The 1996 film, The Phantom, doesn't get the love it deserves. People pan it as one of the worst comic book adaptation films around, and laugh at the casting of B-Movie star Billy Zane as the leading role. Hogwash, we say!
The Phantom is probably one of the most truest renditions of comic book to screen movies out there. The visuals are beautiful, the acting superb, and Billy Zane...Well, he's just cool. If there's one fault the film has, it's that too much of it was left on the cutting room floor. See, the reason that most people don't like the film is because the actual full story never made it into the end result. Much of the character building between The Phantom and Diana Palmer was left out of the film in favor of a faster paced action based movie - Which it wasn't written in the style to be.
Fortunately for fans who want the whole story, a novelization of the film was written by Rob MacGregor - The man behind a series of Indiana Jones novels. MacGregor not only included an origin story for The Phantom in his adaptation, but also the numerous arcs that were cut from the film.
The now defunct Street Players also released a very small line of action figures based on the film which quickly went from isle pegs to clearance bins. Featuring only one carded figure, and a horse/rider pack, the series seemed destined to fail from the get go. Street Players didn't seem interested in supporting the line, and showed this by not bothering to produce any villains for The Phantom to go toe to toe with. In combination with the film being labeled a flop, the toy line fizzle almost instantaneously.
Time has been much kinder to the series of toys than the original movie going crowd of the 90's was. These days you're not going to get either of these items for less than $25.00 to $30.00 each - Not bad for a toy that was condemned to the clearance bin for no more than two bucks within its first year of being released.
Though a sequel was rumored to occur, that rumor was squashed in 2008 with the announcement of a reboot of the franchise - Which of course has not come to fruition either. Will we see more big screen adventures of The Phantom? We suppose time will tell.
Join us next time when we take a look at Thundercats Minimates!
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