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#251747 - 05/30/99 02:45 AM Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Scott Shaw Offline
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Registered: 03/12/99
Posts: 400
Loc: Sherman Oaks, California, USA
I recently had an opportunity to read the script for the next upcoming big live-action feature "prequel."

No, it wasn't the script for the next STAR WARS flick. Instead, I had the dubious pleasure to wade through the script for "The Flintstones 2: Viva Rock Vegas!" Y'know, I wasn't expecting much, but you'd think they would have learned something from the first "Flintstones" movie. This was no better than the typical Saturday morning cartoon script, but without the cartoonishness. Instead we get an effeminate Gazoo and Betty as a former slut! (I'm NOT kidding!) Hopefully, the script has gone through a few re-writes since the version I read was written, but what I read makes the first "Flintstones" movie look like "Citizen Kane"!

Which brings me to the question: has there EVER been a decent live-action movie based on an animated cartoon? Will there be? Is it even POSSIBLE? I'll admit I have a soft spot for "Popeye," but only for the first half (which was much more Segar than Fleisher Bros. in approach.) But look out for the second half, which attempts to emulate animation; that rubber octopus is the worst ever seen since Ed Wood's "Bride Of The Monster"! And you either love or hate Harry Nilsson's songs...

So far, we've had to suffer through "The Flintstones," "George Of The Jungle" (bearable only due to Brendan Fraser's undeniable likability) and the excreble "Boris And Natasha." Soon, we'll have to live with "Dudley Do-Right" (Brendan Fraser again), "Inspector Gadget," "Rocky And Bullwinkle" (live-action with animation), "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (reportedly based much more closely on the Chuck Jones cartoon that on the Dr. Seuss original) and the aforementioned "Flintstones" prequel. I just read that a live-action "Mr. Peabody And Sherman" is on the horizon, and they've been threatening us for quite a while with a live-action "Speed Racer." What's next?

I can see it now...Jim Nabors IS "Milton The Monster"!

Hey, at least they never made the announced live-action "Tom And Jerry" movie, reportedly to co-star Dustin Hoffman! (I wish I could remember who his co-star was to be, and for that matter, who was cast as who!)

Obviously, there HAVE been some pretty good live-action films based on comic strips and comic books...even gum cards! (In my humble opinion, "Mars Attacks" is, shot for shot, the greatest comic book movie EVER...that's what happens when you put a cartoonist in the director's chair!) But that's print-to-film, with a fair amount of leeway in the interpretation of the material. But adapting animated cartoons to live-action is film-to-film. Classic cartoon characters (especially if they're beloved enough to risk a big budget film over) are already stars. They have their own distinctive voices, movements, even sound effects. They're literally bigger than life. Most live actors don't stand a chance of competing with cartoons characters for a faithful performance or the ability to do extreme physical comedy. (Jim Carrey is probably the only living exception to this; we'll see in "Grinch"!) In my opinion, there's no creative reason to make these movies in the first place (the motive of profitability aside.) Okay, so we've got MY screed out of the way...

...But I'm interested in what YOU think! When it comes to films based on animated cartoons, HAVE there been any good'uns? If they didn't work, why not? What cartoon would you WANT to see adapted to live-action, and why? Are you optimistic about any of the upcoming movies I mentioned?

And does Carrot Top qualify as a cartoon?

SCOTT "Still Awaiting 'The ALVIN Movie' Starring REAL Chipmunks With A Computer-Generated David Seville" SHAW!
_________________________
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

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#251748 - 05/30/99 08:51 AM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Don Markstein Offline
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Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1202
Loc: Earth
The second half of POPEYE has at least one thing to recommend it -- it's not until near the end that he sings his famous song.

It's not from an animated source, but I thought the 1950s LI'L ABNER movie did a terrific job of adapting the strip, visually as well as story-wise. (Sorry -- I always think of LI'L ABNER when somebody mentions the Robin Williams POPEYE.)

A few years ago, I heard they were doing a live-action MIGHTY MOUSE. Whatever became of that?

Sorry I can't help out with what you're looking for. I tend to enjoy these things in terms of amusing fluff, but can't honestly say they're worth doing.

