Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Pitch - Live-Action M.A.S.K.

So one of the reasons I started a blog is so that I can pitch ideas that I want to see happen. Some might be wondering, "Why don't you make these happen?" Well, because they're pretty stupid (I keep the good ones to myself). Besides, if I send out my ideas into the ether that is the internet and some other schmuck goes and makes them happen, then wasn't I really the one responsible for making them happen because it was my idea and I put it out there in the first place?

Some of my friends say it can't be done. Some say we're not technologically advanced enough to shoot it, or that it's simply unshootable on a budget, or that there's zero interest in the property. But I don't believe that, and neither should you. In my lifetime, there could be, should be, needs to be a live-action M.A.S.K. movie. I'm not talking about that movie with Eric Stoltz where he has the genetic defect that causes his facial bones to grow imprisoning him in a figurative and literal mask. I'm talking about M.A.S.K., Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. Dudes wearing masks. With powers. And vehicles that transform. Into other vehicles.

M.A.S.K. was a watershed animated children's program and toyline in the mid-1980s. It combined elements of the highly popular G.I. Joe and Transformers franchises. The program's storyline followed an anti-criminal organization, M.A.S.K., as they crossed paths with an evil organization, V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem).

The main draw of the series were their transforming vehicles and power bestowing masks. Vehicles and headquarters could generally assume both a normal form, and an enhanced combat form. For instance, the Gator was an orange Jeep 4x4 that had the ability to deploy a hydroplane, and the Switchblade was a helicopter that could transform into a jet. Furthermore, every vehicle was accompanied by a figure who in turn came with a unique mask that granted him or her various abilities, such as Dusty Hayes(packaged with the aforementioned Gator) whose Backlash mask "pretend[ed] to cause sonic waves." Another character, Cliff Dagger, came with a mask that "pretend[ed] to be a flame thrower." The toyline proved to be popular, although the program was short-lived, only lasting 75 episodes over two seasons.

So naturally, following the success of the live-action Transformers and G.I. Joe films, Hollywood would be jumping on the M.A.S.K. bandwagon, right? Wrong. As far as I know, there are no scripts in development. No buzz about whose going to play Matt Trakker. Nada. So what's the problem? Let's break it down.

Not technologically advanced enough
Now this clearly isn't the problem. Michael Bay has demonstrated that there's nothing you can't do with CG given the budget and the time that when loaded with explosions and devoid of logic won't be a bonafide blockbuster. And James Cameron has pushed the envelope even further, creating whole computer generated worlds in 3-D no less. So it would appear that technology is not the culprit preventing me from seeing people wearing masks pretending to cause sonic waves and pretending to shoot flames at each other.

Unshootable on a budget
Perhaps this one is debatable, and also goes hand in hand with argument three. Again referring to Michael Bay's Transformers and Stephen Sommers' G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, we see a conservative approach used to deliver a movie under budget that still manages to wow the audience. By carefully choosing to depict a smaller amount of the popular core characters, and cost-effective hiring of young-not-yet-star actors, both Sommers and Bay were able to free up a larger percentage of their budget for special effects. M.A.S.K. could easily copy this formula, choosing to stick with the main core characters from the first wave of toys while holding off on the new second wave characters until the possible sequel. (I don't think Jacques LaFleur would be missed.)

There's zero interest in the property
Now this clearly is not true. I'm interested in the property. At least one other fan whose site I referenced to write this article is interested in the property. So there are people out there who have their eye on the situation waiting to see what happens. And as Field of Dreams said, "If you build it, they will come." So why then hasn't Hollywood struck while the '80s toyline revival iron is hot?

M.A.S.K.'s second season and the French
Okay. I'll admit it. The second season of M.A.S.K. was a dumb idea. In the second season, the show venue moved to the automobile race track. The same characters were there. Both factions remained present. Only now everything was racing themed, so as to coincide with the release of the third wave of toys which were all racing themed. Did any of this make sense? No, and perhaps that is a reason why Hollywood is reluctant to produce a feature length movie.

Then there's also DIC Entertainment, the French-American company that produced the show, and let's face it--Americans don't like the French. So there's a love-hate relationship with this Franco-American lovechild, and nobody wants to argue with the French for custody. So there you have the most compelling reason why an intellectually bankrupt Hollywood hasn't come sniffing around M.A.S.K.'s rear end for a chance at a most likely blockbuster hit. But if there are any Hollywood executives out there reading this, you should jump on this now. I'm telling you it's a done deal. You've got at least two tickets sold by the second week of opening, that's like -$0.46 after cost, so as long the budget is at least under -$0.46, you'll cut a profit. Heck, if it's really bad, I may just see it twice, and bring my friends along for the wreck. As long as it doesn't actually involve any of season two's car wrecks.


  1. Haha. I thought you were talking about "The Mask" starring Jim Carrey. My thoughts... "Huh? It wasn't live-action?"

    I wasn't sure if you wanted a serious comment about it or not... I'm not familiar w/ the series, but who owns the IP?

    I heard that toy company H wants to make animated (and live-action) TV series to fill up some of the programming block on cable channel network D. So if M.A.S.K. is owned by H, then it's possible there could be a TV series in the works...

  2. Unfortunately I believe the toyline was owned by K. (Psst... "K" stands for "Kenner.")