Remakes are the order of the day in modern Hollywood, and that goes double for the beloved cartoons of our childhoods. Disney, in particular, is in the process of taking every cartoon they’ve ever made and retelling their stories through big budget, live-action films. Even Pokémon is making inroads into live action with the upcoming Detective Pikachu.
But there are a lot of other amazing -- and often criminally underrated -- cartoons out there that are just as deserving of a live-action adaptation. This list will spotlight ten animated classics we grew up watching that we would like to see get a little extra love from Hollywood.
9 THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER
This one could, admittedly, go either way. Its unusual protagonists -- a toaster, a lamp, a vacuum cleaner, a radio and an electric blanket -- could end up looking pretty horrifying as CGI creations. On the other hand, the story is so unusual that it deserves the chance to scar a whole new generation of children.
The Brave Little Toaster is about five appliances in search of their long-lost master, who abandoned them in a vacation cottage years ago. It sounds quaint, but this cartoon can get so dark and so frightening that we’re surprised Tim Burton hasn’t taken a crack at it yet.
8 THE ROAD TO EL DORADO
Set in the 1500s, The Road to El Dorado follows two con artists who accidentally discover the lost City of Gold, where the locals let them believe they’ve been mistaken for gods. Inevitably, shenanigans ensue.
Funny and fast-paced with a soundtrack full of catchy songs performed by Elton John, The Road to El Dorado ends with the implication that the two main characters and their new lady friend will have more adventures in the future in the form of sequels. Disappointing box office put paid to that idea, but it’s not too late to revive this wannabe franchise with a live-action update.
7 THE LAND BEFORE TIME
Because we didn’t cry enough when Littlefoot’s mother passed the first time around, let’s relive that seminal moment with computer-generated dinos. In 1988, Don Bluth brought us the timeless tale of five young dinosaurs who face many dangers to reunite with their families in the idyllic Great Valley.
With no human characters, The Land Before Time would be live action the same way that The Lion King is live action: it technically isn't. It would be animated with computers rather than by hand. But perhaps this time we should stick with one movie and not fall down a rabbit hole of sequels.
6 SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS
Sinbad and his pirate crew have two days till retirement when they try to steal the Book of Peace. They immediately run afoul of the Greek goddess of discord, Eris. To save his best friend and himself, Sinbad must do the one thing he has never done: take responsibility for his own actions.
Sinbad is generally fondly remembered by those who grew up on it. However, the film received criticism for whitewashing its main character, who was based on an Arabic legend. A live-action remake would be the perfect chance for Hollywood to do right by this tale of adventure and derring-do.
5 THE SECRET OF NIMH
While Disney Animation was going through its Dark Age, animator Don Bluth was on the rise. One of his most famous works is his first full-length animated featured: The Secret of NIMH, which features a most unlikely heroine in the form of Mrs. Brisby. To save her son, the widowed Mrs. Brisby forms an alliance with a group of hyper-intelligent rats.
Bluth is known for producing works with some serious emotional intensity, and The Secret of NIMH is no different. Mrs. Brisby and the rats of NIMH may be small, but the world they inhabit is huge and all too often scary. It could look even more so in live action.
4 THE IRON GIANT
This 1999 classic about a boy and his robot is just begging for a live-action adaptation. With how far CGI has come in the past twenty years, seeing the Iron Giant himself in live action would be nothing short of staggering. That alone makes The Iron Giant worthy of a remake.
But there’s more to this film than just amazing visuals. The unlikely friendship between Hogarth, the lonely son of a widowed mother, and the Iron Giant, a lost alien robot, has tugged heartstrings for a solid two decades now. And its ultimate message of not letting fear control you is evergreen.
Megamind, a big-headed blue alien raised by prison inmates, is the scourge of Metro City. But when he appears to successfully incinerate his arch-nemesis, Metro Man, Megamind is left at loose ends. Even conquering the city gets boring after a while. What happens to the villain when there is no longer a hero for him to fight?
This 2010 DreamWorks film beautifully and hilariously deconstructs the concept of superheroes and supervillains. And right now, superhero movies are all about supposed villains with their own unusual sense of justice, like Deadpool and Harley Quinn. Why not add Megamind to the mix?
3 THE LAST UNICORN
Rankin/Bass is best known for their stop-motion Christmas specials, but they dipped their toe into traditional animation from time to time as well. One of their greatest and most "unusual" efforts is 1982's The Last Unicorn. When the title character learns that all of the other unicorns have been captured by a demon, she sets out on quest to rescue them.
Along the way, the unicorn faces both traditional dangers and very human temptations like love and desire. And in the end, she doesn't get everything she wants. This lends the film a bittersweet quality and makes it worthy of another look.
2 THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
The story of Moses and how he freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt has been told in live action in the past, and to great acclaim. But the 1998 DreamWorks cartoon brought unprecedented heart and creativity to this ancient tale, and it is this version we want to see on the big screen again.
Aside from its animation, which is stunning to this day, The Prince of Egypt features an Oscar-winning song by Wicked’s Stephen Schwartz and an Oscar-nominated score by The Lion King’s Hans Zimmer. Seeing this spectacular music accompany a live-action performance would be nothing sort of breathtaking.
1 PRINCESS MONONOKE
Disney has already successfully remade The Jungle Book, about a young boy raised in the wild. But that is not the only cartoon out there with similar themes that is ripe for a remake. Princess Mononoke is one of many jewels in Studio Ghibli’s crown. It stars a young prince, Ashitaka, who must travel far from home to lift a curse.
Out in the wilderness, he meets San, a girl who lives with a pack of wolves and fights with them to prevent the human-led destruction of their forest home. Filled with unforgettable characters and an unavoidable environmental message, Princess Mononoke is a classic in every sense of the word.