Monday, May 11, 2009

Jonny Quest vs. John Carter


Ah, a quick trip to Norwich, CT inevitably reminds me of youth — when my image of the world and my place in it was pretty much like this series of clips from the old Jonny Quest cartoon, about a decade before my time but (like Tom Swift novels) very attuned to my tastes: a world big and weird enough to warrant bold exploration, with science and a sense of justice the best means of navigating it. If you don’t like those Jonny Quest clips, well, different strokes for different folks, but you suck and I hate you.

Imagine my horror, then, when I learned recently from an article by Greg Boucher that even though there’s a Jonny Quest movie in the works, they may change his name — seemingly defeating the whole point of adapting him, branding-wise (goodbye, built-in fanbase, who needs ya).

And why? Because the (completely unrelated but also 60s-animation-inspired) Speed Racer movie did badly at the box office (but was awesome, I should note — I saw it twice, and my companion the second time, who’s done voiceovers for anime herself, got an actual mild seizure from all the flashing colors in it, a sure sign of cinematic quality).

So by Warner Bros.’ reasoning, if Iron Man 2 does badly next year, they should still go ahead and release Green Lantern a few months later, but they should change its name so people won’t know it’s based on the comic book character (“Spaceguy” maybe? “Emerald Knight”? “Lensman”?). Bizarre.


Speaking of Warner Bros. and branding: You heard it here first — if, as sounds likely, a Deadpool (a.k.a. Wade Wilson) movie gets spun off of Wolverine, watch for Warner to sue Marvel for ripping off their similar assassin character Deathstroke (a.k.a. Slade Wilson) — I’m just guessing. Might sort of balance the scales for Watchmen getting sued (both by Fox and a coffee company who felt their can design was used without permission, oddly enough). I wouldn’t want my company’s economic fate hanging on whether a jury concluded artist Rob Liefeld is capable of originality.


The frustration of possibly not getting to see a real Jonny Quest movie is not as great as the frustration I feel reading about the following film delay, though: Had the studio not caused the project to fall apart by trying to make it a comedy, the Looney Tunes animators apparently would have beaten Disney to the punch with the first full-length animated film — John Carter, Warlord of Mars — with Edgard Rice Burroughs still alive at the time and advising them (but we’ll finally get Carter — from the Wall-E guy and Disney, as it happens — in 2012, exactly 100 freaking years after the first book came out). Not only would that in all likelihood have been amazing, but American animation would have been profoundly influenced by nine-foot-tall green warrior men with names like Tars Tarkas instead of by whistling dwarfs with names like Dopey. Ah, what might have been.

Similarly, I wish there had been a Star Wars prequel trilogy. I do not recall a Star Wars prequel trilogy ever being made. I do not.

One more old-timey note: the relationships between the people in the photo may have changed, but this somewhat dated glimpse of Dawn Eden as Dale Arden (along with Kyle Smith and Jamie Foehl as themselves) from Halloween 2002 may be worth linking just so you can see me as Flash Gordon.


Sean Dougherty said...

That’s classic. The long dark cartoon-hell that was the 70s and 80s really made it tough to enjoy Saturday morning TV in our era.

When I read recently that the new Iron Man cartoon was going to make Tony Stark a pacifist I immediately panicked and thought I’d woken up in 1975 like the guy in “Life on Mars,” but a correspondence with someone who’d seen the screeners says that interpretation was false.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Matrix sequels someday would be nice, too.