Six 80’s Cartoons That Really Should Be Movies
Bit of a Ronseal title, that one. The wave of 80’s nostalgia continues to stretch (or so it seems) in perpetuity – just recently we’ve had Fame, G.I. Joe and of course, Transformers hitting the multiplexes. Like a Ray Harryhausen skeleton, there’s bound to be more, and what better way to decide what gets made than on the merit of the opening sequence alone? Can’t be any more arbitrary than the way Hollywood decides. HA! You got burned, Hollywood.
6: Star Fleet
Deserving of a place by virtue of being wholly baffling alone, Star Fleet is what happens when Japan decides to make Thunderbirds whilst only subsisting solely on saki and psilocybin. If that wasn’t enough, you’ve got some genuinely awesome spaceships whizzing about, a massive red robot that runs on Windows Kickass, a bad guy with a psychotic talking eyepatch and – if the shot seventeen seconds into the opening is to be believed – puppets that can’t salute. Yet all this is kicked into insignificance by a hero with what is quite possibly the finest and manliest name in the history of fiction: Barry Hercules. Hell, he deserves a film on his own.
5: Ulysses 31
KAPOW! Here’s a double whammy for you – we start off, naturally enough, with a spoken intro that neatly meshes the distant, gleaming technocracy of the 31st Century with a practical guide to pissing off Ancient Olympian Gods. Then, 45 seconds in, we’re treated to some truly stupendous fretwanking as the real titles ramp up, designed with the express intention of blowing your mind from the top of your skull like a tin of beans in a vice. Hollywood should be all over this. You’ve got Cosmic Jesus as a leading man, a spaceship straight from an optician’s febrile nightmare and PSYCHIC BLUE SPACE BABES. Might be an idea to lose the tiresome comedy robot, though. He makes Jar Jar Binks look like David Niven.
4: Trap Door
“Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions…” If you didn’t sing – proudly and loudly – with the theme tune, there’s cigarette ash where your soul should be. For sheer charm alone, Pixar should’ve optioned The Trap Door years ago. CGIing this baby wouldn’t do it any favours, though – the stop-motion animation still stands up to this day. The story of Bert, put-upon servant of “The Thing Upstairs”, The Trap Door served as a scathing Capitalist analogy rendered entirely in plasticine, with the trap door itself representing the exploitation of the workers by an oppressive hegemonic regime. A camp skull provides the chuckles.
The second of today’s puppet-based entries, Terrahawks is everything the smug, effete Tracy brothers wanted to be. Any show that depicts your antagonist being built up from a nude brain with corpselike eyes in the titles is gonna punt Virgil and his laughably visible strings into orbit with n’ary a thought. Then there’s the chest-swelling theme tune, yet more awesome spaceships and an array of bad guys intricately carved from fresh-squeezed, ice cold midnight terror. But it gets better: Terrahawks ultimately trumps the pansies at International Rescue by virtue of its central character Dr. “Tiger” Ninestein being a callous, belligerent bastard who hates all his staff.
2: The Mysterious Cities of Gold
In a similar way that Ulysses 31 mixed Greek myth and sci-fi, The Mysterious Cities of Gold was a careful blend of character-driven historical romance and indiscriminate batshit insanity. The story of three kids seconded to a Spanish galleon in the 16th Century began as a swashbuckling jaunt to find the fabled city of El Dorado. The writers then decided that the only natural and logical progression of such a narrative had to include Atlantis, cryogenically-frozen alien warlords and all-out thermonuclear war. Presumably they’d already spent money on animating the stars ‘n’ stuff in the titles, so we guess it makes sense.
1: Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
Here it is: The Big Enchilada. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors opens with a power ballad so tub-thumpingly mighty in scope and execution it makes The Final Countdown sound like piss dribbling onto a tin roof. Who wouldn’t want to see an overgrown, Mekon-headed plant-man hybrid transform before our very eyes into a funky-ass van armed with a whacking great circular saw? Or the thorny tendrils of the Monster Minds stretching across the vastness of goddamn space? This has gone beyond wishful thinking and wistful nostalgia: we demand this film. A world without a Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors movie is not a world we wish to live in. A man can only be pushed so far. Jason Isaacs to star.