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  Major Matt Mason (toys, Tom Hanks' movie)

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Author Topic:   Major Matt Mason (toys, Tom Hanks' movie)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-30-2009 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
March 30, 2009 — Major Matt Mason is making a comeback, Variety reports.
Universal will develop "Major Matt Mason," a live-action feature based on the vintage Mattel action figure. Pic will be developed as a star vehicle for Tom Hanks, and Graham Yost will write the script.

Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce.

Introduced by Mattel in 1966, Major Matt Mason action figures, his "Men in Space" crew, and related accessories, were based on early concepts for real space flight hardware. The figures gained popularity as the Apollo missions to the Moon began.

Yost previously worked with Hanks on the HBO miniseries "From The Earth To The Moon", penning the scripts for the Apollo 1 and Apollo 11 episodes.

According to Variety, Hanks was already personally familiar with the astronaut toys.

When Mattel execs Tim Kilpin and Barry Waldo came to Playtone for a meeting, they brought an arsenal of the Matt Mason figures. Hanks came armed with his own.

UPDATE, June 11, 2011: The Hollywood Reporter reports that Tom Hanks has approached Robert Zemeckis to direct the Major Matt Mason movie.

...Playtone's next Hanks-starring project, the toy-to-screen Major Matt Mason, in 3D.

The producers are in talks with frequent Hanks collaborator in Forrest Gump and The Polar Express, Robert Zemeckis, to direct a screenplay written by Hanks and Graham Yost for Universal.

The live-action family film about space adventure, with a tentative budget of over $100 million, is based on a Mattel action figure. It would be the second 3D production for Playtone, which produced with Imax in 2005 the documentary Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, co-written, co-produced and narrated by Hanks.

Jake
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From: Issaquah, WA U.S.A.
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posted 03-31-2009 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jake   Click Here to Email Jake     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too cool...

When I was young I wanted the MMM toys. My folks either couldn't find them at the toy store, or got my request mixed up so I got "Billy Blastoff" toys that Christmas...!

It's all good...!

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
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posted 03-31-2009 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still have one MMM. But boy I wish I still had the Moon Station and all the vehicles.

Good memories.

Whizzospace
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From: San Antonio, TX
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posted 04-02-2009 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow. I was playing with the Major and his Moon Station during a particularly memorable Christmas of 1968. The Moon Crawler was probably the coolest motorized toy I can ever recall.

This film would truly be a retro alternate history come true. If anyone can sell a major studio on space, it's gotta be Mr. Hanks.

snuggles
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posted 04-02-2009 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for snuggles   Click Here to Email snuggles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had ALL the MMM stuff when I was a kid.

I inadvertently started a small collection recently with the Space Station (with original box).

There's lots of stuff on eBay for sale. I have a MMM, Space Sled, Backpack, Cat Trac along with the Station.

Can't wait to see the Space Crawler full size in the movie.

Tykeanaut
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From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
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posted 01-10-2010 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Right then, who can remember the toy astronaut Major Matt Mason? I believe he was manufactured by Mattel? I had one around the late sixties/early seventies.

Warning: Admitting to this could reveal your age!!

Editor's note: Threads merged

SBIV-B
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From: Buford, GA USA
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posted 01-13-2010 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SBIV-B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Man, I had all the Mason equipment - my mother held on to that stuff for years and I don't know what she did with it.

The one thing I remember as a kid was that I was always disappointed that Mason's space suit did not look like the NASA A7 suit - it had the black rings in all the joints (like the A7 without the white covering).

I sure wish I had it now....

BJWest
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From: San Francisco, CA 94110
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posted 02-19-2010 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BJWest   Click Here to Email BJWest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm a huge Major Matt fan. Recently, in another thread here, I learned that the real NASA spacesuit that the Major was modeled after was ILC's SPD-143 training suit.

I'm really looking forward to the MMM movie, and think that Tom Hanks is the perfect choice to star in it.

As a designer, I've long wanted to take part in a "re-imagining" of the MMM toys, and have been playing with an update on the Space Staion:

I'm trying to keep the spirit of the original toys alive while at the same time giving it a level of complexity and sophistication more in line with today's toys.

I envision a scaling down of the figures to 3" (half the size of the original 6" guys), making them more friendly to "older kids" who like to display toys in their offices or cubes.

Saturn V
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From: Golden, Colorado, USA
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posted 02-19-2010 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Saturn V     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice! But you have to have the flashlight thing that goes down into the middle of the station to light up the map of the moon. Just wouldn't be the same without leaking "D" sized batteries oozing all over the thing.

