Over the years there have been some horrible attempts to bring our beloved cartoon characters to the big screen. Rocky and Bullwinkle, Yogi Bear, The Smurfs, Inspector Gadget, and the more adult Aeon Flux are perfect examples of the material’s failure to translate on-screen. Don’t even get me started on the Garfield franchise. The list is so long it could take up this whole article. Even the few adaptations that partially succeed with the critics like Scooby Doo are still riddled with problems. The reasons for failure include deviating from the source material, dimension portal story lines (Fat Albert, The Smurfs, Rocky and Bullwinkle) and the obvious difficulty stretching a simple 30 minute cartoon into a feature-length movie. There has to be a few cartoon classics never touched by Hollywood that are waiting for a proper big screen treatment. Toons that could jumpstart a franchise and give the stories from our youth the respect they deserve. Here are ‘The 4’ cartoons that deserve a live action film.
The Adventures of Jonny Quest
I’m actually shocked the Hanna-Barbera action classic was never made into a movie. I could have seen Ricky Schroder playing Jonny back in the 1980s. The story is perfect to bring in all audiences. A boy accompanies his scientist father as they globe trot to different locales. Think of it as The Goonies crossed with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Adventures of Jonny Quest wouldn’t be hampered by the vanilla story and action that plagues most cartoons on the big screen. Adventures of Jonny Quest was full of gun play, violence, monsters and death on-screen. That was unheard of back in the day for a cartoon. The Adventures of Jonny Quest seems to be a legit contender to become a franchise that could become a box office hit.
A Thundercats movie has been in production purgatory for as long as I can remember. There’s no doubt a Thundercats film would be expensive and the time the actors would have to spend in make up or motion capture production would be a deterrent. But there’s no denying how cool it would be to see Lion-O and the rest of the Thundereans set up a new home on Third Earth. The Thundercats have cool weapons such as the Sword of Omens, a creepy villain in Mumm-Ra and there’s no way as long as my co-worker Kevin is alive you’re having a Thundercats movie without Snarf. Time for Hollywood to throw down some money, cast Gerard Butler as Lion-O and then we can all shout “Thundercats , HOOOOOOO!”.
Thundarr the Barbarian
Sure Thundarr the Barbarian rips off everything from Star Wars to Conan the Barbarian and had the earth ending 1994 by a runaway comet. But I still think it would make for an entertaining movie. For one thing people love the apocalypse, so you would have one key selling point right off the bat. Then people would be so obsessed with the end of the world angle, they would ignore the fact that out hero has Pete Rose’s haircut circa 1979. All joking aside I do think this is a cartoon that could actually work in theaters. Thundarr has a powerful weapon in the SunSword, people love to see recognizable cities in ruins and throw in some evolved freaky beasts and you got yourself a hit. Plus Cowhead from 102.5 The Bone and myself would pay top dollar to see that Chewbacca rip off Ookla the Mok throw a temper tantrum on-screen.
Not only do I think this cartoon would work as a movie, I think this is the route Warner Brothers should take with the caped crusader instead of the Batman vs. Superman movie. This is without a doubt my favorite story in the Batman lore. A retired Bruce Wayne is living a seclude life with his days of being Batman behind him. That is until a 17-year-old kid named Terry McGinnis steals a new age Bat Suit and takes down the street gang know as the Jokerz. Bruce Wayne decides to go all Mr. Miyagi on Terry and teaches him to be Batman. I know technically we had Batman on film, but not this source material so it still qualifies to be on this list. You could incorporate the nostalgia from the old Batman series and give it a new futuristic twist to build new stories . Unfortunately, I think we are at least a decade away from seeing Batman Beyond on the silver screen.