Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Of all the animation properties from the ’70s and ’80s that have been targeted for remakes and updated feature versions, the only one for which I feel the least bit of nostalgia is Gatchaman. It was seen in the US in heavily edited and reworked form as Battle of the Planets, which was designed to appeal to kids as, essentially, a combination of elements from Star Wars and Marvel Comics. And, for me, the worked. (Granted, at age 8, I wasn’t the most discerning audience.)
I wasn’t very choosy when the show was originally broadcast, but Gatchaman is still fun. You’ve got teenagers with high-tech watches that called forth wild bird-themed costumes, a ship called the God Phoenix (or just the Phoenix in the US) that can activate a mode that literally changes it into a bird of fire, and plenty of bizarre foes.
Imagi Studios, the same outfit behind the recent CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, was in production on a Gatchaman feature before the LA office of Imagi was shut down last year. A production trailer has been leaked that shows the best look yet at what the studio was doing with the title. It may be the most we ever see from this incarnation.
Twitch presents this early production trailer, through which you can get the best look yet at the production designs and overall style of this adaptation that may never be finished. If you’ve only seen Gatchaman via Battle of the Planets this will look a little bit odd, as BotP altered the show to be more about interstellar threats than conflict on Earth, and cleaned up some of the violence and the hermaphroditic villain.
I don’t love this footage, but some of it points towards good things, and I liked Imagi’s other work enough that I’d still like to see this finished. The company’s Hong Kong site is still up and promising Gatchaman for 2011, but we’re not sure if that’s a promise that will ever be kept.
Here’s the trailer; under it is the original opening to Battle of the Planets.