Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson’s Top 5 Pop Culture Properties Hollywood Would be Remiss Not to Exploit: Part 2 of 2
Be sure to check out Part 1 to this column HERE.
There I talk about Dragonlance Chronicles and The Legend of Drizzt, two fantasy properties that the Odinson cannot believe have not yet been turned into film franchises. This week, I round out my Top 5 list with three sci-fi gems that would just light up the Silver Screen and entertain movie fans for years to come.
NOTE: I’ve never played any of the Mass Effect games except for Two, so my opinion on the franchise is based solely on that gaming experience.
Mass Effect 2 was simply one of the most satisfying gaming experience of the Odinson’s life. The world is big. No, that’s not adequate. The world is galactic. You actually travel the expanse of several galaxies in your journey through this rich environment. Plus, the characters that inhabit this world are all so complex with backstories that could all be films of their own. There’s genetically engineered super humans, emotionless assassins, a race of fast-breeding warriors bred for nothing but war, cold, calculating super scientists, and beings with psionic powers on par with Jean Grey and Emma Frost.
From the very start of the story, you know you are in for something different as the narrative kills off the main character in the opening scene! The main protagonist of the story, Commander Shepard, has his (or her) body reconstructed and is given a new crew and ship, and a new mission. His mysterious benefactor is the enigmatic Illusive Man, a shadowy figure with bionic eyes that calls to mind a similar shadowy, smoky figure from The X-Files.
What follows is Shepard recruiting an elite team of heroes and villains Dirty Dozen style and embarking on a quest to locate and stop an ancient race of aliens from eradicating all life in the universe. It’s an epic campaign where every decision has consequences and not everyone will survive. Mass Effect 2 takes elements from Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica and mix with enough super cool original ideas to make it something truly unique and entertaining.
How this has not been turned into a Hollywood film franchise is beyond me.
In the not too distant future, planet Earth is caught in an endless cycle of war. Then, from outer space comes a runaway space ship which crash lands on Macross Island. It is a vessel of immense size and advanced technology. In the years that follow, after reverse engineering the alien technology within, the nations of the world unite and develop Robotech, advanced machines designed to defend mankind from the coming war that will descend on them from the stars.
Planet Earth is attacked by an armada of alien battlecruisers. These are the Zentraedi, giants from beyond the stars, bred only for war, and coming to Earth seeking to reclaim the space ship that crashed there. The United Nations of Earth have reconstituted the vessel into the SDF-1 Macross (Super Dimensional Fortress) a massive transforming warship. But, even with squadrons of VF-1 Valkyries (veritech fighters) and the mighty SDF-1, mankind may not be able to survive the coming war.
From sweet siren Lynn Minmei to stalwart Lisa Hayes, noble Admiral Gloval to super cool Roy Fokker, mighty Breetai to scheming Kyron, and the impossible romance of Max Sterling (best fighter pilot in the Robotech Forces) and Miriya (best combat specialist in the Zentraedi fleet), this wonderful tale is full of amazing and memorable characters both heroic and villainous.
Robotech: The Macross Saga is truly an epic space opera on par with anything ever produced in the sci-fi genre.
The animated series is currently on Netflix and with each episode the Odinson watches I keep thinking one thing over and over, how has this not been turned into a Hollywood film franchise?
Space marines, scary aliens, super cool mechs, intergalactic war, horror, high stakes, betrayal, and love. What’s not to love?
What if you could cherry-pick elements from Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Aliens, Predator, Battlestar Galactica, Star Blazers, Robotech, BattleTech, Firefly, and the Dark Phoenix Saga, and throw them all into a blender? The result would be the glorious cocktail that is StarCraft.
As with all these properties on this list, StarCraft is such a huge, rich narrative that it would be really hard, and doing it a disservice, to try and break it all down to fit the space I have here. So, I’ve decided to approach it differently and I’m going to break it down to its barest of elements, the essential components that make this one of my All-Time favorite stories ever told.
Jim Raynor – In the past, James Rayner was a brave and tactical soldier. He helped Arcturus Mengsk rebel against the oppression of the Terran Confederacy. However, it seems they were dethroning one devil for another as Mengsk commits genocide to secure his power. Disillusioned, Raynor becomes a lawman on a backwater world on the fringe of space. He becomes the leader of a rebellion against Mengsk’s tyranny and ultimately he is set on a path to save the life of the woman he loves and the entire galaxy. He’s a little bit of Han Solo, a little bit of Malcolm Reynolds, and a whole lot of greatness.
The Zerg – They are a race of alien creatures that are constantly evolving and operate under a hive mind. They are under the influence of an ancient dark god that is using them to bring about the end of all creation. The zerg numbers are infinite. A zerg swarm is the scariest thing in the universe when it descends on a world and engulfs it in its destructive envelope. The lucky ones are killed in the initial attack. The unlucky ones are infested and transformed into shambling zombielike creatures. The zerg are a little bit like the Xenomorphs in Aliens and the Bugs in Starship Troopers, and 100% scary as hell.
The Protoss – The Toss are an ancient race of aliens that have evolved beyond simple speech. They communicate telepathically and some of them even possess vast psionic powers. Their technology is far beyond human comprehension and their Golden Armada is comprised of the mightiest warriors and super war machines in the cosmos. They have a zealot mentality and fierce sense of honor and loyalty. They are a little bit like the Predator, a little bit like the Greys in Whitley Strieber’s Communion, and they are extremely fascinating and terrifying at the same time.
WMDs – “Yamato Cannon online.” From to the transforming and versatile fighter jet, the Viking (inspired by Robotech’s VF-1 Valkyrie), to the lumbering juggernaut, the Thor (inspired by BattleTech Mech), to the mighty Battlecruiser (inspired by the Galactica) that rains fire from the sky, the adaptable terrans have equipped themselves well and with some of the coolest looking mech since Robotech.
The Queen of Blades – Sarah Kerrigan was a superb soldier, a Ghost, super human Special Forces operatives with cloaking tech and psionic abilities. Sarah’s psionic powers were among the most powerful in the sector. She and Jim Raynor were close. Then, Arcturus Mengsk betrayed her and left her for dead amongst a zerg swarm. However, she was not killed. She was infested, but because of her unique abilities, she was enhanced and reborn as the Queen of Blades.
The Queen of Blades is the most powerful psionic in the galaxy and she leads the Swarm on a campaign of death and destruction nearly wiping out mankind in the process. For years after the Brood War the zerg were quiet, but something changed, and now the Swarm has returned with a deadly new purpose.
In the midst of a rebellion, a full scale zerg swarm, and antsy Protoss eager to purge the entire system with fire, Jim Raynor is tasked with seeking out mysterious ancient alien artifacts that may hold the key to the galaxy’s survival.
Wings of Liberty is a tale of love and war, ancient prophecies and clandestine schemes, self-sacrifice and redemption, and how this has not been turned into a Hollywood film franchise is beyond me.
Hollywood is so busy trying to reinvent the wheel and update classic tales and they haven’t even scratched the surface of all the great Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man stories that could be adapted into great movies. 1974’s Black Christmas is a horror classic and they released a remake in 2019. They just did a remake of Black Christmas in 2006!
But dost thou know what would get mine hard earned shekels? New films of properties we’ve never seen on the Big Screen before.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.