Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hong Kong Phooey: The Movie?

Don't laugh, because it may in fact happen. There was an article that I read online the other day that said that Warner Bros. was planning a feature film based on the 1974 Hanna-Barbera cartoon about a canine superhero who couldn't catch the bad guys without the timely aid of his sidekick, a cat.

Now, this is not the first time there've been rumors of a movie based on the series. A few years ago, in what amounted to a lame April Fool's Day joke, there was a rumor that had David Spade attached to a Hong Kong Phooey movie, presumably as the voice of the title character, though I'm not so sure about that. Yes, it's HKP's 35th anniversary this year, but if it's mostly live-action, that means HKP will be a CGI character, like Scooby-Doo was in his 2 live-action films. I don't think Warners wants to make the same mistake Disney did 2 years ago with their version of Underdog. However, I don't think, either, that it would sell to today's audience. Warners would be well advised to make this a direct-to-video movie.

It falls under the heading of "questionable decisions" by the studio, regardless. Another one is the casting of teen heartthrob Zac Efron ("High School Musical") as 60's adventure hero Jonny Quest. I'm sorry, but unless the story has Jonny in college and on the verge of getting married, Efron is not a perfect fit. I realize that this is a case of taking a hot commodity (Efron) and putting him in a movie about an iconic character from the baby boomer era of the 60's, but that is just short-sighted thinking. It's almost as if they didn't bother with an open casting call of local kids 10-12 who would be more appropriate for the part!!! It's all about the money, and hoping that Efron is enough of a selling point. Not in this case. He'd be a square peg in a round hole, and that always spells trouble. It'd be better if Warners suits take a longer look at the projects and how to cast the characters more appropriately, not relying on the trends. And Warners should know better than anyone. After all, they took a chance on a soap opera actor as Superman 31 years ago, and, well, you know how well that worked.

So why is Hollywood creatively bankrupt these days? Not enough attention is paid to research in developing projects. How else to explain a zillion movies that all seem like they came out of the same cookie cutter? Translated, if the Quest & Phooey movies do make it to the big screen, they're doomed to fail. No other explanation may be needed.


Rev. Phantom said...

Well seeing as though Scatman Crothers won't be able to provide the voice, I'd have no interest in a film version. lol

I did love that cartoon as a kid though.

hobbyfan said...

I think they could probably get David Alan Grier or one of the Wayans brothers to fill in. However, Rev., I don't see this as box office gold. It won't be, ah, "panrific"!