The Worst Live-Action Movies Based on Cartoons  

Luke Y Thompson
36.8k votes 6.2k voters 398.4k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the films that most completely screwed up great cartoon shows.

Live-action movies based on cartoons don't have to be bad. A lot of the time, however, they suck. Animation and live-action are very different mediums, and a complex understanding of what makes something work is more essential than a literal replication of drawings. Unfortunately, if you say that to a studio executive, he or she will likely go, "Huh?"

Most of the movies on this list of awful movies based on animated shows share at least one major trait: they were made not because anyone involved gave a damn, but because the studio wanted to milk an already popular brand, even, in some cases, when said brand's popularity had peaked decades prior.

And while you may correctly point out that some of the films on this list originate with source material other than cartoons, they're included if the live-action version incorporated anything that originated in the animated version. Fair enough?
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If you  can't give properties the budget they deserve, maybe don't do them at all. That's the lesson behind the Jem movie, in which a hi-tech sci-fi drama is translated into a low-budget faux-musical, with holograms provided by a cheap robot that lacks all the key character traits of the cartoon show's Synergy.

Using YouTube submissions and Google Maps for scene transitions, Jem and the Holograms is embarrassingly cheap and ridiculously eager to update the material for modern audiences. Fans can only hope a reboot is not too far behind.

Actors: Juliette Lewis, Molly Ringwald, Stefanie Scott, Ryan Guzman, Aubrey Peeples, + more

Released: 2015

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

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The Rocky and Bullwinkle movie with Robert De Niro was awkward enough. But it pales into insignificance when compared to Boris and Natasha, a Rocky and Bullwinkle movie that didn't actually have the rights to use Rocky or Bullwinkle.

It's almost like if Disney were to make a Sorcerer's Apprentice movie without Mickey Mouse, and... Oh wait. Disney actually did that, didn't they?

Actors: John Travolta, John Candy, Andrea Martin, Jim Cummings, Sally Kellerman, + more

Released: 1992

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith

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The first live-action Flintstones movie, starring John Goodman and Rick Moranis, is at least an entertaining restaging of Hanna-Barbera's classic Honeymooners riff. Replacing them with Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin for a prequel is just blatant downsizing that disappointed most fans, though Alan Cumming's Great Gazoo is a minor highlight in an otherwise dull and cost-cutting follow-up.

Actors: Kristen Stewart, Rosie O'Donnell, Joan Collins, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski, + more

Released: 2000

Directed by: Brian Levant

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Bill Murray narrowly saves the first Garfield by making the lasagna-loving fat cat into a version of the actor's Saturday Night Live lounge singer persona. The sequel rips off The Prince and the Pauper, and pettily names its villain after a film critic who was mean to the first movie (Billy Connolly's Lord Dargis is named for New York Times writer Manohla Dargis).

Sadly, that's the funniest joke in the movie.

Actors: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Sharon Osbourne, Bob Hoskins, + more

Released: 2006

Directed by: Tim Hill

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