Top ’80s Cartoons that Deserve a Movie

Last time, I wrote a post about Top ’80s Cartoons That Deserve a Reboot.  Ever since then, I’ve been planning to write a second post about the cartoons that deserve a revival but would fit more in a movie than a new series.  I’m not saying the others weren’t good enough to deserve a movie in their own right, but these five cartoons have just the right mix of compelling stories and compact casts that would do best on the silver screen. Here are my Top ’80s cartoons that deserve a movie:

Spiral Zone

When the villainous Overlord flipped on a series of Zone Generators across the globe, he turned half the world’s population into mindless zombies – only he can control their every move.  The Zone Riders are the only defense against Overlord and his Black Widows as they try to take down the generators and return free will to the Earth’s people.

The Reason

The zombie trend in movies and television might be dwindling, but I think giving the bad guy complete control over them is enough of a game-changer to make it stand out in the otherwise boring zombie landscape.

The Movie

I’d get rid of the Black Widows and make the Zoners (the zombies within the Spiral Zone) the primary bad guys under Overlord’s complete mental control.  Of course, there’s no danger for the Zone Riders of getting eaten alive by the Overlord’s army, this would for the good guys to have to wade through them to get to Overlord instead of the usual running away to survive another day zombie formula. I’d also update the Zone Riders by getting rid of their ridiculous gear and focusing on the characters’ tragedies, like Tank who lost his son in the Zone, possibly even using them against the heroes in the final act.

Bravestarr

Marshall Bravestarr is the only lawman on the entire planet of New Texas and uses his spirit powers to call on the planet’s animal abilities – Strength of the Bear, Ears of the Wolf, Eyes of the Hawk, and Speed of the Puma.  The outlaw Tex Hex leads the Carrion Gang in stealing the planet’s rich Kerium resources

The Reason

Westerns are a dying breed, but I think adding the sci-fi elements into the mix could make for some real interesting stories, like Guardians of the Galaxy have shown us.  And as much as people are still clamoring for Firefly to come back, this might be as close as we can get.

The Movie

I’d go the route of the original Bravestarr movie and show an origin story for him and Tex Hex, maybe making them known to each other before going to their respective mentors – the Shaman for Bravestarr and Stampede, the Broncosaur spirit for Tex.  The main story would be a huge heist that Bravestarr has to stop alone.  Not sure how I’d throw Thirty-Thirty in there, though.

Another reason I’d make it is representation.  Native Americans hardly get any kind of presence in comic book/cartoon adaptation.  The only one I can think of off the top of my head is New Mutants and even that has two problems. 1) the character is mocked throughout the whole film because of her heritage and 2) it was in New Mutants -nobody saw that mess.  This would be a chance to give Native Americans some positive screentime.

Centurions

Ace McCloud, Jake Rockwell, and Max Ray use their advanced weapon systems to save the world from Doc Terror, who wishes to wipe out humanity and replace the Earth’s population with robots.  Beamed down from the satellite Sky Vault, the weapons grant each of the heroes mastery of air, ground, and sea as they fight Terror’s army of Doom Drones.

The Reason

I’m thinking with the popularity of Iron Man in the Marvel movies, you can’t go wrong with heroes that have a bunch of different techno suits.  The cast of Centurions is small enough that it would be easy to have them all appear in the movie without any losses.  Except maybe that damned orangutan.  

The Movie

I’d start with Doc Terror already having taken control of the world with his Doom Drones having culled most of the human race.  Ace, Jake, and Ray are part of the resistance and somehow make contact with Crystal, a lone survivor living on a long-forgotten weapons satellite.   It takes them a while to get used to their new suits, but after that, it’s all robot carnage.  My favorite part would be a new Hacker, Doc Terror’s crony, this time reimagined into a massive cybernetic body capable of taking on all three heroes at once.

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

The Galaxy Rangers police the stars, determined to stop the Crown Empire from expanding her empire with Slaver Lords – telepathic manifestations of their leader, the Queen of the Crown, created from mind-controlled captives. Rangers Foxx, Goose, Niko, and Doc patrol space fighting a huge cast of criminals that spans the stars.

The Reason

I debated not having this on the list since we already have a space cowboy movie with Bravestarr. Since this show is all about spacefaring instead of being stranded on one planet, I think it deserves a shot of its own.  While Bravestarr focuses on one lawman, Galaxy Rangers has a squad of them, each with their own power.  Besides the “No Guts, No Glory” deserves an update since it’s the best cartoon theme song to ever be written.

The Movie

I’d keep the focus on Foxx, whose wife is captured, and he has to find her.  While the cartoon never did reunite the two of them even after 65 episodes, I’d make sure Foxx got her back by the end of the movie.  However, I would expand on each of the characters, making sure to give plenty of screen time to Goose, whose powers are the flashiest of the group, being to adapt to almost any dangerous situation he can be put in.  Again, I’m not sure how their horses would look on the big screen.

Dungeons & Dragons

When six kids go on a roller coaster, they’re sucked into another dimension where sword and sorcery rule.  The enigmatic Dungeon Master gives them magic weapons and sends them off to fight the evil wizard Venger.

The Reason

There have been a number of movies trying to bring Dungeons & Dragons to life, but they’ve been terrible – unlike the cartoon which is pretty damned good and has one of the best villains in it.  Why not just build on the cartoon?

The Movie

Just do the cartoon!  Take six kids, throw them in a fantasy land, and give them some magic powers.  Heck, they did it for a car commercial in Brazil and it looked freaking amazing!  Just make sure to give us a good Venger and make sure the kids actually take him out in the end, which the cartoon tried to do in an unproduced series finale.

About Brian Cave 9 Articles
Raised in the 80s on a strict diet of the most awesome cartoons to ever exist, Brian is the author of Old School Evil, a novel inspired by the likes of Megatron, Skeletor, and the other colorful villains that held our Saturday mornings captive.