Hollywood loves a sure thing. They love anything that’s going to help them sell movie tickets, even if the very nature of the idea is morally and creatively bankrupt. Think about this: The movie based on the board game Battleship, though it didn’t make back its production cost, still made more than $65 million at the box office. I avoided the movie, but I’ve heard that it did, indeed, include a variation of the line, “You sunk my battleship.”
We’re so far down the slippery slope, it’s impossible to imagine what could signify that we’ve hit bottom, but I’ve got some ideas. If any of the following properties or characters are optioned and turned into movies, you’ll know that the world is ending quickly.
The Wonder Twins: Zan and Jayna were a pair of alien siblings inexplicably created for the DC Comics Saturday-morning cartoon Super Friends. They’re aliens in purple leotards with a monkey companion named Gleek. Their super power? When they touch and say, “Wonder Twin powers activate,” Zan can transform into any form of water (ice, gas, liquid, etc.) and Jayna can transform into any animal. Perhaps some enterprising young filmmaker could make them interesting, but it would take more work than Warner Brothers has been capable of with its film adaptations.
The Popples: Who could forget this ’80s cartoon and plush phenomenon? The Popples were a race of odd bear-like marsupials with pouches that led to a void that could hold untold amounts of stuff. They lived with a pair of kids whom they would constantly drag on misadventures. They were a cheap rip-off of the popular ’80s cartoons of the time, but still somehow incredibly popular. The show barely made sense and would make a terrible movie, but we’ve already had The Smurfs and Marmaduke, so would it really shock anyone?
Turbo-Teen: This show used to scare the hell out of me as a kid. It was about a young boy who, after being in a car accident, is somehow infused with the ability to transform into a car if he is exposed to heat. The transformation sequences were bizarre, and the talking-car motif seemed old even then. Even to a kid, it felt like a two-bit copy of Knight Rider. This show would be a terrible place for Hollywood to steal ideas from, but since they’re off their rockers, why not start here? And while they’re at it, they should option Knight Rider and combine the two concepts.
Gambit: For reasons that will never be understood by me, there are some hapless souls out there who like the Marvel Comics character Gambit, despite his consistent ranking as lamest superhero ever (tied only with DC’s Matter-Eater Lad or Arm-Fall-Off Boy). The only thing sillier than this Cajun’s accent is his costume. His fingerless gloves and pink bib are only out-ridiculoused by his half-mask thing and his metal chest. He had a not-brief-enough cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Taylor Kitsch, and we all saw how poorly that turned out. A movie devoted entirely to this thieving mutant is probably the closest thing we’ll get to a sure sign that Hollywood has hit rock bottom.
There are thousands of other properties that would signify the end of the world as we know it, ranging from Stretch Armstrong and Play-Doh to Connect Four and the Gobots, but these four might be the worst of the lot. Let’s hope that Hollywood never takes us down this dark, dark tunnel.
Bryan Young is editor-in-chief of BigShinyRobot.com.