Readers undoubtedly recall the news about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stan Lee joining forces to make a comic book/animated TV series called The Governator that broke last week. Given the timing of the announcement (just before April 1st) and the unabashedly goofy nature of the project, I had a difficult time envisioning it as being anything but a fake news announcement.
It turns out the joke was... on me, I suppose. The Governator is not only a real thing, it's going to be realized as an Internet program, comic book, cartoon series, AND a 3D feature-length film. There's even a trailer for the animated series online now.
Schwarzenegger spoke out at a MIPTV press conference this morning and Deadline has learned that the Governator animated series will launch with 52 episodes in late 2012, followed by a 3D movie version that looks prepped to hit theaters in early 2013. The aging action star also mentioned that (naturally) he will be the voice of his cartoon counterpart - and the implication seems to be that he'll do the same in the Governator film, which presumably won't be live-action.
In case you had forgotten, The Governator revolves around Ah-nuld, who has left his post as governor of California and decided to use state-of-the-art technology in order to battle evildoers. Along for the ride will be numerous teen sidekicks - including 13-year-old computer whiz Zeke Muckerberg - and an organization of villains that goes by the acronym (no joke) G.I.R.L.I.E Men.
Check out the Governator trailer (via Worst Previews - that joke writes itself) below:
My first impression? In terms of animation style and overall tone, The Governator looks like a fake TV show that would be featured on The Boondocks - albeit, one that is unintentionally lame and that leaves your brain feeling broken when you realize that it wants to be (sort of) taken seriously.
Once you get past the sheer silliness of... well, this whole thing, the question has to be asked: Can The Governator actually amount to something more than just a joke based almost entirely on the public's familiarity with Schwarzenegger's pop culture legacy?
[caption id="attachment_108529" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Schwarzenegger and Lee are the minds behind 'The Governator'."][/caption]
This isn't the first time Lee has devised a crime-fighter character based on and voiced by a specific celebrity (see: Stripperella - or, rather, don't), and The Governator is clearly meant to be a campy creation. The problem with intentionally aiming to be overtly campy is that it only really works when the writing is quite sharp and clever - otherwise, you end up with Frank Miller's The Spirit.
The other problem I foresee The Governator having is that it's mostly just a play on Schwarzenegger's onscreen persona - and hasn't that already been done so many times on shows like SNL, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and by just about every other talk show host or comedian you can think of?
We'll find out if there's more to The Governator over the next couple of years - how does it look to you so far?