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Feature Film

Jonny Quest: the Real adventures

It was announced several months ago that Warner Bros. is developing a live action feature based on Hanna Barbera’s Jonny Quest, with Zac Efron as Jonny and Dwayne Johnson as Race Bannon. LA Times blogger Geoff Boucher reported this week that, possibly due to the failure of last years Speed Racer movie, Warners is now thinking of making the JQ film, but droppping the JQ name.

Apparently the live action JQ script is so good that the studio wants to produce the film regardless of what the characters are called. But the failure of Speed Racer – another live action version of a 1960s cartoon series – still resonates with upper management. So the thinking is to just cut ties to the H-B series that inspired it. Personally, I think this is a good idea.

Dear Warner Bros.,
Please don’t make a live action Jonny Quest movie. After Scooby Doo, The Flintstones and Josie and the Pussycats we don’t need anymore of our childhood memories destroyed by bad movies adaptations. If the Jonny Quest script is as good as reported, it’ll be popular under any title.

Now, is there anyway to make you reconsider your live action plans for The Jetsons and Yogi Bear?

  • I think it would be a good idea to change the title.

    I mean, what average movie goes cares about Johhny Quest? I sure don’t.

  • Eugene

    One way to affect this trend is to reverse it: produce an old school 2D animated series about a group of heroic, coke-sniffing, overpaid executives who think they make a positive impact in the lives of people on earth. One of them dies at the end of every episode until none are left. The syndication rights will go through the roof and in ten years the studios will find themselves doing an overbudgeted, ill-advised bigscreen adaptation of this very project. It’s like “Seinfeld” in that nobody ever learns anything.

  • But if the script is THAT good… wouldn’t it still be good AS Johnny Quest?

  • Tom D.

    i like the one on the left best.

    and i guess i’m the only person on the planet that liked the “josie and the pussycats” movie.

  • if its a good script, what difference does it make?

  • Mesterius

    Hmmm… my views are split here:

    On one hand, I completely agree with Jerry that we don’t need more crappy movies ruining all our great animated memories.

    On the other hand… isn’t it ironic that so many other cartoon-adaption-movies have already been done with lousy scripts – and this one, which reportedly has a GOOD script, possibly won’t be a cartoon adaption after all? I’ve never been against live-action adaptions in themselves; my personal opinion is that if they can live up to the quality of the original cartoon and be faithful to the source material, it’s okay.

    I haven’t seen Jonny Quest, however, so I don’t know first-hand how good that cartoon is. But one thing I’ve almost always missed in live-action adaptions is a good story and script… so, as Cory points out as well, I guess it wouldn’t be too bad if Jonny Quest was actually made into a good, well-written movie. Of course, the resulting movie depends on a lot of other stuff as well, so it’s still a risky business.

    By the way, Jerry, you forgot to put the CG/live-action “Tom and Jerry” on your list with The Jetsons and Yogi Bear;)

  • Do you even need a script to make a movie these days?

    I saw “Fast and Furious” last night, and it didn’t seem to hurt them.

  • Apparently the live action JQ script is so good…

    According to who, I wonder?

  • Michael E

    I am guessing that the WB might go for the title, “Quest” lol. No Johnny in the title.

  • So now they don’t want to use an already existin title because a movie based on another tv series (Speed Racer)-which doesn’t have anything in common with Johnny Quest- didn’t work so well?

    That’s strange logic. But it’s a convenient logic for all of us who love cartoons. If they keep thinking like that they’ll create their own franchises instead of ruining already existing ones.

    I wouldn’t have minded if they had ruined Johnny Quest…but Zac Efron? Already seemed like a bad choice and I really don’t hate the guy…

  • The movie won’t ruin your childhood memories. The show will always be the same show. This will change nothing. I never got that argument against live action remakes. Whether this movie is made or not, I will still enjoy the classic HB cartoon.

  • J Lee

    I understand they’re changing the name of the title character to Toby Danger.

  • precode

    Waiddaminute. Jonny in the original series is 11 years old. If they’re serious about casting Efron, it ain’t JONNY QUEST no matter what they call it.

    Still, this is only slightly less nauseating a proposition as the Farrelly’s Bros.’ Three Stooges movie.

