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Top 10 Worst Live-Action Remakes

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher

Sometimes the animated movies and TV shows we loved should stay sacred. For this list, we’re looking at the films that completely bastardized the animated TV shows and movies of our childhoods. Because anime deserves a list of its own, we won’t be including it here, despite how awful “Dragonball Evolution” was. Our list includes Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Super Mario Bros, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Live-Action Remakes of Animated Movies & TV.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Worst%20Live%20Action%20Remakes%20of%20Animated%20Movies Special thanks to our user Spideyfan-0913 for suggesting this idea!

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Script written by Savannah Sher

Top 10 Worst Live-Action Remakes of Animated Movies & TV


Sometimes you wish they’d never adapted it at all. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Live-Action Remakes of Animated Movies & TV.

For this list, we’re looking at the films that completely bastardized the animated TV shows and movies of our childhoods. Because anime deserves a list of its own, we won’t be including it here, despite how awful “Dragonball Evolution” was.

#10: “Masters of the Universe” (1987)

If you were a child of the 80s, you undoubtedly grew up watching “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”, and playing with the action figures of your favorite characters. So you were probably excited when in 1987 the show was adapted for the big screen. Unfortunately the movie didn’t perform well with critics or at the box office. It’s since become something of a cult classic and some people do love it, but we have to agree with reviewer Chris Eggertsen when he called it “an objectively bad film with a big heart".

#9: “Mr. Magoo” (1997)

He may stumble from one blunder to the next, but that’s what makes this character so lovable. The nearsighted Mr. Magoo has been around since 1949, entertaining children and adults alike with his accidental antics. In the 60s he peaked in popularity, starring in the animated feature “Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol” (1962) andhis own television shows. By the late 90s, however, people weren’t exactly begging for his return, which made the decision behind this live-action movie starring Leslie Nielsen pretty puzzling. It was universally panned by critics, and even accused of being insensitive by the National Federation of the Blind. Yikes.

#8: “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014)

The “Transformers” movies are in the habit of making around a billion dollars each at the box office, but that doesn’t mean they’re all quality films. We could let the misfires slide because we know they have their fanbase, but for lovers of the original cartoon series, “Age of Extinction” was just obnoxiously awful. The fourth movie to be released in the series, it lacked a coherent story, believable acting, and competent direction. It was honored with seven nominations at the 35th Golden Raspberry Awards, and the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes put it simply enough: “Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.”

#7: “Garfield: The Movie” (2004)

Garfield, the lasagna-loving cat who hates Mondays, originated of course in a comic strip, but eventually made his way onto our TV screens in the 1980s. When the story was adapted for the big screen in the early aughts, we had our misgivings, especially after seeing the tagline, “Get ready for frisky business”. And we were right to be concerned - because despite this CGI mess making $200 million, it holds a justifiably dismal 15% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even Bill Murray, who voices the famous fat cat, seems to have had regrets about the role.

#6: “The Smurfs” (2010)

It’s probably best if you just separate this live action/animation mash up from the Smurfs you know and love. Despite a star-studded voice cast including the likes ofKaty Perry and Neil Patrick Harris, throwing the little blue creatures into New York City was just never going to work. The consensus from critics was that the filmwas created purely for the kids, since it was too simple and formulaic for the audiences who grew up with the 80s cartoons. The movie lacked any of the cleverness from the comics of TV series, and because of that we definitely won’t be rewatching this one.

#5: “Jem and the Holograms” (2015)

Let’s be real, this campy 80s show could have just stayed pure in our memories, because fans weren’t exactly clamoring for a big screen adaptation. The movie totally bombed at the box office, not even managing to make back half of what was spent to create it with a revenue of only $2.5 million. In fact, it was so badly received that director Jon M. Chu said he received hate mail, adding that “Reviewers have been harsh, to say it lightly.” Hey, at least it didn’t lose as much money as another girl band adaptation, “Josie and the Pussycats” - which fell short of its estimated production budget by $24 million.

#4: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014)

No matter when you grew up, you probably have a soft spot for these crime fighting humanoid turtles. We’ve all debated whether we’re more a Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo or Donatello. When they made live action TMNT movies in the ‘90s, we wholeheartedly embraced them, but when the franchise was rebooted in 2014, fans had good reasons to be sceptical, thanks to all new character designs, and the involvement of Michael Bay. Predictably, the fun and magic of the original series was completely lost in translation, making for a dull, generic, and painful-to-watch product placement extravaganza.

#3: “Alvin and the Chipmunks” (2007)

Even if you only ever watched the trailer for this movie, you know it was primed to be one of the most annoying movies of all time. This is another film that was clearly just meant to keep the kids distracted, with bathroom humor and fast moving CGI action and doesn’t offer up much else. To be fair, even on the small screen Alvin and the Chipmunks can be a little bit irritating but this movie undeniably took it one step further. Critic Peter Bradshaw went as far as calling it “thoroughly brain-dead”, and it’s tough to disagree.

#2: “Super Mario Bros.'” (1993)

By this point, we all know that adapting video games for the big screen doesn’t always yield positive results, but perhaps back in 1993 they hadn’t gotten the memo yet. With the success of the “Super Mario” games on the NES in the 80s, creators tried to profit by making a variety of TV shows starring the famous plumber. None of those lasted long, so movies were the next logical step. At the time, the effects were considered to be impressive, but critics agreed that the storyline was lacking and the film was relying purely on the recognizable characters.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Alice in Wonderland” (2010)

“Yogi Bear” (2010)

“The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” (2000)

#1: “The Last Airbender” (2010)

What is there to say about this movie that hasn’t been said already? The award winning cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was beloved by both audiences andcritics, so it makes sense that a movie adaptation was inevitable. Before the film was even released, it was mired in controversy over the decision to cast white actors in Asian roles, prompting many to boycott the film all together. When it did finally hit theatres, it was completely panned by critics with Roger Ebert calling it, “an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.” Ouch!

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