RANKED! The Best Live-Action Movie Versions Of Cartoons
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Your childhood doesn’t haven’t to die with your gray hairs and grainy TV nostalgia. No, there are almost always live-action movies to go with your favorite cartoons. With all the live-action remakes of your favorite Disney animations like Beauty & the Beast and The Jungle Book, we thought it best to call back the best cartoons with live-action counterparts (although we’re not including any superheroes). Plan on some quality programming, because a ranking of the best live-action movies with cartoon versions over the last 25 years was long overdue.
10. Transformers (2007)
This was Megan Fox in her prime. Occasionally, there were robots, too. Oh, and an actor who would later crack in the form of weird outfits from getting too much attention. Here’s to remembering Michael Bay and his shitty movies!
9. Christopher Robin (2018)
This year, childhood cartoon cravers will get a live-action remake they’ve been waiting a lifetime for. No, not another Inspector Gadget movie. Christopher Robin gets a visit from our favorite pantless Pooh bear. While we have a few months until its release, we figured by default it has to be better than Transformers. We still have Ted and some Thunder Buddy bong-rips to entertain us even if it isn’t.
8. Yogi Bear (2010)
T.J. Miller loves to constantly reference his work on Yogi Bear 3D. That is, when he’s not getting arrested for making comedic bomb threats. The 2010 adaptation came more than 50 years after Yogi’s debut. What may surprise people is that The Yogi Bear Show ran for more than 25 years from 1961 to 1988. A sequel is in the works, but is still in development at the moment. Sorry, T.J.
7. Scooby-Doo (2002)
If you haven’t seen your favorite canine crime solver and his Mystery Machine-driving band of dorks in live action, be prepared for a lengthy mystery marathon. There’s four — count ’em — four installments dating back to 2002. It starts out with Scooby-Doo, then eventually brings on Scrappy. By the fourth, they’re unsuccessfully rescuing Daphne from an underground sex cult because Scooby can’t pick up her scent after too many recasts.
6. The Smurfs (2011)
Papa Smurf and his tribe of baby blues just dropped their third live-action film in six years after a nine-season run in the ’80s (with a nearly 20-year hiatus in between). Smurfette is still hot as ever, though. Looks like she just gave her fellow Smurf some “blue balls” there, huh?
5. The Mask (1994)
Most people forget that Jim Carrey’s goofy green character from the ’90s had an animated counterpart that ran immediately after for three seasons from 1995 to 1997. Although it may have paled in comparison to Carrey’s performance, it was another fantastic, yet forgotten childhood television moment thanks to an oversaturated internet and our withering limbic system.
4. Dennis the Menace (1993)
The Walter Matthau classic will be 25 years old in June. Then again, you may have more vivid memories of the 1986 cartoon. While it’s so heavily engraved in our minds, the animated series only lasted for two seasons. God, we miss you, Walt. Lord knows what happened to that little child actor.
3. Space Jam (1996)
If you got anxious for a moment because you wanted some more Bill Murray linked to your childhood, you shall have it (and then some). Michael Jordan, a lesser-known celebrity athlete, made a couple cameos as well in the Looney Tunes cartoon adaptation. This movie is also hesitantly expecting a potential far-off sequel with an even lesser-known celebrity athlete — LeBron James? Never heard of him.
2. Ghostbusters (1984)
Although the 1984 movie came first, the ghost-busting cartoon The Real Ghostbusters (ironic title) and catchy theme song appeared swiftly after, landing between the original and its less-than-adored sequel. This, of course, spawned other ghost-friendly cartoons that went off the rails and lost our attention. Personally, I think most of it is pretty great, despite the 2016 reboot getting gender-shamed. Apparently, Paul Feig wants some more in a potential sequel reboot, and Ivan Reitman has more animated ideas in mind, too. So it’s far from over for your friendly ghost team.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
The 1987 cartoon was almost too good — even with all the continuity errors and animation faux pas — which is why they made two progressively more disappointing live-action movies after a solid origin in 1990. That, of course, led to cartoon reboots and Michael Bay reimagining our favorite green teens into a bunch of muscle-bound, somewhat racially profiled, CGI disasters that couldn’t even garner a third installment. Guys, the third movie in the last trilogy was in Japan on horseback. How do you lose to that?