This week sees the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Now, Transformers started out as toys, but for me (and so many others) it was the cartoon that really got me into them. After all, that’s what the show was made for: to make the Transformers popular so that they could sell the toys.
That being said, over the years, we’ve seen countless cartoons made into movies. Last year we saw Yogi Bear. Later this year, we’ll be seeing Smurfs. And there have been countless others. However, there are plenty of good properties out there that haven’t had the big screen treatment and could make for some interesting movies. Granted, studios usually screw these projects up, but many cartoons still hold plenty of promise.
So, in honor of the release of Dark of the Moon, here are 10 other cartoons that I feel could be great on the big screen (in no particular order).
Fans have been calling for this one for years. There have even been rumors bouncing around on several occasions (one that even talked about Will Smith as Lion-O in a live-action adaptation…ugh). Here, though, it would be best to avoid live-action, I think. Rather, there’s been a CGI test trailer released before that looks like it could make an amazing Thundercats movie. Lion-O looks like a tool in the trailer, so they need a redesign there, but other than that it looks good (check it out below). Something like this could turn out great and the fans would be all over it. This series could definitely transition to the big screen well. Just don’t try to make it live-action.
Michael Bay has already proven that awesome mech warriors can definitely draw at the box office. Hell, this article is in honor of the release of the third Transformers movie. With technology the way it is today, there’s no doubt they could turn this property into an amazing live-action movie. They even featured a very cool looking mech-lion in Revenge of the Fallen. Of course, there are already talks of turning Voltron into a movie. However, those plans have been going on for years with trouble and obstacles always popping up. Hopefully, though, they’ll get around to getting everything ironed out and bringing this to the big screen.
Yes, I know. He-Man had a movie back in the 80s. But I’m talking about a good He-Man movie that isn’t an utter crapfest featuring Dolph Lundgren. He-Man is definitely one of the most popular cartoons of the 80s. Even today the series has a big cult following. Again, with the advances in movie technology, the potential in bringing the He-Man universe to life is huge. If done right, this could have the potential of being as huge a fantasy epic as that of Lord of the Rings.
A sci-fi space western could be all kinds of fun. Just look at Cowboys & Aliens. With the creature people and heavy effects work that would be needed for this, it could indeed turn into an interesting world on screen. I can just imagine Guillermo del Toro grabbing ahold of this property and turning it into his next Hellboy. Would indeed be interesting to see how he handled the creature designs, making it a live-action movie. While not as popular as previously mentioned cartoons, this could have huge potential as an adventure film. If nothing else, I could see it having all the potential to be a really good cult classic type of movie.
5. Darkwing Duck
This could be an awesome property for one of the bigger animation studios to pick up. Yes, that means obviously this has to be an animated movie. I do not want to see a live-action Darkwing Duck looking like Howard the Duck or anything. Given the popularity of superhero movies these days and the slowly building distaste with the oversaturation of the genre, now would be an excellent time to turn this one into a movie. Since Darkwing Duck is a “superhero” that is also a satirical character making fun of the whole genre, the studio could capitalize on both the popularity and disgust with the genre: exploiting it and making fun of it at the same time. Darkwing Duck could potentially have the same freshness and appeal of something like Kick-Ass, with the potential to even become a franchise property.
6. The Pirates of Dark Water
With a sort of Lord of the Rings meets Pirates of the Caribbean type of feel, this could be huge. I don’t even think I really need to say anymore than that. Pirates of Dark Water was pretty well-written and provided plenty of adventure. This is another that could potentially turn into a great franchise if done properly.
7. Tom and Jerry
Let’s start by saying, Tom and Jerry was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Granted they were re-runs when I watched them, but all the same, they were great. With fond memories, I wouldn’t mind seeing the duo make it to the big screen for a one time event. However, this needs to be done right. And by that, I mean they need to take it back to its original style. That means we’re not going to be getting a G rating, or even PG rating out of this. The original Tom and Jerry was far too “edgy” and politically incorrect (can we say “black face”?) by today’s standards. But that’s the way it should be done. Take it back to the original Tom and Jerry that would be no longer suitable for children, with the violence and risque nature. Make it at least PG-13 and return it to form as the original Itchy and Scratchy. And of course, this should remain the traditional hand-drawn animation. I don’t want to see any CGI or anything fancy here.
Now this one has potential to be a huge hit, I think. And here’s where it becomes magic: live-action/animated hybrid. And I’m talking hand-drawn animation, too. No CGI crap. Ever since 1988, studios have been trying to recreate that magic. They’ve always come up short, however (though Space Jam was a pretty good hit). Whether it be Cool World, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield or the previously mentioned Yogi Bear and Smurfs (no it’s not out yet, but it looks stupid), they all failed. Animaniacs, however, could have the potential of recreating that magic and providing a very interesting movie. Plus, you get added perks of potential cameos since it all takes place on studio lots. Not to mention, with the internet, people have become increasingly interested in the going-ons behind the scenes at studios and this property could absolutely capitalize on that.
Daria was hugely popular in its day, capitalizing on the intelligent and subversive nature of the character. Much like the Juno character, Daria could provide a great little quirky comedy as a one-off that capitalizes on the still evident fan base of the series. It would provide a nice project for Mike Judge to return to the director’s seat as well.
10. Woody Woodpecker
This is another character that I really enjoyed as a kid. Woody was the first screwball trickster/anti-hero of my childhood and, as such, made quite the impression on me. His antics always provided plenty of entertainment and laughs. Thus, I absolutely wouldn’t mind seeing a return of the zany trickster. Granted, I might be reaching here as he might be better suited merely for TV shows these days, but I wouldn’t mind sitting through a feature film featuring the crazy bird as well. If for no other reason, it could be great just for the nostalgia.
So what do you think? Think these cartoons have potential for a good movie? Would you like to see them? Maybe you have ideas of other cartoons that would make for a good big screen adaptation? Let me know in the comments below.
Filed Under: Articles