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Animated Films and Shows That Deserve a Live-Action Reboot

Variety logo Variety 3/16/2017 Owen Gleiberman
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Turning cartoons into live-action movies: Rarely has a concept sounded so much better in theory than it usually works out in execution. The thought of what animation might look like recreated with sets and actors is enough to light up the mind’s eye — but the trouble is, it almost never ends up looking that way. Instead, it looks like “Inspector Gadget” or “Mr. Magoo,” or the “Alvin” and “Scooby-Doo” movies or that epiphany of live-cartoon awfulness, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It looks chintzy and broad and fake. On rare occasions, though, you see a picture like Robert Altman’s “Popeye” or the 2016 version of “Pete’s Dragon,” and it reminds you that turning a cartoon into a live-action feature can be an act of alchemy. With Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” hitting theaters this weekend, and with “Ghost in the Shell” (starring Scarlett Johansson) around the corner, we thought we’d look at six cartoons — from movies or television — that feel as if they’d be the most promising candidates for a real live makeover.


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