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June 7, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | June 7, 2007 |

Well, it was only two weeks ago that I wrote here about another possible film version of Masters of the Universe, and as if sensing confusion and displeasure at having what was once a fun part of my childhood plundered for box-office gain, Hollywood has now seen fit to adapt another icon of 1980s animation used to push toys on kids. That’s right, folks: Here comes Thundercats. Bowing in 1983 and running sporadically through the end of the decade, “Thundercats” followed a group of anthropomorphized feline people who fled their dying planet to find new life on Earth, only to be pursued by other animals and mutants who wanted to kill them for no real reason. Led by Lion-O, whose leather undies could rival He-Man’s for sheer flaming closeted wonder, the Thundercats ran around and fought bad guys like the mummy Mumm-Ra and drove in their tank and basically just got up to some weird crap that only made sense to the very young. It was announced this week that Warner Bros. has optioned a script by Pail Sopocy that will focus on the heroes’ origin story. Warners has actually owned the rights to the series since acquiring Telepictures Corp. in 1989, after it has merged with Lorimar, so it makes sense that they’re dusting off old properties and looking to make a decent buck. After all, if 20-year-old titles like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” can make a tidy profit, why not the Thundercats? Still, I’m wary of seeing something I so deeply loved as a tiny child — my mother will show you photos — trotted out and revamped for the digital age. When it comes to my childhood, give me hokey animation and nonsensical plots. Ah well. Who knows; it might actually be a decent flick. And if it is, you can rest assured even more ’80s resurrections will follow. “MASK,” anyone?

In other vaguely exploitive news, Hollywood is returning once again to dip its bucket in the bottomless well of manufactured emotion tied to World War II, aka America’s Favorite War, aka The One Where There Was A Clear Villian And Victory. James McBride is adapting his novel Miracle at St. Anna, about a group of black American soldiers fighting the Germans in the mountains of Tuscany, but there’s a decent chance the film will differ from the boilerplate WWII fare: It’s being directed by Spike Lee. Lee’s occasional dips into more mainstream fare are the exception to the rule; he’s usually a pretty pissed off little guy, churning out a body of work that angrily examines what he feels it means to be black in America (or, for 25th Hour, a white convict in America). The film will follow four members of the Army’s 92nd Infantry Division of all-black soldiers who deal with racist and incompetent commanders, and it’s set to start shooting next year.

Finally this morning, the most recent trailer for this summer’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Each successive film installment of the series has been better and better, and what’s more, they put out some damn fine trailers. (I still think the teaser for Goblet of Fire captures the spirit of angsty portent better than anything.) So, enjoy:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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