Transformers is inevitably dominating the American box office, and a sequel is already in the works. By combining '80s nostalgia, massive military-adventure violence, and lowbrow adolescent humor, director Michael Bay has tapped into a vast and eager market that unites modern teens looking for mindless action with adult viewers eagerly awaiting more $175 million big-screen updates of their childhood toyboxes. Here are a few more possible ways to satisfy that market:
Hasbro property: My Little Pony
Possible storyline: Bored to tears after decades of makeover parties and frolicking pointlessly in the sunshine, the Dream Valley ponies band together to annex the nearby Friendship Garden, planning to convert it to an anarcho-syndicalist commune. When the Garden ponies respond by assassinating Dream Valley visionary leader Pinkie Pie, internecine warfare breaks out, leading to carpet bombing of the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and the Poof 'N Puff Perfume Palace.
Key scenes: Unicorn leader Sky Flier uses her "winking" power to teleport a cadre of specially trained Napalm Nuzzles ponies behind enemy lines for the explosive climax, filmed in alternating slow motion and a flurry of spastic quick-cuts of flying pony bodies. Meanwhile, in a bombed-out barn in Ponyville, Buttons comes of age in an awkward but touching liaison with Lickety-Split.
Film tagline: "They aren't your little ponies any more."
Hasbro property: Furby
Possible storyline: In 1999, Furbys were banned from NSA offices under the fear that they might record and repeat sensitive information. That fear becomes a reality in this gripping spy thriller, in which evil alien Furbys from the planet Furbish make contact with an Iraqi militant cleric and offer an alliance. Spying on American military outposts in the guise of popular, annoying toys, they sneak back to their contacts at night to reveal American military secrets and plans, leading to high American casualties in several critical, confusingly filmed, bombastic desert battles. The day is saved when National Guard commander Vin Diesel, home on a short leave for a solemn Christmas, encounters a race of good Furbys hiding out in American toy stores, and enlists their aid to save his threatened country.
Key scene: In a lengthy comedy setpiece, Vin Diesel gets annoyed at the way one of the good Furbys repeats everything he says, leading to a hilariously circular "I know you are, but what am I?" situation.
Film tagline: "They can hear you. And our enemies can hear them."
Hasbro property: Mr. Potato Head
Possible storyline: With Sylvester Stallone returning to the big screen as a 60-year-old Rambo, the time seems right for the 55-year-old Mr. Potato Head to get his own action franchise. In this twist on a traditional monster movie, some vaguely Middle Eastern terrorists hijack an Army convoy carrying an experimental radioactive power source, in the process accidentally discharging it near an Idaho potato farm. The resultant sentient mutant potato is horrified to learn that his spudly brethren are destined to be mashed, fried, and boiled, and he launches a one-potato guerilla campaign of terror against the farming industry, ultimately stealing an experimental giant combine and heading to D.C. to thresh the city.
Key scene: After Mr. Potato Head is captured, farm mogul Jon Voight has him thrown into the processing bin at a potato processing plant. In a lengthy video-game-like sequence, he dodges vats of molten butter, automatic peelers, and giant mashers, and improvises a series of weapons to sabotage the plant from within, escaping just as it explodes.
Film tagline: "Many eyes. One big gun."
Hasbro properties: Weebles, PlaySkool
Possible storyline: When a series of Pretty Pretty Princesses fall victim to a serial killer in Los Angeles, rogue cop Winston Hobnobby and FBI agent Tommy are forced to work together to find the murderer, and in the process, bust an international coke ring, stop a shipment of illegal arms, recover a stolen laptop containing key military secrets, find a missing experimental jet, stop a runaway truck filled with explosives, rout out the crooked cop who's been taking payola to undermine operations in L.A., contain a prison outbreak, disarm a homemade tac-nuke, and at some random point, visit a strip club.
Key scene: The protagonists initially distrust and dislike each other, but eventually bond over the fact that neither of them actually has arms, which makes crime-fighting unusually difficult.
Film tagline: "This summer, these cops may wobble, but they won't. Fall. Down."
Hasbro property: G.I. Joe
Possible storyline: The G.I. Joe TV shows of the '80s featured a vast cast of marginally differentiated soldiers stopping improbably vast schemes enacted by a bunch of cartoonishly frothing bad guys, with frequent pauses for sloppy comedy. Any random five-episode G.I. Joe story arc is practically a Michael Bay movie already. Just grab one at random, CGI in some much, much bigger explosions and some swear words, and it's ready to go.
Key scene: Some stuff blows up.
Film tagline: "You liked this when you were 12. Shut up and like it now."
Illustrations by Misako Takashima.