Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jonny Quest Exotica

I just heard that Zac Efron will be playing the classic Hanna-Barbera character Jonny Quest. The first thing that comes to mind is how "pretty" young Mr. Efron is and how Jonny Quest the boy, let alone the concept, is anything but pretty.

In the early 1960s, Hanna-Barbera ventured into prime-time TV. The big deal was the adult following for shows like the Flintstones, The Jetsons and perhaps even Top Cat...PLUS they matched their adult audience by equally adult sponsors, such as cigarette companies who had Fred and Barney smoking with the likes of Lucy Ricardo ....business as usual.

These were obviously different times, but no way will we ever see Spongebob and Patrick smoking a Camel. I digress. Jonny Quest was designed for family viewing, but with a distinctly different approach than your average bear cartoon. Let me say this was a couple years before Gene Roddenberry followed suit incorporating likely sci-fi elements into his new Star Trek series. But Jonny Quest was an "all boy" adventure. No girls allowed.

Traveling the danger-filled globe with his father Benton Quest, his body guard and tutor, Roger "Race" Bannon, best friend Hadji and comic-relief canine, Bandit, we get a front row seat to Jonny's life as the home-schooled, privaledged youth. His story is clearly one which fit into the era in which it was produced. An unlikely boy's story for today. Which brings me full circle....Jonny Quest isn't pretty.

No matter. We're about to get an update and I wanted to give my 2 pennies on the subject.

First, if there is a director I would anme as "best-suited" for the job, my choice would be, Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles). Hello? Talk about saving our jet-packed, retro futures, Bird has successfully recreated an updated "feel" for the past while keeping our 21st Century  gadgetry in the picture. It seems a natural choice too since we would not have had the Incredibles, without Jonny Quest. Am I the only 1960s geek who cares about this? Ummm...I doubt it. Zac Efron may work for an older Jonny, who knows. But give us our adventure with someone who respects the.....I hate this word......"property."

Hollywood is brutal. Taking classic concepts and recreating, that is, squeezing the life out of them is old hat. Everything is always about the next quick buck. Hollywood can give us a Zac Efron Jonny Quest. Quest fans may or may not get their jet packs, energy beasts and one-eyed spider spies snd it may not be too late to consider Brad Bird....but for God's sake, give us a decent story filled with as many Quest-isms as you can!

I guess that was more like 3 cents.