  • -Tom D. “and i guess i’m the only person on the planet that liked the “josie and the pussycats” movie.”

    Apparently I’m the only one who liked the Speed Racer movie.

  • Peter F

    Jackson Publick has floated the idea of a live action Venture Bros movie at some point; I’d much rather see that than a live action Johnny Quest (unless the heroin-addled Johnny from VB shows up in it)…

    Does anyone on earth look back fondly on “childhood memories” of precious years of our youth wasted in front of crap like Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear or pretty much any of that old Hanna Barbera crap?

  • OM

    …Truth be told, I’ve nothing against a live-action Jonny Quest if it’s done intelligently, and aimed at both a serious adult audience as well as the kids. Not to the level of South Park, but something where it’s obviously not been dumbed down, and Jonny saving the day actually is believable.

    …No, what strikes me as the death-blow for this is the choice of Zac Efron, who’s acting abilities rank right up there with that cousin of Dolly Parton’s who played her character on the TV version of 9 To 5. Efron can dance, and he makes little girls ginies tingle so Disney can sell sex to kids, but that’s about the sum of his talents.

    And besides, his hair colors all fracking wrong.

  • A Reader

    If the Jonny Quest name doesn’t mean anything then there’s no reason to change it, either.

    I can understand a studio’s reluctance to repeat the Speed Racer fiasco, but as far as the US market goes there’s no comparison between a very formulaic, poorly produced, bizarre japanese children’s show like Speed Racer (a cult favorite at best with western audiences) and Quest, which was written for prime time and had actual stories, good scripts and genuine quality for H-B in those days. The only association is that they’re both animated. Everything else is different.

    Plus there’s simply no possible way for anyone to make as horrible a film as was done with the ugly, insane, boring, unwatchable SR. That was Reason #1 for its failure, not that it was “an old 60s cartoon”.

  • Kudos to the writer team. They were handed a moribund franchise character and wrote something so powerful their bosses had to look at it in another light & on it’s own merit.

    In that sense, it probably wasn’t a JQ story at all – if it was a true JQ story, it wouldn’t work WITHOUT JQ, Race and the Doctor driving the story bus. No loss to HB fans.

  • Tom D.

    precode said, “…Waiddaminute. Jonny in the original series is 11 years old. If they’re serious about casting Efron, it ain’t JONNY QUEST no matter what they call it…”

    jonny quest was originally supposed to be an animated version of the OTR series “jack armstrong, the all american boy”. in the series jack was old enough to drive a car, so he was at least 16 years old.

    maybe the producers were planning on going back to j q’s roots, and maybe they’d be better off making a jack armstrong movie.

    and i agree with danno that the speed racer movie wasn’t all bad.

  • Unca Jeffy

    “The Adventures of Jonny Quest” series we all love and remember was originally in development as a new take on the “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy” radio adventure serial anyway. I say it’s alright to change the name and let each stand on it’s own. I only wish they had shown the same dignity before they produced that “Questworld” abomination, they’ve already sullied the name.

  • Martin

    The name ‘Zac Efron’ sounds like a hip suppository.

  • I’ll bet that good script is awful. Or nothing like Jonny Quest. I bet it’s being written by someone who has no interest in how the elements of JQ fit together.

    I’ll bet you a dollar that the #1 panic at story meetings was how to avoid the “all-male cast” subtext of the original. I bet they gave Dr. Quest, Jonny, Hadji, Race and even Bandit some girlfriends to prove their hetero credentials.

  • Andrew Laubacher

    I’ve been following the progress of this project since it was first announced. I firmly believe that JONNY QUEST is one animated series that could work as a feature film–but, not this one. As previously noted, Jonny was 11 years-old in the original series. He and Hadji should not be significantly older (if at all) in a film adaptation, or it just isn’t JONNY QUEST anymore. The possible casting of Zac Efron as Jonny and Dwight “The Rock” Johnson as Roger “Race” Bannon is a terrible idea, regardless of how good the screenplay might be. If this is really how the filmmakers want to proceed then maybe they should change the names to protect the innocent (and our inner children).

  • Jetsons movie?! I didn’t know. Well, as long as Nicolas Cage plays George Jetson, it should be great.

  • Baron Lego: The script appeared on the annual “Black List” which is a list of the industry’s favorite unsold/unmade scripts that goes through unofficial channels. This is why it has so much buzz.

