Transformers, and the Transformation of Popular '80s Toys

At last, the Transformers have a movie. Well, they had a movie before, but they finally have a live-action movie.

The Transformers themselves won't be live-action of course. No amount of nostalgia justifies an action movie with guys in plastic robot outfits. But these days "live action" means "less than 85 percent CGI," so our transforming friends will be animated characters interacting with human beings, just like that one video where Paula Abdul dances with MC Skat Kat. Exactly like that.

Assuming the Transformers movie makes a ton of money, we're going to see a scramble in Hollywood as producers snap up the rights to any and all toys from the '80s to turn them into action-packed, PG-13 special effects retro-ganzas. I'm going to outline a few possibilities, so that once the movies get made I can file a nuisance suit and get paid off.

Jem and the Holograms

A computer virus called M.I.S.F.I.T.S. gains control of S.Y.N.E.R.G.Y, an experimental government holographic generator. The virus creates a group of artificial cybernetic beings bent on murder. In response, beautiful hacker Jessica Benton reprograms the generator to give her cybernetic enhancements and create a cadre of holographic warriors to back her up as she goes after the malevolent Misfits. Then they play crappy New Wave tunes.

Catch Phrase of the Summer: "Jem is excitement. Jem is adventure. Jem is kicking your a--."

Fan Complaints: In the original, Jessica changes into Jem by touching her earrings. In this movie she changes by touching her bracelet.

Lazer Tag

In the future, justice will be served -- with lasers! Evil gangs of thugs roam the streets -- with lasers! The Elite Lazer Tag Force is charged with stopping these immoral criminals -- with lasers! The climactic battle takes place in an enclosed, fog-filled arena -- with lasers! It looks like the good guys are about to lose, when the leader of the Elite Force realizes that he can't be hurt if he just takes off his stupid chest sensor. With, uh, lasers?

Catch Phrase of the Summer: "With lasers!"

Fan Complaint: There's no such thing as a "Lazer Grenade."

The Snorks

For the purposes of catering to a bloodthirsty-yet-nostalgic audience, the Snorks, originally lovable underwater friends, have been "re-imagined" as 40-foot, fanged underwater killing machines with poison claws and laser-blasting snorkels on the tops of their heads. After an earthquake opens up a passage from their formerly secluded homeland, the Snorks start by attacking seagoing vessels and eventually attempt to conquer the world. Will humanity survive?

Catch Phrase of the Summer: "SNOOOOORKS!"

Fan Complaint: In the original series, Allstar Seaworthy never killed a busload of school children.

The Popples

An insane maniac has nuclear devices pointed at all the major theme parks in North America. (Yes, even Canada's Wonderland.) For reasons rapidly glossed over, the would-be dictator's heavily guarded lair can only be accessed by medium-size fuzzy plush spheres. Enter the Popples, teddy bear creatures that can transform into balls by crawling into their own pouches. They are supplied with the latest in advanced weaponry and technological gadgets and sent in to stop the villain with hugs or small-arms fire or both.

Catch Phrase of the Summer: "Buddy, you just opened up a pouch full of trouble."

Fan Complaint: Party Popple did not originally have a "Born to Die" tattoo on her arm.

GoBots

Evil transforming robots are threatening mankind, so heroic transforming robots have to stop them. There will probably be some sort of mystic talisman and the army will get involved. Look, if you're going to rip something off you may as well go all the way. The main difference between this and the Transformers movie will be the inclusion of RockLords, which are robots that transform into rocks. It will not help.

Catch Phrase of the Summer: "OK, so we're not Transformers. Just ... just shut up."

Fan Complaint: Too much like the original series.

Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for himself, Lore Sjöberg eventually overcame these handicaps to listen to Billy Idol and Duran Duran while writing this.

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