Even when I was a kid I thought Captain Planet was dumb.
While I’m not among the kids whose parents wouldn’t let them watch a show about anti-corporate eco-terrorists*, I did usually find something else to watch or go pull out the Legos when the big blue conservationist showed up. I must have been in the minority as a kid though, as the show was apparently enough of a hit in the 90s that Transformers producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford have targeted it for a blockbuster movie adaptation.
The show followed a similar format to another 90s kids show (that will surely get a grittier blockbuster reboot one day as well), Power Rangers. That’s to say that it focused on a group of young people that get routinely wrapped up in evil doings, do all they can to handle the situation, and then it all escalates into an event that requires a more powerful deus ex machina to manifest itself. Instead of calling a collection of giant robots though, it was a blue, spandex-wearing, green-mulleted weirdo that appeared at the behest of the kids. He was called using the power of the kid’s rings, each of which was powered by a different element: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart. So yeah, there’s also a sort of Green Lantern element to this whole scenario as well. I doubt that was part of the pitch.
If the show sounds like the kind of thing an old person with an agenda might come up with, it’s because it was the brainchild of Ted Turner, who pushed for the cartoon to endear ecological values to children. Not a bad idea obviously, but the resulting show was profoundly lame. Regardless, his pull brought in a lot of celebrity voices and kept the show going for six season, with a movie even rumored many years ago. Now it’s real as Murphy and co. throw their considerable weight behind it.
It’s difficult for me to imagine what this movie will end up looking like, or how it could possibly be successful. It’s probably much easier to envision when you’re on the other side of a billion dollar success story that has already turned a cheesy kids property into something huge. Will it work on the Planeteers though? I’m skeptical.
*I’m not making that shit up- I know of at least three people my age whose childhoods were spared because of saturday morning right-wing paranoia.