The 39 Clues may not have been on my radar, but it’s definitely a successful series of kids books that combines literature, card collecting, and online gameplay to tell the story of an ancient family that has influenced most of human history. Brett Ratner has signed on to adapt the books into a film, which reads something like National Treasure and Harry Potter mixer, as varying houses within the massive Cahill family vie for clues that lead to the chemical compound that is the source of the family’s power. Treasure hunting, globe-trotting Amy and Dan Cahill are the respective 14 and 11-year old sibling protagonists, who apparently must fuck over the rest of their family in a global scavenger hunt to become all-powerful.
Frankly, the premise sounds a little creepy, even if does pave the way for fun adventuring. That combined with the whole ancillary card collecting thing all sounds brilliantly capitalistic, and right up Ratner’s ally. It’s clearly seen as a franchise with massive potential, and it was originally acquired and developed as a Spielberg-project, but you know how most of those turn out. Ratner will gear up for 39 Clues soon, since his Tower Heist film is about done.
I’m sure the producers wouldn’t like this, but the project also reminds me of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which would be a shame, since that was an excellent kids series that was squandered with a thin franchise launch. I’m sure everyone involved is hoping for more of a Potter scenario, but hey, aren’t we all?
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