CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS Live-Action Feature Lands at Sony

     June 27, 2013

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Well it’s finally happened: a property we’ve suggested on Hollywood! Adapt This! has found a major studio home.  Sony is reportedly in final negotiations for Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a live-action feature based on the 1990s environmentally-oriented cartoon series.  The adaptation was initially reported almost two years ago, but the involvement of a major studio is a big win for Cap fans.  Mark Gordon, Don Murphy and Susan Montford are on board to produce.  The series centered on five teens from around the world who were chosen to be the bearers of powerful elemental rings which would help them battle looters and polluters.  When the threat was too great for them to handle on their own, they combined their powers to summon the mighty Don Cheadle Captain Planet, who then took pollution down to zero.  Hit the jump for more.

Heat Vision reports that captain-planet-matiCaptain Planet and the Planeteers is all but locked up for Sony.  It’s far too early to report on screenwriters and possible story angles, let alone directors and cast members, but at the same time, this is a great moment in time for this particular tale.  Not only are there plenty of real world events for screenwriters to draw from (ie franchisability), an almost guaranteed international box office success to bank on (with leads taken from all of the world’s major markets), and a rare opportunity to educate a new generation of environmentalists, there’s a chance here to darken the tone of the story and make it resonate with more real-world implications.

I know, I know, you’re saying, “Every other time you open your mouth, you say that movies today are too ‘gritty and realistic!’ Make up your mind!”  That’s a fair point.  When it comes to most comic book adaptations, I often ask, “Why so serious?”  But for something as important as the environmental state of our world, I lean strongly in favor of “impactful and realistic.”  Captain Planet certainly had an impact on youths back in the day, but its lasting effect is up for debate.  Now, the filmmakers are presented with a unique opportunity to do something worthwhile and entertaining.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this is the direction they’ll aim for, though I’m well-aware that box office dollars will weigh more heavily on their scales.  If nothing else, this project has moved to the forefront of my curiosities as the studio’s selection of screenwriters and a director will establish what sort of tone they’re going for.  It will also be interesting to see how closely the adaptation sticks to the original series in its casting.  This is another case where I feel a strong adaptation will serve the story better than a direct translation.  Do I need to see a smart-mouthed doofus from Brooklyn named Wheeler or a two-dimensional Soviet cardboard cutout cutie?  No.  Do I need to see international characters who experience real emotional suffering as a result of environmental destruction?  Yes, please!  (If you can’t tell, I’m heavily invested in this project already, so feel free to engage in a discussion in the comments below!)

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