Quack, Don

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#251749 - 06/01/99 11:19 AM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
jenny gonzalez Offline
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Registered: 02/16/99
Posts: 1128
Loc: NY NY, USA
Ok, that Popeye movie was an exception, but for the most part I HATE LIVE ACTION VERSIONS OF CARTOONS?
Why can't they just make them as animated features? I can appreciate the skill of a good animator far more than I can appreciate overpaid actors in wigs and prostethics trying to look like cartoon characters.
More work for REAL animators, less for cgi tech-hacks!!!

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Jenny Gonzalez,
Kronikle Komix
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Jenny Gonzalez,
WiTcH BaBy DeViL DoLL

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#251750 - 06/01/99 12:44 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I'm with you jenni...

I FREAKIN' HATE LIVE ACTION CARTOON/COMIC BOOK MOVIES!!!,

I mentioned this on another thread, but it steams me so much I'll re-mention it here. What IS is with Hollywood and these stupid live-action versions of comic book and cartoon movies? The only one that ever worked for me was the first Batman movie, I enjoyed it, even with Michael Keaton.

But ALMOST NO ONE has the GUTS here in LaLaLand to make a FEATURE-LENGTH animated movie of ANYTHING, unless it's another gaddamn Disney MUSICAL fachrissake. Hello?! Didn't the live-action musical film -- a transference of the Broadway format to movies -- DIE as a format in the early 60's? The only musical film in MY lifetime to do well (deservedly) is Grease -- based on, oh yeah, the Broadway play! They tried it again after that... Ack, Xanadu, Sgt. Pepper... ewwurrrgh. My gorge rises. What makes the musical animation format persist? Due respect to those who work for the Mouse, but really!

Does anyone know if the Tarzan movie is a musical? I REALLY hope not. If it is, I'm boycotting. I'll wait til it comes out on video, and watch it with the sound off. It looks like a landmark film in terms of animation, but if I gotta hear ONE MORE show tune in a toon flick, I'll... I'll... rrgh.

Notable exceptions to the above rant: Beavis and Butthead. Thank GOD they didn't do that live action (although I know some real guys who could have starred in it). The new South Park. Hey at least it's a toon. The Prince of Egypt; now there's an ambitious project! I didn't see it yet but heard it was darned good and killer animation... by ARTISTS!!!

I guess Blade was pretty good, maybe. I didn't see it. Will rent. But any other live action movie based on a comic/cartoon just makes me angry, there's a lot of great artists and animators out there biding their time on Saturday AM cartoons, making some cash. Turn these madmen and women loose on some features, will ya?

And rule #1:

NO MORE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER MUSIC! LEAVE HIM TO BROADWAY! THIS IS THE 90'S, NOT THE FRICKIN '40S!!!!!!

Please note all bold type above should be in HUGE black letters but this thing wouldn't accept my HTML code. Just imagine that they are monstrous 2 inch tall (that's 144 pt to you type folks) bold letters. You'll then understand my emotion at that point.

End rant. Ahhhhh. That was very therapeutic. [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com

[This message has been edited by Jeff Zugale (edited 06-01-99).]
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#251751 - 06/01/99 12:59 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Um actually you know what? A guilty pleasure of mine (sure to lower all of your opinions of me) is that I like the Flash Gordon movie.

Yeah, yeah, it's dumb, it's hokey, the "football playing" scene is sadly misplaced, pathetic, and laughable. And it sort of cheapens a really good comic. But there are some great scenes (notably the "wood creature" scene -- tell me you weren't scared!), the set and production design totally captures the Art Deco future comic look. Max Von Sydow is a KICKASS Ming, way more evil than Darth Vader. Way hornier too, heh. Lots of dark, evil, adult-themed stuff in there.

Plus, the Queen soundtrack. 'Nuff said.

So for me, that one works, even with its obvious flaws.

Oh, BTW Scott, yeah Mar Attacks is just too damn funny. I think it's fantastic, and too bad it didn't do so well in the theaters. Video should earn it enuff to cover costs tho. And Natalie Portman gets to actually ACT in this one. What was George thinking? Did he purposefully suck all emotion out of his cast?

Ugh, I can't get started on Star Wars here. For the record I enjoyed it, as I became 11 years old again when that 20th Century Fox music struck up. But, upon further review...

No, I'll post THAT rant on my website.

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
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Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#251752 - 06/01/99 01:01 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Okay, one more shot, then I'm done.

