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Another 80s Animated TV Series Being Adapted: Thundercats

by
June 6, 2007
Source: Variety

Thundercats

After the announcement recently that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe would be returning with another big screen adaptation as well as some other 80's franchises (like G.I. Joe), the most recent news is that Thundercats will be turned into a live action feature film as well (read the update below - it will be entirely CGI, not live action). Warner Brothers, one of the best Hollywood studios at the moment, has picked up a script based on the 1980s animated series. Initial speculation leads me to believe that it will be much more focused towards the teen demographic instead of something that all of those who watched the series when it first came out in the 80's will now enjoy being in their 20's.

The original animated series that debuted in 1985 is about a group of humanoid cats who flee their home planet of Thundera after it's destroyed. After crash landing on the planet Third Earth, they started fighting Mumm-Ra, an evil sorcerer bent on killing them off. The script for the feature will be an origin story that expands upon the major heroes and villains from the animated series and will focus on Lion-O's coming of age as the leader.

If you haven't realized by now, the latest Hollywood trend that will hit theaters in 2008 and 2009 is the live action revival of classic 80's animated TV shows. We've already got Transformers this year, He-Man, G.I. Joe, and a few others for 2008, and now you can add Thundercats to that list, too. I'm not sure if Transformer's buzz sparked this recent interest in all these classic shows, or whether it was something else, but a few of them might actually turn out good. It's truly interesting watch how Hollywood works these days.

UPDATE: An article in the LA Times confirms that the Thundercats film with be entirely CGI, NOT live action, like originally reported. Like TMNT, the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in CGI earlier this year, Thundercats will follow in similar fashion. As many have already said, this is probably for the better, since no one really wants to see actors in cat suits.

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  • Clarke
    When I see these Thundercats characters, I can't help but think of "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" on Saturday Night Live. I don't know if it wouldn't be more interesting to watch if they just made a 90 minute movie with those characters. I can't recall many Thundercats episodes. Is there a real market for this?
  • They most be hoping on the nostalgia factor. With transformers starting off the trend, I would bet they're hoping that the 20 somethings that watched this on T.V. will be going, as well as marketing it to a new generation. Even if they don't kill at the box office, they can probably make up some of that with DVD sales of the original due to new interest/press.
  • I have to disagree. The draw for Transformers, for those of us who haven't watched cartoons in a while, at least, is that there were some human actors in the middle of the CGI maelstrom. I have hope w/ the new CGI-actor interface, that James Cameron's people are developing, but I don't care what people, market speculation, or pollsters say: you need gifted film actors to pull this off. Transformers lacked the crossover appeal, b/c who really cares about Shia Lebeouff as the lead for an entire cast? And Fox? We know what she's got, but what can she really do as an actress to pull together a production that people who don't still play w/ action figures would CARE about? I know most Thundercats fans couldn't be asked to pick out a gifted actor/actress if their Momma paid them to do so, but please, keep in mind that TMNT (the CGI one) FAILED for a REASON. It's for the very same reason that Jim Henson's creations (including the first TMNT film versions) have a broad appeal. They're Actors. In Costumes. Playing Characters. Thus, it won't be until CGI can provide Costume-like armatures, that actors and actresses can climb into and manipulate, instilling their movements w/ their own talents as performers, that the greater number of people out there who don't still prefer video games over books or movies will pay attention, and see that these tools can be employed to effectively tell the amazing, character-driven stories that will stand the test of time, and be re-told and re-watched well after their fads have passed. Or, we could just have 30 yr. old single men in the crowd w/ young children, jizzing all over the screen at the Super Cool CGI. Your choice. Just give me a Black actor as Panthro (PLEASE get SOMETHING right), and a Sword of Omens that gives me Sight Beyond Sight. -Djo
  • TreyMarc
    Thundercats in CGI? HORRIBLE!!! it's going to FLOP like the last TMNT CGI movie...If you're going to bring it back on the silver screen do it in style...NO ONE wants to see the entire movie in CGI!!! ...Just look what happened to BEOWULF <-FLOPPPPED!! why? cuz the entire movie was CGI...Come on people you guys are HOLLYWOOD!!! you guys are MOVIE GENUISES!!! PLEASE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE IN ENTIRELY CGI!!! It'll be a waste of time and money!!! IRON MAN/Transformers/LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY/STAR WARS SAGA ALL WERE AMAZING SPECIAL EFFECTS!!! If movies like that can be done and look so real then there is no reason why Thundercats can be made the same way!
  • Alex VAldez
    The entire ThunderCat generation recalls and enjoys the series as an anime. It's senseless to give us another anime to commemrate it. Give us a real movie. If you want to enhance the eyes a bit with CGI that's fine. Snarf and Ma-mutt as CGI, fine. But we deserve a movie. Hollywood has no right to dissapoint a generation with laziness. We live in a day and age in Hollywood, where we're capable of anything on screen. We want to see Mumm-ra portrayed as diabolical and ruthless in the flesh just like we did with the Emperor in Star Wars. A hot youg actress as Cheetara and that sort of stuff. Hollywood needs to pull it's head out of it's a.. and give us what we want. If WB can't do it, then they should seek out a production team and a director with the will and capability to do it.
  • jason
    I agree, TMNT failed becasue it was CGI. look back at the lack of technology there was in the original TMNT era compared to now and they produce crap like the CGI version, granted teh storyline and stunts made it all but impossible for live action. sometime in the '80s they actually started filming a live action thundercats and some was leeked on the web. I downloaded it as i was looking for episodes to download for my kids, and i wont deny my nostalgic self. Anyway, all i got was what looked like a trailor and soem pretty big names for the timeframe it was filmed, but i cant for the life of me remember who and wish i coudl find it again just to giv emore details. bottomline is as big as these throwback movies are i am sure you could find several major names willing to swallow their pride for alive action thundercats movie, granted a good storyline. and as for the masters of the universe movie, im sure its mostly written, but i woudl love to see them remake the secret of the sword animated movie to live action. the story is pretty much there, put Dwayne Johnson in a blonde wig and get someone like Sarah Michelle Gellar to pull off She Ra and could probably do a really good movie, not Wolverine caliber.

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