Last week, Justin Marks talked to MTV's Movie Blog about the upcoming adaptation of "He-Man" that he is writing. Some interesting stuff is talked about, like the fact that the movie is going to be called "Grayskull." Here's an excerpt:
“I grew up on the ‘He-Man’ cartoon and watched ‘He-Man’ six days a week. The notion that I think we most took from the cartoon are the characters, and trying to find a way that is true to them,” he said of his planned adaptation, which is currently in development at Warner Brothers. “Now, at the same time, we had to come up with why that is the way it is. I mean you’re talking about sword-and-sandal meets science fiction meets fantasy meets everything, and how does that all kind of blend into the same world? And so we had to come up with very specific rules that explained why Trapjaw looks the way he looks, and why Cyclops — who is awesome — looks the way he looks.”
Now this is pretty much exactly what I was affraid of when I first heard about this movie. The only reason he should have to explain why Trapjaw looks like Trapjaw is that he has a good story for it, because otherwise it's just not necessary. There's a whole host of unbelievably silly things about "He-Man," and no one movie could possibly hope to justify every single one of them. The MTV Movie Blog compares Marks' approach to "Batman Begins," and mentions that this style of reinvention has been copied for reboots of the James Bond, Red Sonja and RoboCop franchises. Now, I can't speak to Red Sonja and RoboCop, but I can say that "Batman Begins" and "Casino Royale" may have been reboots, but they were by no means reinventions. They were a return to form for characters and franchises that fell in popularity because they were overtaken by silliness. "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" was already silly!
At the end of the day, Marks is still going to be stuck with ridiculous characters that have overly literal names. I think it would be better to just run with it and hope you have a good enough story that people find this stuff charming instead of distracting. And let's not forget that "He-Man" is supposed to be for kids. I'm not saying it can't appeal to adults too, because I think the best kids' movies do, but if they make a "He-Man" movie that isn't appropriate for kids, they they aren't being true to the property or the characters. Do you know what reason kids need for a guy adding bionic parts to himself? That it's cool.
I like the fact that the movie is called "Grayskull" though. It reminds me "Greystoke," that Tarzan movie from the '80s with Christopher Lambert. Also, it kind of shifts the importance away from He-Man a bit, which is cool since he's kind of a tool and is deffinitely way less awesome than Skeletor. He's also way less awesome than She-Ra, who isn't getting a movie, but should.
Justin Marks also wrote the upcoming "Green Arrow: Supermax," or whatever it's being called now, and the Voltron adaptation that Fox may buy. I look forward to seeing how he explains why it's a good idea to make a movie about Green Arrow where he can't shoot any arrows, and why the girl always has to wear pink while the boys get to wear uniforms that match their vehicles.