It’s safe to say that the novelty of seeing a beloved cartoon transformed into a live-action experience has worn off. What once seemed like a cool celebration of classic stories now feels like a cash grab designed to milk fandom’s love of particular properties. Are we too cynical about it? Maybe, but you can’t say we don’t have a reason to. Your Honor, we wish to present Exhibit A: The New Tom and Jerry movie.
On the one hand, we should probably be grateful that the 2021 Tom and Jerry film is actually a mix of animation and live action. That means we don’t have to suffer the pain of seeing a realistic depiction of a cat and mouse hurting each other in countless ways. On the other hand . Well, Who framed Roger Rabbit? – this is not it. Poor Chloe Moretz and Michael Peña look rather strange trying to deal with cartoons.
The Tom and Jerry movie is just the last item on a list of disappointing live-action adaptations of popular animated stories. Need a refresher on some of the most remarkable? Let’s see!
The cat in the hat
This Dr. Seuss adaptation was released into the world in November 2003 and was seen as a kind of spiritual aspect of the much better Seuss adaptation. How the Grinch Stole ChristmasUnlike that 2000 Jim Carrey vehicle, The cat in the hat was gutted by critics and didn’t do that great at the box office either: it grossed $ 134 million with a budget of $ 109 million.
Most people agree that the main problem is central The cat in the hat is its star. Mike Myers’ performance is quite a long way from what you’d expect if you’re familiar with the source material. But then again, the movie didn’t seem to care about fidelity when it came to plot or sense of humor either. The end result was so bad that Dr. Seuss’s widow no longer allowed live-action adaptations of his work.
Bill Murray as Garfield. How was that not the recipe for a great one Garfield live-action adaptation? To be fair, the 2004 movie did well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel (2006’s Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) but the critical reception was pretty lukewarm. Even Bill Murray himself has stated that he regrets being part of the project – and we’re not just talking about Murray’s joke about it in Zombieland
In a 2010 interview with GQ, Bill Murray confessed that the reason he took the job was that he thought the script was written by Joel Coen, one half of the acclaimed Coen Brothers. It wasn’t until he dubbed terrible lines in post-production that the actor realized that the writer of the Garfield movie was Joel Cohen. Oh, the difference makes an “H”! Can you sign a Garfield film of the Coens?
Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton’s live-action take on Alice in Wonderland is divisive among critics and audiences. However, most people seem to agree on two things. First, it’s planted the seeds for the deluge of live-action Disney adaptations we’re currently dealing with. Two: Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter was ordinary. Too much. Yep, even before we got to the super crringey breakdance song at the end.
Depp’s super weird Mad Hatter aside, when it came to the live action Alice in Wonderland, it became a matter of image versus story. Some people appreciated Burton’s film as an inventive 3-D celebration, while others couldn’t get past the generally disjointed stories. It’s an argument that would crop up again and again when live-action adaptations were released.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
We had to mention this one because of the distance from the original material. Did you see Fantasia (or Fantasia 2000The segment “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” features Mickey Mouse as the titular apprentice, who gets into hilarious magical trouble when borrowing his master’s wizard hat.
So of course this would inspire an action / adventure movie by Nicolas Cage, right? Cage plays the wizard and Jay Baruchel plays his apprentice in 2010 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – a movie that has very little to do with Mickey’s Fantasia adventure. To be fair, there is one scene in the movie that refers to the origin of the title, however. Come on why don’t you just call it something else?
Will Smith may be a pretty charming guy, but he’s no Robin Williams. That sums up the 2019 live-action issues Aladdin – not because Smith’s Genie is at the heart of them, but rather because it’s impossible to watch the movie without comparing it to the animated classic he’s remaking. And the live-action version falls short every time.
But then again, maybe you were more positive about the live action Aladdin if you hated his animated monkey sidekick Abu (absent from the new version). Or if you always thought Jaffar should be more attractive (#HotJaffar). Or if you didn’t care that Iago was constantly yapping and instead wanted to see him turn into a giant monster (okay, that was pretty cool). But most people were impressed.
Do you have any live action remakes that you hate? Are they better or worse than the Tom and Jerry movie? Let us know in the comments!
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