There are two elements to this bit of news. One, they’re making a live-action/animation hybrid of Hong Kong Phooey. What does that mean? It means that instead of using traditional animation to make a feature length film, Alcon Entertainment will be making something that resembles the original cartoon instead of actually looking like it. Imagine the difference between the cartoon Smurfs and the ones that ended up walking around New York City.
Therein lies a major problem with updating animated characters. There is a mile-wide gap between the character as people know and love them, and the character as restylized through a computer.
But not to fear, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Eddie Murphy will be stepping behind the gi to voice the kung fu fighting dog of 70s fame. In the original cartoon, Penry was a janitor that cast off his mild-mannered alter ego and became Hong Kong Phooey whenever there was trouble.
There’s not much to say about Murphy doing the voice. He’s found a lot of success voicing Donkey for Shrek, but he’s such a chore to listen to at this point. He’s a tedious comedian that aims for the lowest common denominator, even in his children’s fare. It’s all so obvious, and it makes stuff like Eddie Murphy Raw look even more brilliant.
No word yet on who will voice Spot the Striped Cat, but here’s a video of Sublime singing the Hong Kong Phooey theme song: