Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you know that Hollywood has been vigorously remaking classic 80’s television shows into generally crappy movies. During this renaissance we’ve seen films from some of the more iconic 80’s shows (with varying degrees of success) such as the A-Team, Smurfs, Transformers, Miami Vice and the Dukes of Hazzard. Now it looks like Hollywood is scraping the bottom of the barrel and remaking some of the more obscure 80’s shows. Case in point: it’s just been announced that a remake of the campy Manimal is coming soon to a theater near you.
For those of you who don’t know, were too young to remember or just simply never heard of it, Manimal was about Dr. Jonathan Chase, a wealthy doctor with a mysterious past, who morphed into animals in order to help the police fight crime. The show starred Simon McCorkindale (the guy from Jaws 3-D who ended up lodged in the shark’s mouth conveniently holding a grenade so Dennis Quaid could pull the pin and blow it up) and Melody Anderson (who played Dale Arden in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie). The series aired on NBC which boldly put it up against ratings powerhouse Dallas. No surprise that it was cancelled after just eight episodes.
I actually kinda sorta remember Manimal and as I recall I really enjoyed it, but then again I was nine years old. I do remember McCorkindale having some cool transformations as he morphed into a panther, a hawk and a python. I even practiced my “Manimal hands” where one curls their fingers under their hand for a “paw” look and pulsate. Shut up, I was nine.
In any event, Sony Pictures Animation has picked up the movie rights and is developing it as a live action/CGI hybrid film. Ugh, AGAIN with the damn CGI! Why do filmmakers nowadays resort to that gimmick instead of old-fashioned practical FX? While the 80s FX were cheesy, at least they looked less…fake. I digress.
Glen A. Larson, the king of 80s TV shows (He produced Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica among others), created the show and is attached as a producer on the feature.
While I’m disappointed about the use of CGI, which will no doubt be used for Chase’s transformations (and probably the animals as well), I’m a little excited to see the movie. Plus it gives me newfound hope that there may one day be an Automan movie…