    If it is a good script, I’d like to see it either way. The last incarnation of Jonny Quest, The Real Adventures, had Jonny as a teen so that idea is not so far-fetched. However, I’m going to reserve judgment on Efron as Quest.

  • Jim Engel

    I’ve yet to see any of these things WORK–usually for the same reasons this probably won’t—absolutely no respect for or faithfulness to the source material beyond the names.

    The Rock as Race Bannon? Wasn’t Race Bannon a white guy? Will Hadji be a latino girl?

    Some people will say “So? What difference does it make?”. It makes a difference to people who care about the characters in the first place. If Race WAS black THEN (and that would have been just fine), he should be black NOW, but he wasn’t. These characters are cyphers to the movie people who get to “re-imagine” or ‘update” them. Blank slates.

    How ’bout an all-white Fat albert & The Cosby Kids? Would that bother anybody?

  • Giovanni Jones

    What are the odds they change the name from “Jonny Quest” to “Bazooka Joe?”

  • >>The movie won’t ruin your childhood memories. The show will always be the same show. This will change nothing. I never got that argument against live action remakes. Whether this movie is made or not, I will still enjoy the classic HB cartoon.>>

    I agree. But it gets kind of annoying when they make a terrible movie, it makes things embarrasing.

    People watch The Spirit movie and they say: wait, you’re a fan of this sh**t? Then you say: but it’s nothing like the comic. And people say: Yeah, yeah, whatever…

    Or when you get tons and tons and tons of ugly Looney Tunes merchandising, people kinda associate the characters to that. They think Tweety was really gay in the cartoons or something. Some people even like the way the characters are presented in that merchandising.

    No, they can’t ruin our memories until they invent something to alter our brains but they certainly can ruin the reputation of the cartoon, especially among those people who don’t bother to check out the original sources. If anything these movies should have the opposite effect: they should be so great that people would like to run to read/watch the originals.

    As for Johnny Quest I don’t even think it was a great cartoon to begin with. Yes, I did enjoy it when I was a kid. And even though they said this version had a good script I’m almost sure it’s going to be worst than the originals, but I don’t care for my childhood memories as much as I care for the things I still enjoy. I liked Scooby Doo, but now I don’t, so I couldn’t care less about the life-action movies. Now, that Tom and Jerry and Marvin the martian movies could be a real sacrilege. I’ll cross my fingers.

  • Autumn

    I think if it’s as good a script as they say, why not try to change the image of cartoon to live action movies and keep it as Jonny Quest…

  • Mark K.

    Ha-ha….the idiots at WB think the script is “TOO GOOD” to be compared to animation. Freakin’ losers!

  • Amen, please no more bad “live action + cg animals” adaptations of classic cartoons. Make it stop!!

  • Tom

    Danno, we might be the only two.

  • Bill Field

    That being said, wouldn’t The Herculoids be a great CG animated epic? I am sooooo old school, but I still think it could be pulled off- but what of Tarantino’s live-action remake of American Pop? That sounds promising …

  • Tor

    – Tom D and Danno: take heart. You guys are not alone.

    “Josie” is a very underappreciated satire and “Speed Racer”…unpretentious fun-on-a-bun.

  • Andrew

    This is what they should’ve done with the Underdog movie!

    People think it’s a great move what they just did, but they STILL get annoyed by the fact that the script is really good even if they drop the adaptation idea?! How unpleasable can you get!?

  • Pedro Nakama

    He’s too old to play Johnny Quest. Johnny should be 8 or 9 or 10.

    I heard that Hadji was going to CG. ; )

  • Wax

    I hate to say this but were any of the titles being talked about here really all that great? Most of them were rather poorly produced hanna barbera shlock. Scooby Doo? Josie and the Pussycats? Now, I have a really soft spot for Jonny Quest since I though it was the coolest thing going when I was a kid but a movie version isn’t going to affect my memories of watching it on Saturday mornings of my son’s current appreciation.

    Besides, basically all of toons were made for purely commercial reason anyway. I really don’t think Josie and the Pussycats was intended as anything other than a money-spinner. I say, if its a good script, by all means brand it as Jonny Quest. Maybe it’ll create a trend.

