A Film Becomes a Commercial...By the Power of Greyskull!

A while back, a certain director that I won’t name made a film based on a set of plastic toys from the 1980s that was completely devoid of plot yet exploded at the box office as a major blockbuster.

(See, I gave you a hint at which movie I’m talking about – if you re-arrange the letters of that sentence, it spells out T-R-A-N-S-F-O-R-M-E-R-S! Try it at home!)

Now, producer par example Joel Silver and Warners are moving forward with their adaptation of another plastic toy from the 1980s: Masters of the Universe. John Stevenson, who made his big screen debut with Kung Fu Panda will make this his sophomore follow-up, although, the guy has a much longer list of credentials outside of the director’s chair.

Stevenson is a good choice, he’s a good storyteller, but that’s not what worries me. What worries me is that, according to Variety, the project will be Executively Produced by Mattel representative Barry Waldo (totally his actual, real name).

I have no idea how involved Waldo will be or where one might be able to find him on set, but I get anxious to see such blatant corporate interest embedded so deeply in the storytelling process. Product placement is one annoying thing. Creating a two-hour, $100 million commercial for a children’s toy is another. The company is also entrusting Silver and Warners with their Hot Wheels film concept. Seriously.

Say what you will about He-Man, but at least there’s a plot to work with there and not just fast cars to build a story around. Maybe they’ll talk! Call Pixar, maybe they’ll want to be involved!

I assume there will be a Hamburglar film concept floated to Silver soon, and hopefully Christopher Nolan will be able to direct. Actually, I demand it.

What do you think? Is there anyway that the focus of the film won’t just be on selling as many crappy toys as possible? How overtly can a company shill its product using a mainstream artistic medium?


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