Hollywood loves nostalgia, especially when that nostalgia can be turned into a big budget movie and sell merchandise. Every summer the Hollywood blockbuster machine runs at full speed, throwing tentpole after tentpole at audiences like darts, hoping something will stick. The best kinds of these metaphorical darts are the ones based on things people can look at on a poster and say, "Hey, I remember that!" Recently, the 1990's have become the lastest fixation of the film industry. This summer alone is seeing multiple films all based on properties from the 90's: Power Rangers, Ghost in the Shell, and even Baywatch. And you can be sure a lot more are on the way.
Many people say this recent trend of 90's nostalgia based films is proof that Hollywood has officially run out of ideas. They're wrong, of course, Hollywood ran out of ideas a long time ago. But still, if we are going to be subjected to things we thought were cool at the end of the last Millenium, filmmakers could at least base these movies off the things that actually could make for interesting films. Lucky for them, I've put up together this list of five 90's properties are the most deserving of the blockbuster treatment, because 90's nostalgia isn't just good for selling movies, it also makes more clickable online articles! Let the pandering begin!
The Disney Afternoon programming block became a staple of 90's kid's TV with classic shows like Duck Tales, Tailspin, and Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers; but among these shows, one in particular stood ou as the most badass: Gargoyles. Taking inspiration from Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles a dark and mature (or as mature as a cartoon aimed at kids could be) action show where five gargoyles and their castle are brought to New York City by an evil corporate bad guy named Xanatos, so he can harness their power for himself. The gargoyles are stone by day, but by night, they come to life by exploding out of stone (the only sensible way) where they fight Xanatos, NYC crime, and a variety of monsters and evil wizards alike.
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Did I mention there are robot gargoyles? ROBOT GARGOYLES!
With Disney continuing to make unnecessary live action remakes of their animated films, perhaps they would consider looking towards their television output for inspiration. Gargoyles is just begging to be made into a live action film. It combines the best elements of Saturday morning cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the dark grittiness of Batman: The Animated Series. There are all kinds of potential for stories, since the gargoyles themselves were originally from the Viking age, you can bring in lots of Norse mythology and magic into it as well. It's got plenty of franchise potential, and would seem like a no brainer. If they can get the right director (hint: Guillermo Del Toro) this could have the potential to be a huge franchise.
2.) The Matrix
When the original Matrix was released in 1999, it blew everyone away with its groundbreaking visuals and cool premise. Then the sequels came out, and blew everyone away with how fast you could squander so much potential. Recently there been rumblings that Warner Bros. interested in remaking or rebooting or prequeling or whatevering The Matrix. Naturally, a lot of people are extremely pessimistic about all of this and think they should just let well enough alone. However, out of all the dead movie franchises you could bring back, The Matrix might be one of the most deserving. A new Matrix movie could be terrific, provided that the filmmakers do one thing: get rid of everything behind except for the style and the premise.
It's been more than a decade and this STILL makes no sense.
What the filmmakers need to realize is that it's not really the plot or the characters that made The Matrix a hit. Those aspects of the film were (mostly) fine and served their purpose, but nobody really cares too about Trinity, Morpheus, Neo and whatever is happening in Zion. What people liked about it was the Hong Kong inspired action sequences and the world -- not the complicated mythology, but the world -- it created that offered so many opportunities for cool storytelling. There's a lot of potential in revisiting The Matrix, but you need to approach it by shutting out all the baggage of the previous films.
Even if you don't remember Animorphs books, chances are the covers with their eye-catching morphing images will probably ring a bell or two. You couldn't go to a bookstore in the 1990s without coming across one of the seemingly hundreds of entries in the incredibly huge series. The premise was simple enough, a group of teenagers recieve the power to transform into any animal by touching them from a dying alien, which they use to battle evil slug-like aliens called "Yeerks" who posses any living creature, in a secret war for the human race. While this all made for a good sci-fi, what made Animorphs special was that it never talked down to kids and wasn't afraid to explore complex themes of morality, loyalty, and the isolation of high-school.
Transforming into a lizard is something all teenagers can relate to.
These weren't just cookie-cutter "teens with attitude" saving the world from aliens, these were real kids who felt the enormous weight of the responsibility their powers came with, and who faced real problems every day that couldn't always be fixed by the end of 180 pages. It's a premise ripe for a feature film. In fact, the books were even made into a television show by Nickelodeon and even had their own toy line. Sadly, neither lasted very long, but the books are still revered today, and if put in the right hands, could make for great young adult sci-fi franchise. As long as the filmmakers remember that it's not just about the aliens, but the personal and real issues these kids face that makes Animorphs special.
4.) Are You Afraid of the Dark?
This anthology series was Twilight Zone/Tales From Crypt, but for kids. Like those before mentioned shows it was an anthology series about a group of kids, calling themselves "The Midnight Society," who sat around a campfire at night and told each other scary stories. Well, scary for a kids show, that is. For a show airing on Nickelodeon it had a surprisingly effective spooky atmosphere, and the stories were always creepy and creative. The reason it deserves to be a feature film, however, is the actual premise itself.
Some things were scarier than others.
After the series initially ended, a second generation was created, along with the muliti-part episode, The Silver Sight . Rather than be a collection of stories, these episodes delved into the secret history of the midnight society itself. The kids learn that a curse has been placed on their secret club and that all of the original founding members all died of mysterious causes. From there the show becomes a race to find all the pieces of a mysterious record and to uncover the mystery behind the murders before the kids themselves become the next victims. It's a surprisingly spooky story a great mystery, too. While you could do an anthology movie, I actually think a film just based on the show's Midnight Society and its mythology could make for a great thriller that could appeal to both young and old audiences alike.
Freakazoid was Deadpool before Deadpool became Deadpool, and also better and funnier. Sorry, but between the two, Originally conceived by Batman The Animated Series co-creator Bruce Timm as a straightforward superhero cartoon, the show transformed into a full-on parody of superheroes with brilliant and colorful animation and an array of wonderfully absurd characters. The premise follows Dexter Douglas, a computer nerd who gets a special program for Christmas that sucks him into the computer and turns him into a seemingly omnipotent superhero named Freakazoid. The titular character is sort of like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx who more often annoyed his villains as much as he fought them. The show was stuffed with all kinds of in-jokes and constant breaking of the fourth wall.
Fanboy is my spirit animal.
A feature film would obviously have to be a comedy, but more importantly, in order to do it right, it would have to be animated. What sets Freakazoid apart from other superhero parodies is that it fully takes advantage of the fact that it's animated, allowing for a ton of fun cartoonish moments. Freakazoid himself is a brilliantly animated character who can do practically anything. The supporting cast and villains all have lots of personality, from Candle Jack -- who makes anyone disappear when they say his name, usually somewhere stupid -- to Dexter's friend and mentor, the Scotsman, who is... er... Scottish. It's a property where you can do literally almost anything with the characters, just put them into a situation and they will make it funny. I'm not saying Hollywood would be stupid not to make it, but JUST BRING BACK FREAKAZOID ALREADY!