Thursday, June 4, 2015

This 'n That Thursdays: Jonny Quest Movie


After I finished last week's post I thought I was done with nostalgia for a while.  Then I checked the news headlines and found out that one of my favorite childhood cartoons was one step closer to becoming a live action feature film, so here we go back down memory lane!  "Jonny Quest" was considered a very innovative cartoon for its time, as it was one of the first to feature characters that looked like real people.  The action/adventure story lines were also quite different from the standard comedic cartoon episodes of the day.  The show debuted during prime time and was meant for an adult audience as well as children.

Production problems and lack of adequate funding led to the cancellation of this animated series after one season, but the episodes then began to air on Saturday mornings, when just about all baby boomers were watching television.  I think this is when I discovered the show, and I watched every episode.  I didn't just like this cartoon, I actually wanted to be Jonny Quest!  (Someday I will have to post a rant on the lack of strong female role models in film.)  That boy had the most exciting life, traveling all over the world, meeting all sorts of interesting people and visiting all kinds of exotic locales.

Jonny was always in the company of his father, famous government scientist Dr. Benton Quest, his father's government-assigned bodyguard, "Race" Bannon, his adopted brother from India, Hadji, and even his pet bulldog, Bandit.  There was never a dull moment as Jonny and his group thwarted evil wherever they went, usually using high-tech gadgets invented by his dad against similar gadgets invented by villains.  This futuristic aspect of the show gave it a fresh and innovative appearance, and even today it sometimes seems ahead of its time.  If you have about two hours to spare and are as big a fan of this cartoon series as I am, check out this three-part documentary on YouTube and you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about "Jonny Quest":

I certainly hope the live action movie version of this cartoon favorite of mine will faithfully recreate the feel of the show and not veer too far toward a kiddie-themed version.  "Jonny Quest" was meant to be more like an action/adventure comic strip than a comedy show, although a bit of levity was usually included to lighten the tone (bad guys actually died in this cartoon!).  The best aspect of the series was that it did not dumb down the content in an attempt to appeal to children, and it would be a shame if the movie did not make the same effort.  At least the film is now closer to production with the selection of Robert Rodriguez as director, as apparently this film has been in the works for quite a while.

It will be interesting to see who they choose to play the main characters.  One article mentions that at some point Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was committed to playing Race Bannon (awesome, but how would he look with white hair?), and Zac Ephron signed on for the role of Jonny Quest (definitely too old now).  Fan suggestions for casting include Gary Oldman as Dr. Benton Quest (yes, I can see that) and Angelina Jolie as recurring character Jezebel Jade (yes again, but oh that character name).  If any of these actors are chosen for the roles, filming had better get started soon, as they aren't getting any younger (happy 40th birthday, Angelina)!

I have to say that I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of this movie, and I sure hope that I won't be disappointed!

And who will be chosen to play Bandit?
(from Vimeo)

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