Why did almost every 80s kid rush home after school and get up early on Saturdays? Because the cartoons were totally rad! Cartoons existed to sell toys and cereal, and we ate it up like it was going out of style. Unfortunately, like much of the 80s, it actually did go out of style. Recent and upcoming big screen flicks are revitalizing the stories many of us remember from childhood – G.I. Joe, a Ghostbusters reboot, Transformers, and even Jem and the Holograms to name a few. Some are awesome, some are passable, and some don’t even stick to the original plots at all. So I caveat this article a bit: These would make awesome live-action movies so long as big Hollywood producers don’t spew their “artistic liberties” all over them.
Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
The 80s gave us no shortage of convertible, fighting vehicles. Jayce leads his valiant Lightning League in an ongoing battle against the evil alien Monster Minds and their leader, Saw Boss. A movie script was actually created for this one and shelved. Unfortunately, that means that the series was left unresolved when it was cancelled in 1985. Do you hear that Hollywood? Lots of opportunity here!
The units of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (M.A.S.K.) fight diligently against the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem (V.E.N.O.M.) using high-tech, mobile military weaponry cleverly disguised as regular cars, trucks and airplanes. Admittedly, a bit of back story would be necessary as the cartoon left the history of these organizations to the imagination.
When earth scientists discover crashed alien technology and develop high-powered fighting machines, the rest of the galaxy takes note and we’re soon under siege by the Robotech Masters. Anime movies were released with very little success in 1986 and 1987, but our appetites for this kind of flick are much more refined today. Supposedly, Sony Pictures might have something of a live-action Robotech movie franchise in the works.
The Thundercats are a race of cat-like aliens just trying to fit in on Earth. Unfortunately, they were tracked through space by evil mutants who are now hunting them down. Cats, aliens, evil mutants… this is like Internet overload.
Outer space meets wild west. Marshall Bravestarr is a Native American with ancestral powers that give him superhuman abilities. His horse, 30-30, is actually a robot who can walk on his hind legs and handle a gun. The space cowboy genre has been done in live action (Firefly, anyone?) but this one adds robots and super powers.
There you have it – my picks for 80s ‘toons that would make awesome live-action movies. If there are more you would love to see, tell me about them in the comments!