With so many old-fashioned animated TV shows having made the jump to the big screen in recent years, the news that Captain Planet is getting a cinematic makeover shouldn’t come as too big a shock.
Cartoon Network is joining forces with production company Angry Filmworks to begin development of a live-action Captain Planet movie, based on the popular environmental superhero animated series from the early 1990s.
Angry Filmworks is headed by producer Don Murphy and his partner, Susan Montford. Murphy worked behind the scenes on all three of Michael Bays’s Transformers movies, while both he and Montford are involved with this year’s other giant robot action flick, Real Steel.
For those of you unfamiliar with Captain Planet (or who have blocked memories of the series from your mind), here’s some background information on the show, from Cartoon Network’s official press release:
In an effort to inform younger viewers about serious environmental issues, legendary cable entrepreneur Ted Turner partnered with DIC Enterprises in 1990 to create the world’s first animated environmental series, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers.” The series was about a group of young people who combine their special powers (The Planeteers) to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero, to battle the world’s worst eco-villains.
“Captain Planet and the Planeteers” premiered in fall 1990, airing domestically and internationally in syndication and on cable networks TBS and TNT. Six full seasons of the series were produced in the original run of the series, featuring the voice talents of multiple guest celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg (Gaia), Meg Ryan (Dr. Blight), Martin Sheen (Sly Sludge), Edward Asner (Hoggish Greedly), James Coburn (Looten Plunder), Dean Stockwell (Duke Nukem) and Sting (Zarm). Winning multiple Environmental Media Awards across its production, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” also scored several Daytime Emmy nominations.
As you undoubtedly picked up from that description, Captain Planet was never a subtle show when it came to teaching younger viewers about how to properly care for the environment and be responsible about their use of natural resources. Despite its overly-preachy nature, the old-school animated series was indeed a big hit back in the ’90s. Nowadays, it mostly just has nostalgic value (good and bad) for the generation of people who grew up watching it – like the majority of animated shows that are being turned into feature-length productions.
A Captain Planet movie would likely be an effect-heavy production that uses modern CGI and digital animation to realize the powers of The Planeteers (who can controls elements like earth, wind, fire, water, and…um, heart, with their magical rings) and the titular flying super-powered hero, on the big screen. So imagine a film that combines computer-generated effects from films like The Day After Tomorrow, The Last Airbender, and Superman, and you’ll have a rough idea of what a Captain Planet movie could offer, in terms of visual spectacle (for better or for worse).
While Transformers was both a major marketing tie-in success and hit animated TV series before it was turned into a live-action franchise, Captain Planet was only ever the latter. Expect the eventual box office returns for the film adaptation to reflect that difference.
Source: Cartoon Network
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