MovieBob - Intermission
Film This Chick Stuff! Part Two: Film It!

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 19 Nov 2010 16:00
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Rainbow Brite

Premise: Young girl with color-based superpowers rules a fantasy kingdom responsible for maintaining the world's color-spectrum, fights monochromatic bad guys and the occasional alien dictator. Also, she has a horse ... because.

Prospects: Good. Viewed objectively, the whole thing plays out with alarming similarities to Geoff Johns' universe-expansion of Green Lantern, (Blackest Night in particular) and if he's getting a movie there's no reason why this can't. If nothing else, it's a novel genre-mix where the lead character is both a leader and first line of defense.

Like most female/younger-kid characters, Rainbow's adventures were usually subdued scuffles with minor-irritant enemies, but a feature film spinoff The Star Stealer dropped her straight into Star Wars territory with decent enough results.

She-Ra

Premise: He-Man's twin sister leads an underground rebellion against dictators on an alien planet.

Prospects: Low. Not that the character isn't interesting, essentially going from Girl Darth Vader to Girl Luke Skywalker over the course of her origin, or lacking in colorful allies and enemies, but let's face it: They aren't signing off on this until they've made a successful (new) He-Man movie, and that project has stalled out at least twice already.

Strawberry Shortcake

Premise: Young woman of indeterminate age and friends, all named and themed around fruity baked goods, live in a utopian magic land (why does that sound so familiar?) occasionally bothered by a Purple Pie Man who bears a suspicious resemblance to the Worst Video Game Character Ever.

Prospects: Iffy. Maybe if someone came up with a broader mythology for who these kids are, why all the foodmaking is so all-important and what the Pie Man's issue is, sure. Otherwise? Who really knows, at this point - they're making a Battleship movie, after all.

Barbie

Premise: Inhumanly-proportioned blonde achieves greatness in all known fields of career and study despite crippling handicap of being born without knees.

Prospects: Huge, yet unlikely. Mattel has flirted with a live-action Barbie movie for decades, but the fact is the amount of money the property is worth as-is dwarfs anything a risky feature version might make back, and they're petrified of damaging the brand. Frankly, I don't see how it works if it's not some sort of self-aware affectionate satire, like The Brady Bunch movies - and there's no way her owners would ever sign off on that. The best Barbie movie anyone could ever make has probably already been made as Legally Blonde.

Fun Fact: How protective is Mattel of Barbie? They actually turned Disney down for license to use her in the first Toy Story (hence, Bo-Peep), and only changed their mind for Part 2 after seeing how drastically the film increased sales of Mr. Potato Head.

Obviously I got a lot more suggestions than could ever be encapsulated in one piece, so if your favorite pick didn't make the list don't take it as any kind of dismissal - this is just a sampling, after all. For the sake of space, I left out things that already have movies solidly in development, including American Girl, Sweet Valley High, etc. I'll also note that I got a lot of nods toward comic book heroines (Wonder Woman and the Birds of Prey especially), books (Tamora Pierce and Astrid Lindgren came up quite a bit), and videogames (Carmen Sandiego) which didn't make the full list because they're really part of separate, bigger discussions (re: comic, book and game movies) that I'm sure we'll have soon enough.

But overall, I'd say we did our job: Hollywood, if you're listening, this should make it fairly clear that there's a huge market out there that you're ignoring; and both you and they are all the poorer for it. So get on it, already!

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

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