What is ToeJam & Earl and why is it being made into a movie?

For many, the ’90s were a haven for weird ideas. From MTV’s Liquid TV to the musical anomalies of Primus, it was an innovative era that set out to bring bold ideas to life – even if they got a little out of hand. So it’s no surprise that ToeJam & Earl come back for their own feature film from the 90s. Co-developed by Amazon Studios and Unanimous Media, the film is still in the early stages of production pending a collaborative director search. For those of us who didn’t grow up watching Sega Genesis, you might be wondering what on earth ToeJam & Earl actually is.

is it a cartoon A video game? Is it both? There’s no denying that the colorful duo exude a certain ’90s charm coupled with the sensibility of the decade, but why are they getting a feature film decades after they first burst onto the scene? The answer is simpler than you might think. We’re going to talk about what ToeJam & Earl is and how it has the potential to be successful as a feature film.

What exactly is ToeJam & Earl?

Toejam & Earl Sega Genesis stand green background
ToeJam & Earl Productions

Let’s cover the rough strokes first. ToeJam & Earl was originally a video game developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions – later renamed ToeJam & Earl Productions Inc. – and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. It follows two alien creatures: ToeJam, a squid-like creature with a gold necklace and an inverted cap, and Earl, a large orange starfish with high heels and dark sunglasses. As the two hover above Earth in their spaceship, Earl’s poor driving skills crash their ship into the planet’s crust. To return home, they must find a way to repair their ship before aggressive Earthlings end the duo’s journey for good.

Also See: Comix Zone: What We’re Hoping For From The Sega Adaptation Of The Cult Classic

Though he failed to reach the breathtaking heights of Sega’s other mascots, ToeJam & Earl remained popular enough to get two sequels over a decade, along with a modernized reimagining in the form of ToeJam & Earl: Back in the groove. In fact, the series has always been considered a popular cult classic among the star releases in the Sega Genesis library, with praise for its random elements and emphasis on co-op gameplay.

Why is ToeJam & Earl getting a movie?

toejam & earl back in the groove dance hula space
HumaNature Studios

So, with the broad strokes of the series established why is ToeJam & Earl Get your own movie? You can attribute it to a variety of different factors, but we’ll narrow it down to a few of the most important ones.

First of all, the video game market is drastically different from what it was in the 90’s. Compared to the 2000s, when big studios and high-definition resolutions first came together, there wasn’t as much room for colorful mascots or wacky antics. Those that existed were largely regulated to already prominent franchises or well-known publishers. However, as the indie developer scene gradually grew in the 2010s, a new market for casual, chilled games was thoroughly developed. While some enjoy the peasant lifestyle Stardew Valley or the free-form building of Minecraftit exudes a certain kind of “funkiness”. ToeJam & Earl that you won’t find anywhere else. That, combined with the success of customizations like Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pikachuand the new Super Mario Bros. show that even the most bizarre video games can be successfully translated into new media.

Also see: 11 Delightfully Offbeat Animated Movies From The 1970s

Beyond that, to say the least ToeJam & Earl unique would be an understatement. The game’s quirky humor, Californian surfer slang, and jazzy funk music make for a chilled, almost carefree experience. It’s a game that reminds us that the medium should be fun first and foremost. While the upcoming film will have a slightly altered plot, what’s in jeopardy feels appropriate for the duo. Essentially they are “getting their groove back” which needs at least a little confidence to return to a wider audience.

The random nature of the games would seemingly be the perfect setup for a comical comedy like Bill and Ted. ToeJam and Earl’s characters already embody the same kind of charming goofiness that Bill and Ted had in spades. Their cartoonish groove contrasts beautifully with the animosity of the games equally goofy earthlings. You’ll find hilariously over-the-top dentists, shoppers, bogeys, possessed mailboxes and phantom ice cream trucks preventing the duo from reaching their spaceship parts. All in all, it’s something you can’t help but find entertaining in the silliest of ways, as it perfectly accompanies each character’s exaggerated proportions.

see as how streets of anger gets a movie next to it comix zone And tetris, toe jam & count feels like a fitting addition to the world of theatrical video game adaptations. Additionally, it’s a game series that exudes “positive vibes,” the same kind of uplifting escapism that many people desperately crave. Instead of beating up their enemies, ToeJam and Earl want to go home and relax on the planet Funkotron. For many it is an incredibly understandable feeling. While we may not be as funky as the motley duo, we can certainly understand their plight. Let’s hope plans for a feature film go through rather than ultimately collapsing.


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