Top 10 Worst Live-Action Movies Based on Cartoons

Everyone grows up feeling some level of nostalgia for the cartoons they enjoyed as a child. Unfortunately, Hollywood often sees our beloved animated favorites as a chance to try to cash in on both old fans while catering to a new younger audience. Sometimes these family centric efforts work, but most of the time they end up appealing to neither the adults nor the kids. Join WatchMojo.com and we’ll be counting down the top 10 worst live-action movies based on cartoons.
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Top 10 Worst Live-Action Movies based on Cartoons


These were originally cartoons for a reason. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 worst live-action movies based on cartoons.

Just to keep things on the level, we’re omitting films based on adult-centric cartoons, like “Aeon Flux.”

#10 – “Scooby-Doo” (2002)


Kicking off our list is the flick that reintroduced the popular ‘60s cartoon about a gang of mystery solvers and their talking dog. This flick sets the bar low for other live-action-CGI hybrid flicks with its ultra-cheap effects, stiff acting and painfully dull script. It’s also too scary for kids, too stupid for teens and completely unwatchable for anyone else – even longtime fans.

#9 – “Fat Albert” (2004)


This adaptation took a beloved ‘70s cartoon and turned it into a “bloated” Hollywood project aimed at an audience unfamiliar with the material. You know what would’ve been better? A straightforward animated update. But instead, we get the tired old gimmick of cartoons characters being transported to the real world. Sure, it’s inoffensive, but boy is it lame. The best parts of this movie? The actual cartoon bits.

#8 – “Underdog” (2007)


The rhyming superhero dog is brought to life in this film based on the classic ‘60s TV show. Unfortunately, the Disney-fication of this franchise means that all the elements that give it character are gone, including the newsreel narration, campiness and humor aimed at all ages. Instead, the film is directed towards only the youngest filmgoers, who would probably be happy no matter what the talking dog does.

#7 – “Garfield: The Movie” (2004)


Based on the popular comics and cartoon about a fat, lazy, lasagna-loving orange cat, this movie epitomizes god-awful CGI-live-action hybrids – even with Bill Murray. Sucking the wit and intelligence from the source material, this preschool affair fails to fill its short 80-minute runtime with anything worthwhile. Worst of all, its success at the box office made room for similar remakes, like “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Thanks a lot, Garfield!

#6 – “Dragonball Evolution” (2009)


It’s criminal that this film does not capitalize on any of the things that made the series a phenomenon, considering its rich background in manga and anime. How hard is it to capture the appeal of magical wish-granting balls, a fierce champion, and his battle against alien invaders? Why create a clichéd and overly tame action flick that only demonstrates Hollywood’s inability to re-interpret Eastern material?

#5 – “The Flintstones” (1994)


Yabba Dabba… oh my god, what did they do? “The Flintstones” was a 1960s sitcom about the modern Stone Age family, and it was bursting with charm and humor. Despite perfect casting like John Goodman and Rick Moranis, the live-action remake only achieves the look of the cartoon, and never manages to capture the feel. Also, they lose us when they start making jokes about adultery…

#4 – “Mr. Magoo” (1997)


If there’s one cartoon that’s best left in the past, it’s this 1940s comedy series about a blind old man. This shortsighted flick makes a feature length attempt to amuse audiences with max ten minutes-worth of jokes. Not even Leslie Nielson can redeem this script, which is nothing but filler and handicap jokes that are so offensive Disney had to add a disclaimer…

#3 – “Inspector Gadget” (1993)


This is what happens when characters and plot are swept aside in favor of headache-inducing hyper-kinetic special effects. Packed with a never-ending barrage of product placements, this painful remake also features desperate comical violence and sexual innuendos, making it inappropriate for children and off-putting to everyone. But miscasting Matthew Broderick as Gadget is the worst offense, which is made even less palatable by the scenes with his irritating replica…

#2 – “Masters of the Universe” (1987)


Did you grow up watching “He-Man”? Did you ever imagine that his feature film adaptation would transport him and his friends to California? Neither did we. Dolph Lundgren’s He-Man needs the help of a waitress to find his way home. Between Frank Langella’s grim interpretation of Skeletor, the ridiculous effects and the flick’s overly serious tone, this remake succeeds at nothing more than confusing audiences and horrifying fans.

#1 – “The Last Airbender” (2010)


Taking the top spot on our list is the M. Night Shyamalan adaptation that tries to condense the first chapter of an unforgettable cartoon into one film, while also taking major liberties – like swapping character nationalities and turning bending into some sort of dance. Shyamalan also fails to replicate the cartoon’s ability to bounce between comedy, action and drama. But, what stings most is that “Airbender” coulda been the next “Star Wars.”

Do you agree with our list? Which live action flick ruined your childhood memories the most? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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