control Big Trak.
M.U.S.C.L.E. stands for Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere, a line of small, rubber action figures that first hit shelves in Japan as Kinnikuman before being retitled and exported to the US. The Japanese version was actually based on a violent wrestling anime series that was never screened over here, but the toys were briefly popular. Available in plastic tubs, there were some deeply weird characters, including Black Hole (cosmic portal for a face), Planet Man (an entire solar system in three inches), Parthenon (a wrestler shaped like the temple of Athena), and Sunigator Shotai (a terrifying demon-figured hand). If ever a toyline was crying out for a surreal, scary horror comedy in the traditional of Gremlins, it's this crazy bunch.
Kenner's popular franchise M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike, er, Kommand) originated as an animated series, but it actually found longer success as a toyline. Cashing in on the mid-80s popularity of transforming toys, the team's cars could change into heavily armed, advanced crime-fighting vehicles to take on their enemies, V.E.N.O.M. While a M.A.S.K. movie is yet to happen, it has got closer than most; in 2015, it was reported that Paramount was attempting to create a shared universe of classic toy movies, including M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and ROM. Sadly, there has been little news of these plans since.
Slime is literally what it says on the tin. This squishy gum-like substance was made by Mattel and available in tubs from the late '70s--it didn't do anything but look gloopy and slime-like, but sometimes that's all you need. The Robin Williams hit Flubber featured a lovable Slime-like substance, and Ghostbusters' Slimer was essentially this stuff rendered as a hungry ghost, but no film has truly exploited the terrifying, creepy potential of the stuff. Slime! Make it Hollywood!
The Weebles movie already has its own tagline, based on the old 1970s TV ad: 'Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!' These egg-shaped toys originally ran for a decade from 1972-1982, before being relaunched in 2004. They've remained very popular over the years; over 100 Weebles were originally produced, and since then, a variety of branded versions have been released, including Disney and Nickelodeon characters. So what if they don't do anything but wobble? Kids love 'em. The Weeble Movie is a hit waiting to happen.
Operation is one of the longest running, most popular kids games of all time--so where's the film? This medical variation on the classic wire-loop game first appeared in 1964 and can still be found in most toy shops; over the years, there have been a wide variety of rebranded versions, including The Simpsons, Shrek, Toy Story, Doctor Who, and Spider-Man. Imagine a gruesome horror movie in the tradition of Saw, in which medical students must race to complete a successful operation OR DIE! It's a hit!
Like a number of toys on this list, Madballs had a brief run during the 1980s, before being revived 20 years later. These gruesome bouncing rubber heads had names such as Slobulus, Aargh, Bash Brain, and Fist Face, and while they never got their own TV show, a pair of direct-to-VHS were produced during the mid-80s, as well as a 2009 video game. If emojis can get their own stupid movie, why not Madballs?
Before VR, there was View-Master. This stereoscopic toy dates all the way back to 1939, but it was in the late '60s that it really took off, when TV shows such as Star Trek, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Doctor Who started to feature on its click-through reels. In 2015, it was announced that a new version was in development, making use of Google's Cardboard VR platform. So what we require is a movie in which a kid buys a vintage View-Master from a strange old man and finds him or herself plunged into a bizarre virtual reality world, populated by characters from popular '60s and '70s TV shows.