RF’s Top 7 Worst Live-Action Cartoon Movies

by Alan Rapp on May 15, 2008

in Top Tens & Lists

Every now and again the RF staff, with the occasional help of some friends, gives you, our loyal RF viewers, short (but sweet) lists on all kinds of interesting things.  With the recent release of the stylish but empty Speed Racer we take a look at some of the worst films adapted from cartoons.  Check out the list of the unlukcy seven inside.

Taking a half-hour animated series and turning it into a 90-120 minute live-action theatrical film usually doesn’t end well, especially for the audience.  Here are a few of the worst, and best forgotten, live-action adaptations of cartoons.*

*Note – movies created principally off toys (Masters of the Universe, Transformers,) or comic books (Ri¢hie Ri¢h, Josie and the Pussycats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Howard the Duck) won’t be found on this list.

Æon FluxHere’s a recipe for disaster.  Take an avant garde sexually charged serialized animated short and make it into a live-action 93 minute PG-13 movie for teens.  The film tries to make sense of the series’ odd non-linear, and often unintelligible, storylines, but only ends up spinning its wheels.

Dudley Do-RightBrendan Fraiser has made a pair of movies based off cartoons.  Unlike his first, Dudley Do-Right is completely without charm.  Which is sad, because although the cartoon wasn’t exactly rocket science, it was still fun.

The FlintstonesStupidity runs amuck in this live-action take on the beloved cartoonJohn Goodman and Rick Moranis go through the motions as Barney and Fred.  Memorable mostly for the never-ending series of rock puns, none of them funny, but at least it’s better than…

The Flintstones in Viva Rock VegasIf the first film had a smidgeon of charm, this prequel has none.  So bad it deserves it’s own spot on the list.

Inspector GadgetI don’t know if it’s possible to make a good live-action version of Inspector Gadget, at least one that isn’t dissimlar to Get Smart, but I know Hollywood hasn’t really tried.  This tired effort stars Matthew Broderick as the cyborg detective (who isn’t nearly bumbling enough) and Michelle Trachtenberg as his niece Penny.  French Stewart would star in a just as forgettable straight-to-video sequel.

Scooby-DooScooby-Doo is bad on many levels.  It’s worst mistake is a fundamental error and misunderstanding of the mysteries from the beloved cartoon.  In the cartoon Scooby and the gang solved mysteries of ghouls, goblins, ghosts, aliens, and more, which ALWAYS turned out to have rational human explanations (kind of like a Saturday morning Hitchcockian style).  The film chucks this founding premise in the garbage (as does it’s sequel) and fills it will real spooks.

UnderdogOh, there’s need to fear ‘cause Underdog isn’t here.  Just thinking about this brainless adaptation which lacks any tie to the terrific Saturday morning cartoon (except for borrowing the title and the name of the villain) makes my blood boil.  This is anal-rape of a beloved childhood icon taken to Michael Bay insanity levels, and beyond.

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