What kid from the 1980's did not love the Voltron cartoon? The toys were awesome (albeit slightly out of my parent's income tax bracket) as they seemed related to the transformers and yet different. Althought wildly popular, the original cartoon only lasted between 1984 and 1985, and returned in the 1990's to much less enthusiasm as a badly imaged CGI cartoon. Despite the short original run there were 124 episodes made between '84 and '85, explaining why the show was able to continue airing for so long after '85. The show is based on two Japanese cartoons: Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV; the American version retained a similar Japanese Manga animation style. The story is about five young pilots who each command their own robotic lion that is the size of a small office building. The pilots use the robotic lions to protect the planet Arus from an invading king Zarkon, his son Lotor and the witch Haggar. These dastardly evil doers also commanded their own robotic armies of giant creatures but as it always is in stories such as these, their robots were always inferior in some way to the hero's. The story sounds a bit cheesy but it was a lot of fun. It utilized some of the more important elements of a good children's story in that it brings ordinary people into extraordinary situations. It also allows for these ordinary people to achieve their ends by being themselves while also growing into the role of a noble 'hero'. The addition of robotic lions acts as the mythical element and simultaneously ties the old (the pilots lived in a castle and fought a witch) with the modern (giant frick'n robots!).
Looking to recent movie adaptations of 80's cartoon classics, I view the news of a Voltron movie with some reasonable trepidation. I am pretty easy to please in watching movies but I can still recognize a bad movie when I see one, especially when it involves missed opportunities. G.I.Joe was released in 2009 and is a great example of this. The movie had some fun elements that reminded me of why I loved the cartoon so much as a child. However, it missed the mark on the story and characters while focusing too much on destroying /blowing up iconic monuments. The Transformers' movies are another example. The first of the trilogy was decent but I hated how they completely changed the types of cars the Autobots and Deceptecons transformed into (they were not all Dodge vehicles). Further, the transformers looked atrocious after changing, like an original transformer after being pushed down a garburator. These two drawbacks are but nothing compared to the storyline in the second installment, which I will not get into as it just makes me too mad. All I can hope for is that the Voltron movie writers look to the original show and ask what made it popular in the first place and then modernize it from there, all the while remembering that no matter what the movie is about, it is the story that comes first!
All of this being said, here are the first three pre-production images from the upcoming Voltron movie by Sony Pictures (no release date). The images can be found at: