I'm lately finding myself a bit of a rare species here on the interweb, in as much as I'm not reflexively aghast at each new "low" in the current trend of greenlighting major movies based on brand-name properties of dubious narrative potential (usually video games or old toys.) The problem is probably with me, being that I'm A.) a film geek born in 1981 and thus the textbook "mark" for these films and B.) not concerned with artificially-increasing my percieved coolness by being a snide douche and pretending these things don't still occupy a place of affection in my psyche.
For awhile, this particular trend confined itself to action figure lines from the 80s, most of which had nominal stories attached that could be plausibly adapted to film. Recently, though, it's branched off into stuff like random playthings or board games that don't really have any attendant "story" or "theme," which has gotten people all hot and bothered about "the end of cinema" and other such hyperbole. Current most-punchline-y cases: Viewmaster and Asteroids (as in the photo-viewing visor toy and the minimalist late-70s arcade game.)
Frankly, the aquisitions of THESE kinds of properties makes me a lot LESS apprehensive than the stuff that was already narrative. 80s action-figure backstories, with the mandatory dueling teams of good and evil characters fighting over some mythical widget or another, don't exactly mandate the most complex stories be told. Stuff that IS "just a hook and a brand," on the other hand, seems to me to hold more possibilities. Asteroids, for example, is "about" a spaceship tasked with blowing up space debris. Something you could build a decent scifi movie out of? Sure, I think so.
Elsewhere, Ridley Scott apparently wants to make a "Monopoly" movie - as in the board game. Now... a Ridley Scott movie about wealthy people fighting dirty over real-estate? Yeah, I wanna see that - and if he has to slap the Parker Bros. brand on it to get it made... still deserves a chance, as far as I'm concerned. Same deal with the proposed "Battleship" film. Viewmaster? How many movies have already been made about looking-glass type devices having some extra-natural function? Does the cheezy branding make it an AUTOMATIC "don't" regardless of the outcome? (Oh, in case your wondering, YES, someone already grabbed up the rights to make a horror movie out of "Oujia Board," probably the biggest 'duh' property in this cycle.)
I can certainly see, if nothing else, a kind of perverse creative "fun" to be had if one if the guy (or guys) tasked with coming up with narrative contexts for these things. Lemme try some out...
SILLY PUTTY: Terrorists pursue a kid who's unwittingly used his Silly Putty to "copy" the only known text of missle launch codes.
CREEPY CRAWLERS: Rubbery insects come out "alive," chase people.
EASY BAKE OVEN: Girl makes surprisingly-good amateur pastries, often with comically magical results (so, "Simply Irresistable"/"Like Water For Chocolate" but with a kid.)
OPERATION! Disgraced surgeon must perform delicate operation on a man who has been wired by terrorists to explode if bomb parts not removed precisely (This Summer: Don't blink. Don't breath. Don't... touch the sides!)
HOT WHEELS: That unused script for "Fast & Furious 5" might as well get used for SOMETHING, right?
TWISTER: Teen sex-comedy. Vaugely-dweeby guy re-evaluates life after round of titular party-game accidentally lands him in semi-compromising position with longtime female friend he'd previously not thought of "that way." (Paging Mr. Cera...)
RADIO FLYER: Oh, yeah. Nevermind.