With Disney’s Christopher Robin about to hit movie theaters it seemed like a good time to look at some of our favorite times when the animated world crossed over into real life. AiPT! also looks ahead and dream about projects they would like to see.
What is your favorite animated series or film turned into a live action movie?
Trevor Richardson: My answer for this is a little funny, because it’s Josie and the Pussycats, but I never actually watched the cartoon, I just really love the live action movie. It’s so campy, takes itself way too seriously while also being silly as hell, and has a soundtrack that I played on repeat when in elementary school. Parker Posey eats up her role as the villain. And the costumes? Atrocious in the best way.
Justin Cohen: My answer is somewhat random but I love Alice in Wonderland. It may have been the circumstances under which I saw it. My college roommate and I walked in a torrential downpour in swim shorts and sandals 45 minutes to a movie theater in Boston with a backpack filled with towels and a change of clothes for when we got there. I remember having such a fun time watching it and thinking that Tim Burton did a great job making it feel trippy and entertaining the whole way through.
Michael Rosch: I think I have to also go with Josie and the Pussycats because I haven’t seen that many movies based on previous animated IP and Josie is pretty much the only one I could think of that was any good. It’s always the first film I think of when I think of reviews Roger Ebert got wrong. It was a fairly smart satire of the music industry at the time, complete with a wonderfully goofy boy band with this not very thinly veiled hit song “Backdoor Lover.” The Pussycats themselves had legitimately catchy pop songs. And Parker Posey and Alan Cumming gave memorably over the top performances.
Nathaniel Muir: Death Note is in my top three anime series of all time. When I found out there was a live action movie based on the series I was cautiously optimistic. Thankfully,my fears were unjustified and the adaptation proved to be excellent. The film is as tense as the series and the tennis match between between Light and L that is done so amazingly in the show is captured perfectly. Fans of Death Note who have not already seen this need to do so immediately. (I am referring to the 2006 Japanese release, not the 2017 Netflix version.)
What is your favorite live action combined with animated movie?
Trevor: No one can deny the top tier position of the undisputed classic that is Who Framed Roger Rabbit?…no one except me, that is, because Space Jam dribbles circles around Roger Rabbit and then scores a slam dunk midair by stretching its arm waaay over Bob Hoskins’ head. Again, an iconic soundtrack. Bugs Bunny giving Michael Jordan a wet, sloppy kiss on the mouth. Lola Bunny blowing her ears out of her eyes like they’re her bangs. It’s the fever dream with something for everyone. Even Bill Murray is in it!
Justin: Space Jam without a question. I can’t tell you how many times I watched that VHS tape growing up. Michael Jordan, the Looney Tunes, AND Bill Murray!? How can anyone not love this movie? The soundtrack is amazing too.Michael: Yeah, the only correct answer here is Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s bonkers enough that someone made a kid’s movie modeled largely on the plot of Chinatown that actually works for all ages. But seeing Daffy Duck and Donald Duck sharing the screen together for the first time during a piano duel was that generation’s Spider-man showing up in Captain America: Civil War. For one fleeting moment, someone got Disney and Warner Brothers to play nice, and I don’t think it’s happened again since. This is my favorite Bob Hoskins performance. The moment where Judge Doom shows his true identity will forever haunt my nightmares. And of course Jessica Rabbit is the sexiest cartoon character of all time.
Nathaniel: Roger Rabbit and Space Jam were the two that immediately came to mind, but Mary Poppins also deserves a shout out. The film’s legacy is mind blowing with songs, references, parodies, and even a sequel being made over half a century after its release. The definition of a timeless classic.
Which animated series or movie would you like to see made into a live action movie?
Trevor: If Taika Waititi is able to adapt Akira into live action like he says he wants to, I will never feel the need to ask for another adaptation again. I feel like he’s a director who will approach it with the amount of style and cultural respect it deserves. Now that I think of it, I believe he wants to adapt the six-volume manga more than the film, so I suppose this is half a cheat answer. After Thor: Ragnarok, I’m down for pretty much anything he makes.
Justin Cohen: A Scanner Darkly. I loved this movie just fine as is, but a live action version with the same actors (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder) could be really cool. I’d be interested to see how they would handle some of the drug induced sequences in a live action setting.
Michael: I’d have probably picked Daria if Ghostworld wasn’t already very close to being a live action Daria movie and if College Humor hadn’t already made that amazing fake trailer for a Daria movie starring Aubrey Plaza. So instead I’ll go with Disney’s Gargoyles. Gargoyles was a great TV series with a big mythology and complex villains. After War of the Planet for the Apes, it’s safe to say the motion capture technology needed to really bring the the gargoyles themselves to life is here. And there’s no shortage of material on which to pull from to build a series of movies off of.
Nathaniel: I have wanted to see an live action adaptation of Robotech: The Macross Saga for years now. The music is great, the characters are awesome, and there is a typical love triangle that doesn’t play out quite like you think it will. There have been teases for years: directors come and go, writers name drop it, a big time actor is interested in playing Rick Hunter. On the plus side, special effects are only getting better and can do the original justice.
What live action movie/series would you like to see made into an animated feature?
Trevor: I would love to see an anthology-style film with anime adaptations of Japanese horror classics like Ju-on, Ringu, and Audition. Maybe like, an iconic scene or super condensed version of each film into say, ten minutes or so by different directors in completely different styles. I’d love to see what Junji Ito as lead animator or Masaaki Yuasa as director could come up with!
Justin: None that I can think of, honestly. I love animated movies but I don’t love the idea of a live action movie/series being made into an animated one. The other way around (animated to live action) I find it interesting sometimes because it’s as if they’re bringing the animation to life, but the other way around seems backwards to me.
Nathaniel: I like when animated features really get into their characters’ heads. I guess it is because when you are a kid, you just watch cartoons just to see cool things happen but never see true emotional development. Even Disney’s most popular movies are basically about people learning a valuable lesson. (Which is not to say there is anything wrong with that. Beauty and the Beast from 1991 is one of my all time favorites.) I agree with Trevor. An anthology would be awesome and I would like to see some of Black Mirror’s best episodes animated. Sometimes the show is limited by so-so special effects, which is an issue that wouldn’t come up if it were animated. Plus, the themes it deals with are perfect for the medium.