HEY HOLLYWOOD! How about... A NEW IDEA??? What a concept!

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
_________________________
Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#251753 - 06/01/99 01:53 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
eric hess Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/98
Posts: 488
jeff zugale: man without decaf. [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

"Does anyone know if the Tarzan movie is a musical?"

i'm sure it's going to be, jeff. look at all those gorillas bouncing around and making happy faces on the commercial. sure looks like they're singing. (i had the sound off, as i usually do when surfing network tv while i should be asleep.) [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

can't speak to the quality of the animation, 'cause to me it looks like all they did was rotoscope a bunch of CG sequences. (nicely-directed CG sequences, mayhap, but nevertheless...!) plus, i'm biased against disney. their stuff is very precisely crafted & extremely smoothly animated, but to my eye it lacks the spontaneity & personality that makes h-b, wb, and many anime 'toons so much fun.

whoops, i'm off-topic. i'll slink quietly back to my corner now... [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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#251754 - 06/01/99 02:29 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Scott Shaw Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/99
Posts: 400
Loc: Sherman Oaks, California, USA
Don -- I certainly agree with you about the "Li'l Abner" movie...IF you're talking about the adaptation of the Broadway play. (The Li'l Abner movie from 1946 [?] is just plain scary-lookin'.) I'm not exactly a musical-lovin' kinda guy, but it REALLY captures the cheerfully leering essence of Al Capp, right down to the wonderfully cruel and crass over-and-undertones of the acting and story. Isn't it odd that live-action captured the strip so much better than those awful "Li'l Abner" cartoons produced by Columbia in the 1940's?

According to my pals laboring at "The Evil Empire" (aka DisneyCo), no one actually sings ON-SCREEN in the upcoming "Tarzan"; thankfully, Phil Collins does his songs in voice-over only. To me, the animation and integration of background elements looks REALLY great, but my insider chums profess to be fairly unimpressed with the picture overall. Can't wait to see for myself...

I thought I was the only person I knew who was fanatically opposed to animation-to-live-action movies. (Uh, Jeff, looks like we need to get together again...AND MELLOW YOU OUT!!! Heh.) It IS reassuring that I'm not just an old crank! But let's not get sidetracked in discussion of PRINT-to-live-action; after all, this IS the Animation forum!

Let's hear more, pro and con! (And is there ANY project that could be considered the exception to the overall track record? Or even MOMENTS that worked?)

SCOTT "Ubble-Ubble" SHAW!


[This message has been edited by Scott Shaw (edited 06-01-99).]
_________________________
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." -- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

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#251755 - 06/01/99 11:30 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Scott: Yeah... I been working my ass off lately, with no break in sight. Coupled with being unable to get a date in this furshlugginer town, I'm a little on edge, ho yah. Let's hang out, I do need to chill a bit!

eric: Heh, and I don't even drink coffee, imagine that! And I agree with you that Mouse Movies are way too slick and pretty, without that "no decaf" edge of all the funky HB and WB stuff. Art is all well and good but not when you sterilize it and dump a whole load of NutraSweet or other artificial sweetener on it.

Rotoscoping CGI? What a waste! How much you wanna bet it's rotoscoping MOTION-CAPTURED CGI? Now wouldn't that be a larf? 3 times the work and money for 1/2 the effect. Chortle. Isn't there another Johnny Weismuller out there somewhere?

Anyway, I won't be going to see it if it's loaded with happy monkeys and *gakk* sappy Phil Collins songs.

And call me a young crank, but by golly, a cartoon should stay a cartoon, even if you make a movie out of it. There's enough frickin' scripts flying around Hollyweird to keep all the big-name humans busy... and hardly any cool work for animators. Live action Speed Racer??? Pukebarfupchuckralph. What's the point? No human can look like an anime character, or do that goofy gasp-face and English speech over Japanese lip moves that makes SR so endearing...

Pass the Valium kids, my head's gonna explode.

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
_________________________
Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#251756 - 06/02/99 12:23 PM Re: Why Do GOOD Cartoons Always Make For BAD Movies?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Update: I GOT DIGITS LAST NIGHT! The dating drought may come to an end... boy I sure hope so. Think good thoughts at me people. [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

Resume discussion!

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
_________________________
Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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