Oh the memories!

BJWest
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From: San Francisco, CA 94110
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posted 02-20-2010 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BJWest   Click Here to Email BJWest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Saturn V:
Just wouldn't be the same without leaking "D" sized batteries oozing all over the thing.
LOL! That's so true. I don't know how many space crawlers succumbed to stalactites of nasty blue gray oxides!

Speaking of the crawler, have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually drive one?

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-09-2010 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I inherited the hand me down MMM toys from my brother and sister when I was old enough in the 1970s. We had three or four of the figures and a couple of the vehicles. One of the vehicles was this walking crawler vehicle that had two four arm spokes that rotated around to climb things. By the time I had it though it never worked as corroded batteries and leaking battery acid in those early C and D cells had destroyed the terminals in it. I still have fond memories of them though.

When time progressed, I moved on and got my own stuff in the form of 6 Million Dollar Man and some GI Joe based toys (in those days before Star Wars re-defined the space based toy market entirely).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2011 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted above, Tom Hanks is in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct the Major Matt Mason movie. News reports:

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-14-2011 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool. Zemeckis can bring a good level of fun to this film and it should be a joy to watch.

Thinking about it though, would we want to see this film done in live action, or would it be better to do it Polar Express animation style? Live action has some advantages, CGI others. I am kind of torn between what I want to see though.

I am leaning towards CG though, probably because I am thinking of a little bit of Toy Story influence as these were toys of our youth and the space suit and vehicle concepts seem a little dated today while still having a nice charm and a CG world could keep that charm of old as Polar Express did for the toys and look of the 1950s (at least our memories of what it should have looked like). Live action on the other hand means we could see some nice updates of the old stuff, but one would potentially risk taking it too far and it would be almost MMM in name only. But at the same time, MMM is something from the past and if it is frame too much as the original, it risks alienating a new audience to want to come see it. Any thoughts?

spacecraft guy
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posted 07-31-2011 01:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft guy   Click Here to Email spacecraft guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would go with live action along the lines of the recent Transformers or GI Joe films. There are way too many CGI projects in production and they all look way too similar to each other in format and in character and production design.

A CGI version of MMM will be compared to the upcoming Spielberg produced Adventures of TinTin effort. Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet CGI series got lost in the CGI series shuffle, even Pixar got less than stellar reviews for Cars II, which didn't improve on the original.

As far as how to properly approach a MMM film, I would say that it depends on the context in which the story is presented, and who they get as their conceptual designer.

Does the MMM Universe exist in the late 60s-early 70s time frame as the result of Apollo being continued and expanded upon? Or should it be updated to reflect the state of the space program today, with a renewed US lunar exploration program jump started by a Chinese lunar effort?

I don't think that the original MMM spacesuit design can be plausibly updated, but the vehicles and accessories can. They are going to need a conceptual designer who understands the aesthetics of the originals when designing their 2012 counterparts.

Good example of the dilemma of how to update a fondly remembered 1960s era property to today's audience was the 2004 Thunderbirds movie. The producers of that film made the wrong choices in just about every aspect of the production.

They didn't stay true to the original concept, did CGI versions of the Thunderbird craft when they should have been models and the conceptual designers of the new versions of the Thunderbird craft just didn't bring forward the essence of the originals into the design or graphics of the new versions. This was a film that was Thunderbirds in name only. Hopefully the new Gerry Anderson version will be more faithful to the original.

There may be some new MMM development going on at Mattel - when I asked about MMM at the Matty Collector booth at Wondercon in San Francisco, I got a very cagy "no comment" response, so something may be in progress. I was told that there is a "Major Matt Mason" conference room at Mattel.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-17-2012 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TheWrap offers an update on the status of the Major Matt Mason feature film.
Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis are attempting to launch the long-gestating space-themed feature, "Major Matt Mason," with the help of independent film financiers, TheWrap has learned.

Hanks told TheWrap he would star in the film, to be directed by Zemeckis.

"I started tinkering with the story after 'Larry Crowne,'" Hanks said, referring to the 2011 film he wrote, directed and starred in with Julia Roberts.

Hanks said he has co-written the astronaut story, with Graham Yost ("Speed").

The best news, at least in my opinion, is what Yost told Reuters about the plot.
"There's no bad guys. There are no aliens. Nothing like that. It's just, can you survive?"

All times are CT (US)

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