8 Unforgettable Kids’ Cartoon Adaptations to Movie
When a well loved children’s TV series makes the transition from the small to the silver screen it usually
spells a break from tradition and an attempt to appeal to a whole new audience. Animation turns to live action, rough-and-ready illustration turns to CGI, little-known voice-over artists https://www.animetests.com/ are replaced by big-name Hollywood stars and puppets are swapped for real-life actors. To celebrate the awesome new movie of eponymous cult TV series Tales of the Riverbank [talesoftheriverbank.co.uk/trailer], here are
some movie gems that actually improve on their kids’ TV beginnings, and some stinkers that should have stuck to what they’re best at:
On the one hand, Bill Murray sounds like he’s always been the voice of Garfield – his effortlessly sarcastic wit seems perfectly suited to the lasagne addicted fat feline. On the other, pretty much everything else about this film sucks. The acting’s not up to much and the animation’s nothing short of catastrophic. The original comic strip and cartoon series didn’t venture to far from Garfield’s litter tray, so this attempt to stretch things to well over an hour just ends up a mess.
Little known fact: Bill Murray recorded most of his audio for this in Italy while filming “The Life Aquatic” on a boat.
Official Garfield site – garfield.com/
Tales of the Riverbank (2008)
Though not a cartoon, this new movie is certainly worth a mention: when Johnny Morris first put his voice to these riverbank animals in the 1959 TV series of the same name, it could have been controversial. But it turned out that making animals look like they were talking was a big success. Today the lovable Hammy Hamster again joins GP, Owl and friends in a cracking feature length riverside romp. With a winning, British voice cast and an innocently jolly story, this movie is set to become a firm family favourite.
Little known fact: In the ’60s TV show, the animals were manipulated to look like they were talking using peanut butter on the roof of their mouth.
Official Site – talesoftheriverbank.co.uk/trailer
TOTR on IMDB – imdb.com/title/tt1043748/
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
There were the Samurai Pizza Cats and then there were the Biker Mice from Mars – but both were poor copies of what was undoubtedly the ultimate animal/mutant based cartoon action series set in a sewer… featuring a talking rat. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was an animated TV show in the 80s, a trilogy of live-action movies in the 90s and more recently a computer animated movie (TNMT). The films are largely terrible – but keep an eye out for a rather snazzy-looking Vanilla Ice in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Classic.
Little known fact: In the UK the TV series was called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as the word “ninja” was deemed too violent.
Scooby Doo (2002)
One of the better remakes, this is about as close as you’re going to get to the original series without going back to full animation. All the one liners are there, as are all the trademarks that made the original such a smash hit. There’s also a healthy dose of self mockery to ensure the grown-ups can enjoy it as much as kids. Anyone who found Scrappy Doo more than a little annoying in the original will love the twist at the end. The only mystery that still remains is this – what in the world IS a Scooby Snack??
Little know fact: In an early incarnation of the film, a certain Jim Carrey was attached to play Shaggy.
Official Scooby site – warnerbros.com/sd_brand/index.html
The original puppets had tons more magic and charisma than the ‘live’ actors in this shoddy remake. Creator of the original TV series, Gerry Anderson, even refused to accept a $750,000 offer to write an endorsement of the movie for its release. A huge flop. Enough said.
Little known fact: The movie is directed by Jonathan Frakes who played Riker in Star Trek.
Translating an animated classic into a live-action movie using real life actors isn’t always easy. Perhaps the most important piece of the jigsaw is the casting. In the case of 1994’s Flintstones they soooo very nearly got it right. John Goodman as Fred Flintstone – spot on. Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma – made for the role. Rick Moranis as Barney Rubble – all good. Rosie O’Donnell as Betty Rubble? – Um…interesting. At least the sound-track (courtesy of the BC52s) sounds great!
Little known fact: Halle Berry plays a character called Sharon Stone (get it!?)
Hardcore Transformers fans who remember the 1980s hit cartoon show may feel a little peeved that, in a departure from the original series , Spielberg and co. have decided to go with some more modern vehicles. So Bumble-bee’s no longer a big yellow VW Beetle! Boo! However, those who can’t remember the original (pretty much anyone under the age of 30) will love the non-stop robo-action.
Little known fact: The 1986 “Transformers the Movie” was one of Orson Welles last ever films – one of his first was Citizen Kane.
Transformers official site – transformersmovie.com/
Inspector Gadget (1999)
There are a few too many departures from the original cartoon series in this Disney feature to make it any good. Matthew Broderick is well cast in his role – but Rupert Everett seems too suave to be the evil “Dr Claw”. His face was never revealed in the 80s cartoon series, and you can’t help wondering whether it should have stayed that way in the movie. The action sequences are great though. It’s essentially Robocop for kids.