Deadline reported on May 26th, 2015 that Warner Brothers has selected Robert Rodriguez to direct a live-action adaptation of Hanna-Barbara’s action-adventure series Jonny Quest. Rodriguez and Terry Rossio are rewriting a draft of the script written by Dan Mazeau. Dan Lin and Adrian Askarieh are set to produce the project.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Jonny Quest was an animated television series created and designed by Doug Wildey that premiered on ABC in 1964. The series revolves around the adventures of young Jonny Quest as he travels around the world with his scientist father, his best friend Hadji, and their body guard Race Bannon. On their adventures, the group often had to thwart attempts to take over the world from mad scientists, assassins, evil organizations, and corrupt government officials. Since its premiere, the series has been adapted into various incarnations, including a comic book, and an updated animated series in 1996.
I was eight years old when the updated television series premiered on Cartoon Network, and as someone who was traumatized on a weekly basis at the various dark and occasionally supernatural storylines, I have a nostalgic fondness and a legitimate respect for the 90s animated series. As such, I am somewhat conflicted by the news of the studio’s choice of director. It’s undeniable that Rodriguez has a gift for action films. His EL MARIACHI series, PLANET TERROR, SIN CITY, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN are all considered to be highly original action films, cult-classics, or visual masterpieces. Most importantly, he has directed numerous family films in the form of the SPY KIDS franchise, THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL, and SHORTS, so the idea of him taking on the challenge of the JONNY QUEST franchise, which is an action-adventure series aimed at kids, seems like a match made in heaven. However, as much as I enjoy his action films, I personally find his family films to be a little too goofy in tone for an adaptation of the dark series from the 90s that I associate with Jonny Quest; it’s not that his family films aren’t enjoyable, I would just find it odd to see a JONNY QUEST film done in the style of SPY KIDS. Then again, maybe the studio wants the film to be a little closer to the original series and could therefore use a little more goofy camp. In any case, no casting choices have been made, although Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron had previously expressed interest in playing Race and Jonny respectively in an earlier attempt at getting a film adaptation off the ground.
What do you think of Rodriguez directing the film? Do you think his visual style fits perfectly for the action adventure series, or do you find his style of family films would create a tonal juxtaposition (and coincidentally, did the 90s series scare the dickens out of anyone else, or was that just me)? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
~ Megan Salinas
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