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Can 'Jonny Quest' Really Work? You Might Be Surprised.

Baxter
20 Comments

Posted February 18, 2009 - By Joseph Baxter

After being placed in script oblivion, it appears that the feature film adaptation of the classic animated series (and inspiration for Adult Swim's Venture Brothers) Jonny Quest may be getting resurrected. IESB has recently reported that Zac Effron and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will star in the upcoming adaptation. It's to be titled The Adventures of Jonny Quest. Set to direct will be Andy Fickman, who recently directed Johnson in the family-friendly Sci-Fi film, Race to Witch Mountain (he also let his freak flag fly with Reefer Madness: The Musical.)

Naysayer's Argument: This is generally news that falls in the "God, no!" and "WGAF?" categories. Do I care about Jonny Quest? Not really. I caught it every now and then as a kid, but it certainly did not help define my life. You may be asking yourself, "What possible value could this film have?"

After all, we have Zac Effron, star of those obnoxious High School Musical movies (or was it Cheetah Girls? I always confuse those things.) He will be playing Jonny, the main character, who traditionally is supposed to be 12-years old. We have The Rock playing Race Bannon, who is hot and cold in his roles -- possibly set to make a fool of himself -- even worse than he did in Doom. And there's the yet-to-be-cast, Hadji. Is he going to be some bad Fisher Stevens-esque Indian stereotype in a turban? How about an over-the-top CGI version of the pug, Bandit? And again...Jonny Quest???

Well, there's no hating happening here. Let's put this film into perspective, then:

I think it's safe to say that no one cares about the retconning of the Jonny Quest story. If Jonny is a teenager or in his early 20's, then cool. Who wants to see a 12-year old going around playing superhero?

Giving credit where credit is due, when The Rock is on, he is ON. When I think back to films that get by with pure chemistry, I think of The Rock with Seann William Scott in The Rundown. On paper, it was a run-of-the-mill action flick which allowed Vince McMahon to showcase his then-employee in film. It turned out to be a legitimately funny film with great action. This was largely due to the character dynamic created by Johnson and Scott. The same type of chemistry is possible to recreate (maybe even top) with this Jonny Quest project. We can take the sarcastic atmosphere that worked with the Venture Brothers,and give it more of a legitimate jump. I can already see The Rock as team strongman -- Race Bannon -- stuck in the uncomfortable wilderness, ripping on the pretty boy Effron and his "nerdy scientist" father, Dr. Quest. All this, amid some decent action. That is a film I would go to see.

On the Hadji issue, it's not necessary to be a purist and make him wear the turban and Nehru jacket, but let's not be pressured by modern-day political correctness. At the end of the day, if the Hadji character happens to wear a turban, then he does. (Breaking News: Some people from India actually wear them.) It's silly to think that by doing that, it implies that they think "all Indians wear turbans." You can be authentic to the source material without being one step away from putting a Slurpee in his hand. Great characters are never stereotypes.

Cliff Notes: Don't be so quick to poo-poo this project. It has potential, and I am all for it, if done right.

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Tags: Movies, TV
Can 'Jonny Quest' Really Work? You Might Be Surprised.
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