Looks like M. Night Shyamalan’s “what a twist!” ending to ‘The Last Airbender’ was its dismal reviews. But while I’d include his latest and first foray into family films on this list of the worst live action movies based on animated series, at least he can take comfort in knowing that movies based on cartoons have a history of being real stinkers. So in honor of ‘The Last Airbender’ also breaking wind, here’s a look at nine more of the worst live action movies based on animated series:
Mr. Magoo – You have to wonder if the creators of one of the worst live action movies based on cartoons were blind when they made it. After all, the numerous sight gags involving nearly blind Mr. Magoo were so predictable that the bumbling character should have seen them coming from a mile away. Leslie Nielsen might seem like a real-life cartoon character, but he should stay far away from live action movies based on cartoons.
Dragon Ball: Evolution – First of all, I never got the point of the ‘Dragon Ball Z’ animated series to begin with: a bunch of guys with troll doll hair spend every episode fighting; destroying landscapes; and accomplishing nothing. ‘Dragon Ball: Evolution’ definitely hasn’t evolved from the animated series, with some of the worst acting (and hair) out of all the live action movies based on cartoons on this list.
Inspector Gadget – Thank you, Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker, for helping to ruin one of my favorite animated series. This is one of the worst live action movies based on cartoons that go-goes nowhere, and Matthew Broderick fails to capture an iota of the cartoon inspector’s personality (plus, for a movie based on a wacky animated series, this one takes itself way too seriously). Shouldn’t the DVDs self destruct?
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel – ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ has to be one of my least favorite cartoons of all time, as I just couldn’t stand the arrogant squeaky-voiced singer and his sibling stereotypes. One movie was bad enough, but two? And twice the chipmunks in the “squeakquel”? Yep, this is one of the worst live action movies based on animated series that’s just as bad as it sounds (shame on you, Earl Hickey!).
Fat Albert – Yet another beloved animated series that should never have been turned into a movie, this one takes the kid from ‘All That’ (now SNL) and tries to turn him into one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time with disastrous results. You would think bringing cartoons to life would make them more dimensional, but the characters here are as flat as they come. And what makes it one of the worst live action movies based on an animated series isn’t just that the jokes aren’t funny; it actually makes the characters look like ignorant caricatures of the originals.
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle – Sigh. Why mess with perfection? ‘ The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show’ is one of the most creative animated series I’ve ever seen, so it’s a horrible shame to see it turned into one of he dullest, dumbest live action movies I’ve ever watched. It may have had an all-star cast that included Robert De Niro and Rene Russo, but this story about the moose and his flying squirrel pal was one big box office flop.
Dudley Do-Right – Another character from the Bullwinkle cartoons also got to star in one of the worst live action movies based on an animated series, as Brendan Fraser (boy does he know how to pick ’em) steps into the heroic Mountie’s knee-high boots. But are we really surprised that Dudley Do-Right did so wrong?
Underdog – This is one of the worst live action movies based on cartoons that definitely lives up to its title. Unfortunately, this film about an underdog-turned-wonderdog didn’t prove its title wrong, and even the puppy star’s cuteness factor and his reassurance that “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” couldn’t save the day.
Richie Rich – Do we really want to see a spoiled rich brat live it up by being able to buy whatever his heart desires? I think not. Kevin impressed us with his ingenuity in ‘Home Alone’, But here Culkin’s character relies on material possessions to keep us entertained, which just makes him come off as a bratty billionaire. (No wonder he disappeared for so many years after this waste of money hit theaters.)
So, Hollywood, it you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s almost impossible to make live action movies based on animated series that can pass as watchable, so you might as well stick to remakes, sequels, and reboots from now on.