    Herculoids would be cool…

  • William

    The strength of the material is what’s most important. If the script is truly strong enough to stand on its own, it won’t matter if it’s an adaptation or not.

    But I’d prefer JQ left alone.

  • Josie was a lot of fun. Those Scooby Doo movies, however, were the exact opposite.

  • PJ

    I will say the Scooby Doo Movies had exactly one thing in their favor: one of them made Scrappy Doo the villain.

    I can’t remember which movie it was, because they really were awful, but between the two of them there was that one fantastically wonderful thing.

    If you can’t get behind some Scrappy Doo hating, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.

  • J. J. Hunsecker

    >>After Scooby Doo, The Flintstones and Josie and the Pussycats we don’t need anymore of our childhood memories destroyed by bad movies adaptations.>>

    Personally, I don’t have fond childhood memories of Scooby Doo and Josie and the Pussycats. The bad live action versions of those lame shows don’t bother me. Now if they made a poor live action version of Hong Kong Fooey, that would be a sacrilege!

  • Let’s add into the record of success the live action versions of DUDLEY DOO RIGHT MOVIE, BORIS & NATASHA, and UNDERDOG. Yum!

  • Mesterius

    Oh, yeah, Dudley Do-Right… never seen the cartoon, but the movie was so awful I had to stop watching it half-way through…

    By the way, I agree completely with Roberto. I’ve tried to convince people I know that the original Spirit comic is FANTASTIC, but they still don’t seem very eager to check it out after having seen Frank Miller’s terrible adaption. Such things DO ruin the reputation and, in the end, possibly the overall popularity of the original series.

  • I’ve never liked adaptations of cartoons and comics.
    Even when you have a decent script and a excellent cast and crew, something gets lost in the translation.

    More often than not, the movie is way more childish and stupid than the actual cartoon or comic.

    People watch The Spirit movie and they say: wait, you’re a fan of this sh**t? Then you say: but it’s nothing like the comic. And people say: Yeah, yeah, whatever…


  • Jorge Garrido

    This is the best idea of all time. Have nothing at all to do with the Jonny Quest “brand.” We already have the complete 60s Jonny Quest available on DVD, so there would be little to no gained from a revival of the JQ brand anyway. Just make it another crappy kid spy movie and I’ll be happy (to ignore it.)


    You know the Dragonball movie is going to make millions

  • Christopher Cook

    If nothing else, Zac Efron will attract the same teenybopper contingent that made gajillions for High School Musical regardless of the script’s quality.

  • Keith Paynter

    Alright! The Quests of Johnny Adventure!

  • David Breneman

    Was it actually stated in the original Johnny Quest show how old he was? Watching it as a kid when it originally aired, and as adult now (I have a 16mm safety print of the pilot), I always got the impression he was about 12. He and Haji look like young adolescents. Definitely not 16, certainly not 8-10.

  • I think the Josie and the Pussycats live-action movie proved exactly how and why today’s “music” stars and videos are successful.

    If you haven’t seen the film, it basically said that they’re subliminal messages promoting the latest smeg, and if anyone dared to squash them or expose the truth, the music companies would deal with them (and they actually had the gall to suggest that’s a reason why so many recording stars died in plane crashes and accidents) and showcase their fall on their greatest creation, Behind The Music.

    I kid you not.

  • OM

    …Let’s not forget that Underdog was a script that originally had nothing to do with Shoeshine Boy and his cast of characters, but was, as reported here, adapted from an existing script in order to fulfill some agreement with the clod who directed that mess.

  • Cody

    Just in terms of Hannah-Barbera adaptations, I though the first live-action Scooby-Doo film was (for the most part) a success… and it did pretty well financially too.

    I think if it’s truly a good script, then they may as well retain the Jonny Quest title. Enough people are familiar with the property (I’ve never even seen the show, and was born way too late to have any emotional attachment to it, and yet I am aware of the basic premise) that a movie with the exact plot elements of JQ minus the character names would just be strange. It would make it into kind of an homage to the series anyway, so why not just make it official?

    If Spielberg thinks Tin Tin will play (and I think that character has much less name recognition stateside), and a movie based on a theme park ride like Pirates can be such a huge success, how could the cartoon connections possibly hurt this film?