Due to Universal's recent announcement that it is most likely making Animorphs into a movie, I feel it is my distinct duty to express a general opinion that stems from the previous attempt with a show, which basically is the title of this article. I could be a little more rude or a little more violent (as Marco and Rachel would suggest) but instead I'm just going to be simple.
DON'T SCREW IT UP.
The main issue with the previously attempted filmic version of the books (the Nickelodeon TV series which fans opinions range from outright contempt to humorous nostalgia, with a very few actually fondly liking the series) is that it did not touch the full darkness of the reality of the series.
Animorphs is not just a teen novel series dealing with saving the world. It is an almost preteen (their ages at the beginning are roughly 12 to 13, which should be adhered to in the movie) series of books that deal with their slow dissolution from normal kids into hardened warriors. They lose their morals and their innocence. They lose their friends and their families. Most of all, by the time the war is over, they lose each other. This complicated process needs to be addressed in a movie. Time needs to be spent on character development, the relationships between characters, and also on each characters' relationship with the war itself.
One of the main themes of the books is that hard, moral decisions are made in a path ever spiraling downward, because the truth is that you can't win a war without sacrifice.
So as I continue onward in this post, I want to express how important it is to find people to work on the film that understand that this is no Goosebumps. The humor is dark, the violence is real, and so is the sacrifice.
These are kids given more power than they can imagine, and they have to deal with the ultimate responsibility. Though they eventually find help on the way, for a long time the main thing keeping them alive is their silence. They are alone, they are scared, they are killing sentient beings by morphing dangerous, naturally weaponized animals.
The morphing process is gruesome. It is not predictable, and they can't morph clothes. So fix that. I wanna' hear bones crunching and organs shifting, not to mention the comic relief of dealing with finding ways to morphs clothes. (They eventually discover skintight leotards, swimsuits, diving shorts, etc. work)
The series is set in the 90s. This means an update would have to include a technological update, unless you decide to make it a timepiece.
A 90s set alien invasion timepiece that is both visually incredible and emotionally scarring. Sounds like a winner to me.
In fact, when I saw the Faculty in theatres, I was kinda' mad. But considering it is the best version so far (and even discusses the proliferation of alien invasion by parasitic means in sci-fi literature) I take it as a practice run for if R.R. takes the job for real, for real. As in, YES, he's the best for the job.
I have already suggested another alternative director in a previous post, as well (Guillermo del Toro) , but now I want to suggest another. Though many did not agree with the violent, short-film adaptation of Power Rangers, Adi Shankar and Joseph Kahn's vision is exactly what Animorphs needs.
A good soundtrack would help, too. Umhumm, Deftones.
So, just to reiterate, DON'T SCREW IT UP, UNIVERSAL.
Concerned Animorph fan.
P.S. Since another concerned fan noted an additional problem, I'm gonna' add it to the plate. Don't try to squeeze everything in one movie. Give it a good start. We wanna' see the construction site, the Yeerk Pool, and you could even end it around the time they rescue Ax, or even with the fifth book, when Marco finally finds his reason for fighting the war. Whatever you decide, this does not need to be a catch all, but simply a diving board for an entire cinematic universe.