Monday, June 20, 2016

4 Almost Forgotten 80's Toys Getting Their Own Movies

Marvel changed the face of Hollywood with its series of interconnected movies (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk), culminating in the massive crossover success of Marvel's The Avengers. The movie world they've created has become known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it's a gold mine. Ever since, other studios have been crawling all over themselves to create their own cinematic universes, in particular DC with Batman v Superman and the upcoming Justice League movie. But in December 2015, Paramount surprised everyone with an announcement that they would be working with Hasbro to turn its hit G.I. Joe movies series into a cinematic universe. And the other properties they planned to combine it with took everyone by surprise.

Paramount and Hasbro are going to create a cinematic universe combining G.I. Joe with four other toy properties: Micronauts, Visionairies, Rom, and M.A.S.K. To which, many responded, "Who?" Certainly, Hasbro has produced more popular toys to make movies out of, like the Transformers. The problem is, they don't own the movie rights to them. My guess is these four toys are the only ones they own the movie rights to, because no one else wanted them. Unfortunately, they have an uphill battle, because there's no mass audience clamoring to see the M.A.S.K. movie. Then again, there was no mass audience for Guardians of the Galaxy until they released it and showed how awesome they could be. Here's a brief overview of the properties and why they're awesome.

M.A.S.K. - M.A.S.K. is about a team of secret agents who fight a generically evil organization known as V.E.N.O.M. Each member of the team on both sides has a helmet with a special ability, like being able to fly or shoot flames. But the vehicles are what made M.A.S.K. toys awesome. They all had the ability to transform into different vehicles. One character drove a Jeep 4X4 which could pop open, and turn into a speedboat. Another flew a helicopter that turned into a jet airplane. Each vehicle was two vehicles in one. The show also had one of the coolest 80's theme songs.

ROM: Spaceknight - As an action figure in the 1970's, ROM wasn't much. Its main hook was that it had blinking lights, when LED lights were considered revolutionary. But the action figure wasn't very poseable, so it didn't last too long. But the comic book based on the figure was a huge hit, lasting seventy-five issues. In the comic, Rom is an alien from a peaceful world named Galador that's threatened by a hostile alien race known as Dire Wraiths. Rom volunteers to be turned into a cyborg to fight the Dire Wraiths, called a Spaceknight. Rom dedicates himself to traveling the Galaxy in order to wipe out the Dire Wraiths, and comes to Earth to fight them. Sort of a Silver Surfer meets Robocop.

Micronauts - The Micronauts started out as small action figures that were popular in Japan, because they didn't take up much room in the country's cramped apartments. The figures could also be taken apart and combined in different ways. But just like Rom, Marvel's comic book series elevated the toys into a sensation. In the comics, the Micronauts came from a microscopic universe called the Microverse, where worlds connected like molecules. The miniaturized planets were at war with an evil race led by Baron Karza. Micronauts featured an epic story combining elements of fantasy and science fiction. The Micronauts even crossed into the Marvel Universe with Ant-Man, the Fantastic Four, and even the Hulk shrinking down to enter the Microverse, and some Micronauts like Arcturus and Bug growing to become superheroes in the Marvel Universe.

Visionaries - This franchise is probably the least well-known of the five properties. Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light was an animated series about a distant future where technology has collapsed (for some reason), leading to a return to magic. The series pitted the heroic Spectral Knights against the evil Darkling Lords. The warriors could change into animals, and carried staffs that gave them special abilities. The action figures had holograms embedded in their chests and staves (again, revolutionary for the time). But both the toys and the TV series bombed, so there's not much of a fan base.

How Hasbro is going to combine all these properties into one cinematic universe is a mystery to me. Hopefully, they can work it out.

"My name is Timothy McGill, and I'm a time travel addict..." Time Junkie by Nigel G. Mitchell. Only 99-cents for a limited time.

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