Can ‘Captain Planet’ really cut it on the big screen?

CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS (Image Credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions)
CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS (Image Credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions)

The TV show that every ’90s child played love ’em and leave ’em with, Captain Planet and the Planeteerswill soon be taking it’s environmental message to theaters near you, if Hollywood has anything to say about it. But can Captain Planet really cut it on the big screen?

Probably not.

The original series followed the story of five teens from around the world who were given special powers (and awesome rings!) that could control the elements by Gaia (a.k.a. the spirit of the Earth) to protect the planet from polluters. Yeah, that’s right. I said polluters. And when their powers aren’t enough, they join together and summon Captain Planet, a blue-skinned superhero with killer green hair.

First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Sony is in the final negotiations to pick up the rights to the series and an adaption will be produced by Mark Gordan, Don Murphy and Susan Montford (who is also currently working on Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters.) Another live-action movie was in the works with Cartoon Network in the late 2000s, but the idea never took root.

And while Going Green is all the rage right now, there’s something inherently uninteresting about a Captain Planet movie. The kids who grew up with the weakened-by-garbage superhero might attend a screening, but for today’s cartoon kiddies there’s already evil-fighting figures to capture their attention. The idea of Captain Planet and his Planeteers going head-to-head with the Man of Steel or The Avengers seems kind of out there. What’s he going to do, throw a recycling bin at them?

There are two things that might save Captain Planet from a disastrous fate:

One, the villains were always kind of neat. With names like Dr. Blight, Looten Plunder and Verminous Skumm, they always seemed to capture the attention of young viewers. And the roles initially attracted big name stars to play the baddies, like Meg Ryan and Sting. Bring some more recent high-profile celebs into the mix for the live-action and people might just come to check it out.

Two, make it gritty. I’m not saying add blood and guts to the mix, but don’t make it a G-rated two hours of planetary moral lessons either. Bring in adult actors that understand how to make a superhero that’s depressing and lovably goofy while warning us of the dangers that are global warming all at the same time.

The true test for Captain Planet and its future success will come as more details about the film are released. And as for it’s ability to cut it on the big screen? Only time will tell.

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I'm a book-addicted, TV-obsessed, Ohio University Bobcat for life who majored in smoothie consumption, Netflix and, oh yeah, journalism.

One thought on “Can ‘Captain Planet’ really cut it on the big screen?

  1. Oh my goodness that show. I wonder how telling it is that the episode I remember the most involved the Planeteers getting really upset about how much paper was used during a film production.

    I’d kind of love to see this as a fun nostalgia romp, but Hollywood’s taking all of its superheroes so seriously these days. How exactly do they plan to make a garbage-weakness make sense on the big screen?

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