Oh Hasbro, you made our childhoods great. Well at least you now own many things that made our childhoods great. Growing up in the 90s I sure wasn’t immune to the charm of this entertainment giant even before they owned many of my favorite things. Countless board games, action figures and other properties have all become part of the conglomerate’s lineup over the years and, of course, those properties have also translated to films on the big screen. This weekend Hasbro sees another film hit the screen with the first in its rebooted character-centric “G.I. Joe Origins” series focusing on the franchises famed speechless ninja Snake Eyes. So, in honor of their latest release, I took a nostalgia trip and explored the Hasbro adaptations of the past and some of them were surprisingly fun to revisit. Today I’m turning back the clock to discuss my personal favorite Top 5 Movie Based on Hasbro Properties so far.
For this list I only looked at theatrical releases, so sadly the “G.I. Joe” animated movie doesn’t count as that became a straight-to-video release and eventually a mini-series after the failures of prior films changed Hasbro’s marketing strategy. The properties also didn’t have to be owned by Hasbro at the time of the film releases, so I am kind of cheating a bit by including any movie based on a property currently owned by Hasbro as of 2021 and are now considered Hasbro movies in hindsight. Also I’m not considering any movies that only have one or two Hasbro properties, like “Toy Story”, nor any movies that Hasbro made toys for but aren’t directly inspired by Hasbro IPs, like Disney-based toys. Otherwise, animated or live action movies of any franchise were considered for this list, and I put no limit on how many films from a single series could be represented here. As long as it was based on a Hasbro property as of this posting, I considered it.
What movie based on Hasbro’s ridiculous amount of IPs is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Lets get to my personal top five!
5. “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie”
An absolute staple of my childhood, “Power Rangers” was my favorite show growing up. Now that Hasbro owns the “Power Rangers” IP, it’s officially a Hasbro movie by default with the company is planning many more “Power Rangers” films in the future. Looking at the 1995 movie, while the CGI has definitely not aged well and the 90s culture makes it a product of its time it’s hard to deny this movie captures everything that made the show so enjoyable. It’s campy fun in all the right ways and that’s why it beats out both previous “G.I. Joe” movies to make this top five. It knows what it is and owns it. The over-the-top villain Ivan Ooze, who many fans consider a stain on the “Power Rangers” legacy, is a classic Rangers baddy to me and the fact that the show retconned this film out of continuity almost immediately allows it to be enjoyed as a standalone project. The result is a cult classic that feels like a feature length episode of the show and honestly that’s all anyone was asking for so it did it’s job. It’s not a good movie but I absolutely love it for what it is.
4. “Ouija Origin of Evil”
It’s not often that a horror sequel or prequel surpasses its predecessor, but the second “Ouija” film found a way. Often considered one of the best modern horror prequels or sequels especially when compared to the first film, “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is based on the famous spirit board owned by Parker Brothers, a division of Hasbro, that shares the film’s name. The movie explores the origin of the spirit from the first movie and Paulina Zander, Lin Shaye’s character from the previous film, and was considered quite the improvement over the first movie upping both the drama and the scares. It remains for me one of the most improved horror follow-ups I’ve ever seen. Where the first movie literally put me to sleep, this second film I look back on fondly as a surprisingly fun take on the legendary paranormal legacy of Hasbro’s famous spirit board.
3. “The Transformers: The Movie”
I don’t know many people from the 80s who didn’t see this movie at least once and growing up in the 90s it was still a classic. While the “Transformers” franchise would go on to find new life in the 2000s and 2010s through a live action Michael Bay series, the first of which barely missed this list if I’m being honest, the original “Transformers” film was animated and revisited the ongoing war between the Autobots and Decepticons 20 years after the show’s second season bringing both new and old favorites into the mix. It most famous scene however is likely the death of Optimus Prime which was a blatant attempt by Hasbro to use the film to reboot the series with new characters front and center, which would effectively increase toy sales as well. Even Megatron himself was literally transformed into a new character as Galvatron. While dated and certainly a product of its time, “The Transformers: The Movie” remains one of the best “Transformers” movies due to its story depth and cynical nature that still rings true even by today’s standards.
I’ll probably get some flack for putting this one ahead of “The Transformers: The Movie”, but while the original “Transformers” movie is a classic I’m giving “Bumblebee” the edge because there’s a surprising amount of charm in a film focused on only one Autobot rather than the whole team. “Bumblebee” puts the spotlight on the titular Transformer as he arrives on Earth and befriends a young teenager, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who helps him adapt to his new world and take on a pair of pursuing Decepticons. The bond between Steinfeld’s character and Bumblebee is so much more believable than the one he has with Sam in the main live-action series while the action, pacing, story and even the effects and character designs are much improved over Michael Bay’s films. While “The Transformers: The Movie” will always have a special place in my heart for the risks and action incorporated, “Bumblebee” more than any other movie in the franchise feels much less like a toy advertisement and more like a genuine cinematic experience that actually tries.
“Clue” has long been one of my favorite comedies and movies in general. I watched this film on repeat when I was younger and even today I enjoy it whatever chance I get. Released in 1985, it wasn’t technically the first film based on a Hasbro, but it did eventually become a Hasbro movie thanks to the company’s purchase of Parker Brothers in 1991 making it technically the oldest movie based on a current Hasbro IP. “Clue” sees an all-star cast playing the famed characters from the board game which is adapted into a cat and mouse comedic adventure through a mansion to determine who killed Mister Body. What makes this film special is the amount of comedic talent they brought together and how effectively everyone works off each other developing their characters in ways that make them all feel genuinely unique. Add in the fact that it originally released with three different endings depending on the theater (all three are included in the home release) and you have a film that completely owned its concept somehow turning the famous board game into a deserving comedy cult classic.