Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Discuss: Cartoons That Became Live-Action Films



david_b said...

Quite frankly, I haven't wasted much time in watching most of these, but by happenstance I did manage to turn on the first 'Flinstones' live-action movie one Saturday while I was finishing IG School in DC. It was pretty hilarious. John Goodman did a fabulous Fred, and I always love Liz Perkins, always sexy and was perfect as Wilma. The story was as close to an animated story as you can get with the pacing and dialog.

I was wonderfully surprised. 'Course I was looking for a rare study break...

Edo Bosnar said...

I really don't like these, as I generally just don't see the point. Take the Flintstones as mentioned by David above; I think it was one of the first (if not the first) of these type of adaptations, released to much fanfare. I'll readily acknowledge that it was cool seeing the "stone-age" world of the Flintstones rendered in real life, but once the novelty of that wears off, there's not much there. Any given episode of the cartoon is more entertaining.
Same thing applies to 101 Dalmatians - once you get over all the cute animals being cute, it's a pretty bland movie. And Scooby Doo - man, that was just bad.

david_b said...

Agreed with Edo.., I guess I really miss the point of making these other than hollywood boxoffice/merchandising greed.

They'll never translate well, and I'm not quite sure what folks are expecting.

A live-action cartoon..? Basically an oxymoron. 'Course you can kinda use this logic for live-action superhero movies as well, if you want to go that route about it.

Anonymous said...

Essentially agree with those above, but I have to admit I rather liked Speed Racer. Aside from a couple of flaws (2 major, 1 minor - by my count), I thought it was well-done and very faithful to the source material. Plus, even today, the Mach 5 is just *too* cool!

Edo Bosnar said...

You may have a point, David, but for some reason, most of the super-hero movies have been quite good (if not outright awesome). And Anon, I haven't seen Speed Racer, but now I'm curious. It makes me think that maybe a live-action Space Ghost movie could be pretty good...

Maybe it's just the humorous and/or funny animal stuff that doesn't translate well. Can you imagine live-action versions of Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny, a la that horrible Garfield movie (or, going back further, Howard the Duck)? Yeesh.

William said...

It seems that Hollywood is finally getting the hang of translating comic book properties to film, but they still can't seem to do the same with cartoons or video games.

I saw the original Flintstones, and as I recall I was not overly impressed. At least not impressed enough to bother watching the sequel.

When I first saw that Speed Racer was being made into a live action movie, and that it was being done by the same guys who did the Matrix, I was pretty stoked. I used to love the old Speed Racer toon. But I was beyond disappointed by the final product. It was all style and no substance. It was just a weird movie, that I did not care for at all.

Underdog was another movie adaptation from a favorite cartoon of mine that I was looking forward to, but it was terrible as well. They should have used a CGI Underdog, instead of a live dog. The whole thing was nothing like the cartoon. I don't know why they even bother sometimes.

I never saw any of the Scooby Doo live action movies, because I could tell from the previews that I would not like them. However, in their defense I think they are made very much with young children in mind.

Doug said...

I saw Speed Racer while on a transatlantic flight, and thought it was a solid effort at making a cartoon come to life, while still being a cartoon (if that makes sense). While I've seen bits and pieces of that first Flintstones film, as well as some of the Scooby-Doo films, I've not seen any of them straight through. However, I do admire the "look" of both of those, and really appreciate the attention to detail to -again- make the cartoons come to life.

But any film, animated, live, etc. is only going to be as good as the script and the delivery of it by the actors. So to say that "live action versions of cartoons are bad" is too general a statement. That would be to say that by nature they have to inherently be bad. That can't be true. There's nothing wrong with the source material, only the execution.


J.A. Morris said...

I rented the Scooby movies and thought they were okay. Matthew Lillard is a decent character actor (he's great in SLC Punk)and does the best Shaggy this side of Casey Kasem.

And I enjoyed the 2000 Rocky & Bullwinkle movie too,if that counts as a "live-action" film.

Doug said...

J.A. may have raised a nice splinter topic for today -- films with mixed media, such as the Ninja Turtles (get it -- "splinter" topic? Man, I am on fire!), Roger Rabbit, etc.

Opinions on those sorts of movies?


david_b said...

Doug, what I meant by the 'never translate well' is really more towards the perception and expectations of the fanbase than the production itself.

The CGI, costuming, actors used all are typically good (and expensive..), provided you have (as mentioned) a suitable script and good zippy editing that captures the essence and style of the cartoon. For instance, the 'Flinstone' movie I mentioned was entertaining, but did venture into areas like embezzlement, unemployment and office politics.. Despite the original cartoon being one of the first prime-time animated sitcoms, are these topics the younger audience will readily understand..? It really depends on the story and what the intended audience is. Again the real science is how the studios market it, and to what age group. I don't envy those folks, with huge studio expenditures riding on hype.

Certainly the intent is not to acutally improve on the source material. If it doesn't, most baby boomers may simply go for the leading stars or go 'meh..why bother?' while the younger crowd who was born in the '80s may miss the appeal all-together.

I personally didn't mind seeing Halle Berry in bearskins, so it was fine for me.

Misfires..? 'He-Man' movie and of course, our beloved Howard the Duck.

david_b said...

Edo, agreed on the superhero films of late, the Marvel one's have been awesome.

So would 'Space Jam' be considered today, with animated characters in the live action scenario..? It would compare with Roger Rabbit certainly.

Anonymous said...

Annie tops my list, probably throw in Casper but mainly because a young Christina Ricci does such an awesome job playing to pretend ghosts, watched Stuart Little way too many times since it was my youngest favorite movie for a while. Have yet to see Speed Racer all the way through. Rosie killed Flintstones for me, Popeye was a mess, same with Cat In The Hat and Dennis the Menace was just wrong, like crime against humanity wrong. But I can watch the 1982 version of "Annie" over and over. I have it on VHS, I should get it on DVD.

The Prowler (really glad that whenever the day is grey and lonely, he can stick out his chin and grin and say.....).

Anonymous said...

Just a question, has anyone else seen the commercial for the new Marvel Universe Live tour?

The Prowler (counting down the days to Comicpalooza).

Humanbelly said...

ANNIE might be a little bit too circuitous in its journey from comic strip to movie to be fully considered a cartoon-to-live-action-film project. It's really a movie adaptation of a hit Broadway musical that was based on an old comic strip-- never, to my memory, making the necessary appearance as a cartoon. HOWEVER, Prowler ol' pal, I would never even begin to rain on your affection for it, believe me-! The Peters/Curry/Burnett version of "Easy Street" is pure delight.
(Wow, how off-topic can we get. . . ??)

Among the live-action adaptations mentioned here, that I've seen, there's not a single one where I thought, "Wow, that was a great movie! Just as good as enjoyable as the original cartoon!" They really only rose to the level of "Enh-- not too bad.", at best. Most have looked so horrifically awful in previews that I couldn't bring myself to watch them.


david_b said...

Tomorrow's topic should be the flipside.., live action shows or movies that turned into cartoons, but I believe we may have covered that. Honorable mention goes to my fav Trek entry, ST-TAS.., and perhaps the 'Ghostbusters' animated show with Slimer.

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