Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Disney, Warners, SOMEONE make these movies

Over the last few years there's been an explosion in superhero movies, what with The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four and so on. What there haven't been are many action-packed films for the younger set or, even better, the whole family. There was The Derivatives - sorry, The Incredibles, about a fantastic family. There was Sky High, which saw teen rivalries transplanted to a School For Gifted Youngsters With Less Angst. And there was . . . hmm, how about I get back to you?

But there are at least two properties from DC Comics which seem tailor made for the family audience - Dial H For Hero and Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. While Dial H has never been a massive hit, it's had several solid runs. It's been tried three times, in the Sixties, the Eighties and the Noughties - three generations of creators have been drawn to the idea of a magic dial granting its possessor super powers for a short time, simply by dialling H-E-R-O. Further twiddles of the H-dial have brought us H-E-R-O-I-N-E, H-O-R-R-O-R, V-I-L-L-A-I-N and more. Tell me that wouldn't make a fine fun-filled romp (or, if you want things a bit more messagey, dial H-E-R-O-I-N. Or perhaps not). Ignore Robby Reed and use versions of Eighties characters Chris and Vicky, with H-dial watch and necklace, for dual gender appeal, add some nasty kids trying to get their hands on the transformers, a soccer mom, comical grandfather, dog . . . the trinkets can go through various hands, wreaking chaos everywhere. There'd be obvious merchandising potential via a dozen or so super-characters to fit various dolls, his and her H-dials and so on.

Then there's Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E, the first comic series written by Geoff Johns, featuring teen cosmic girl Courtney Whitmore and her metal-suited stepdad Pat Dugan. As well as fun heroics - who doesn't like a sassy lassie and a grumpy robot? - there's a nice character arc as Court and Pat realise there's more to each other than boring stepdad and snotty kid. I'd ignore the Second World War ties of the original Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, so as not to stretch credibility in terms of Pat's age, but certainly show them as having been in action about 20 years back in a pre-credits sequence. Court's main rival, Shiv, would be ignored as she was dull and her name invites a spot of consonant swapping. I've no idea who I'd replace her with, but I'm sure screenwriter Geoff Johns - well, this would make a fun assignment for him after his upcoming Flash co-writing gig - could come up with someone suitable.

And again, think of the toy potential. A S.T.R.I.P.E. action figure with all kinds of attachments, Star-Spangled Kid doll with a Barbie-style wardrobe . . .

As for actors, the Disney Channel is constantly grooming - oh dear, there must be a better term - young moppets for TV and multi-media stardom, so by the time these movies are made there'll be a new Miley Cyrus or Hilary Duff available to step up. Heck, there's no real reason Dial H's kids have to both be white/be white at all. And if they start out white, they can always be replaced by non-white actors at various points in the film, so that leaves room for the next Raven Symone.

So that's two family films right there. Any more for any more?

4 comments:

  1. The adventures of Power Girl and Cat!

    Any of DC's Marvels, as long as they weren't done in "modern" style.

    Impulse.

    Legion of Super-Heroes (in their original bright universe).

    The Wonder Family, guest-starring Mr. Genie.

    The wacky world of Ryan Choi, aka Atom!

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  2. Mart,

    Two things:
    1. One of the films you were searching in your introductory paragraph might be "Zoom" which starred Tim Allen...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_(film)

    You've probably forgotten it because... well, did I mention it starred Tim Allen? I'm not sure if it got a UK theatrical release.

    You might also include the Spy Kids films (Disney) here, if you're being generous with your genre boundaries.

    2. The possibility of a Dial H For Hero movie featuring an ordinary boy able to access multiple superheroic identities using a wristwatch dial has rather been scuppered by Ben 10, a cartoon concerning an ordinary boy able to access multiple superheroic identities using a wristwatch dial. Joe Casey and Joe Kelly were among the "originators".

    Which annoys the heck out of me 'cause I love Dial H for Hero in its second incarnation with Chris and Vicky. "Sorry Vicky, we ran out of 'girl powers' coz all our readers are boys this month. Again."

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  3. Yeah, Zoom . . . I thought I was missing something (apart from a brain). Ta.

    So that's what Ben 10 is!

    A pal of mine once designed a settee for Dial H . . .

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  4. One obvious item left off your list (possible because it's from Marvel) and one that might acutally see the light of day now that the Mouse is in the House

    POWER PACK: The Movie

    some ideas ... auctually I've got nothing. I'm not that up on current teen / pre-teen celebs.

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