Some things are best left on the drawing board.

I found myself wondering recently why there has been such a fad for real life adaptations of cartoon series. The Flintstones, Dragonball, Garfield and the Chipmunks - they’ve all been done before; not to mention there are real-life remakes of The Smurfs and Avatar: The Last Airbender also in the pipeline.

The one thing most of these remakes hold in common is that they are disappointing, if not mind bendingly awful. They only seem to exist as an answer to a vague “what if this cartoon character was real” thought occasionally pondered upon by people, and picked up by a film exec sensing a profit making answer. Unfortunately that never ever translates to a film with substance although It’s a fair question to ask though. We all wonder what it would be like if the Simpson or Family guy were real, hence the increasing number of adverts I see on YouTube offering just that possibility – although most of these look like they were created from the nightmare case files of patients in the psychiatric wing of Great Ormond Street hospital.

Also we’re forgetting that real-life recreations of cartoon characters could have unfortunate ramifications.
After all imagine if Super Mario came to life. With his red plumbers cap, and his bushy moustache he could accidentally be confused with Josef Stalin. Walk him around a Russian neighbourhood he’s either going to cause a panic, or mass adulation; perhaps both. Also what about Popeye? A man with an appearance that exaggerated (yes I am referring to his seemingly malformed forearms) would come across like a modern day elephant man, and probably be granted his own ‘gawk at the freak’ style Channel 4 documentary about his condition. I’m sure there’d be an audience for: The man whose forearms are ginormous.

So what’s next in the live-action remake market? I’ve compiled a short list of possible cartoon remakes that still could be made – it’s a depressingly short list considering how many cartoons have been given a reality makeover – and note down a few comments on why they should really be left as they are:

· Pokemon

You couldn’t complain about the plot being bad, as historically the plots have been terrible for Pokemon movies - and for the TV series in general. Actually I would be hard pressed to say that anything Pokemon (aside from the games) has a plot anyway. In that sense maybe this is a prime candidate for a CGI remake? The downside may be that real-life looking Pokebeasts may terrify the kids in the audience. Look at a weird Pokemon like Geodude: the rock with fists? The kids are going to bloody wet themselves if he comes on the big screen! Expect councellors to do a roaring trade if this is ever released.

· Spongebob Squarepants

This is another nightmare inducing idea. Also who would play the lead? I couldn’t take an actor who played a real life Spongebob Squarepants very seriously; the voice would be all wrong too.

· Duck Tails

I guess there’s little impetus to make this into live-action movie as it’s no longer very culturally relevant. Still it would be quite entertaining seeing a realistic world inhabited by ducks and other waterfowl. Also it might finally end the discussion as to what in God’s name the Beagle Boys actually were? I think they’re dogs (hence their name) but they look hairless, which I am sure beagles are not. Well, unless they’ve been subject to abuse, but that might be making the premise a bit too realistic. I guess it goes to show Walt Disney animators can’t draw dogs for shit. Just look at Goofy after all (if in fact he is a dog, I just don’t know).

· Tom and Jerry

Just because I don’t think I could bear seeing a realistic cartoon cat having its face warped by running head first into an iron. Also I’m sure that kids WILL copy this version and have their pet cats and mice fight to the bloody death in comic fashion.

· Yogi Bear

“Eh Boo Boo! I am thinking that people – even children – will question why no one in this film is surprised by a talking bear, even if he smarter than the average bear”. The chipmunks pushed the limit, but if you have a friendly talking bear nicking your ‘pick-a-nick’ baskets I think people will start complaining that it’s unbelievable, if not very annoying. Then again, maybe it’s just me that expects a live action Yogi to be a bit more like his ursine counter parts, complete with a grizzly demeanour and bloodlust when confronted by man.

· Johnny Bravo

The saddest thing is a studio did actually attempt remaking this as a live-action movie, and with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the lead role. This just wouldn’t work as it wouldn’t be able to recapture the pace of the original cartoon, and they wouldn’t get the hair right either.

Hollywood inevitably will keep making these lame spin-offs, as long as a fan idly wonders what the scribble on the screen would look like as someone down his local supermarket - and would pay for tickets for the subsequent big screen remake. Still, I wonder if one day the tables will turn and they’ll start ‘cartoonising’ real-life series. I hope they do the Apprentice first. I’m curious to see how an artist would caricature Lord Sugar, and how craggy his face would be.


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