There seem to be more live action remakes of beloved cartoons these days than ever before. People debate all the time about whether or not these animated classics should be messed with. But with better technology available, they should theoretically be stronger from a visual standpoint at the very least.
In some cases, that's entirely true and the live action version is a huge step up. And in other cases, it misses the mark, ruining something we hold near and dear. We've looked at all the remakes of animated characters and selected five who were improved upon and five who looked worse.
10 Better: Maleficent
Disney did something unexpected when they built an entire movie around a villain. It's not usually something they attempt. Looking at the box office, it clearly turned out to be a home run with Maleficent. The performance of Angelina Jolie was a primary reason why, but the look of the character also had a lot to do with it.
When fans saw the trailers and got a peek at Jolie's costume, there weren't any groans or dislike. Everyone knew it looked good. The headdress happened to look great, the prosthetics added a lot to make sure she looked magical, and it managed to stay true to the original while being unique on its own.
9 Worse: Genie
1992's Aladdin is an all-time classic and one of the most memorable characters in it was the Genie. Voiced brilliantly by Robin Williams, the Genie also had a cool look. It became as iconic as the character himself. His blue skin tint, hair and beard combo, and his bracelets all worked.
Earlier this year, a live-action remake came out with Will Smith taking over as the Genie. He spends a good chunk of the movie mostly looking like normal Will Smith and it's fine. However, on the few occasions that he donned the blue look, it never worked out. It just looked off and felt cheap. The Genie was never meant to appear as a real person.
8 Better: Mad Hatter
More often than not, Johnny Depp goes a bit over the top with his zany looks for his quirkier roles. That's especially true when he teams with director Tim Burton. And yet, in the case of his role as the Mad Hatter in 2010's Alice in Wonderland, he happened to get it just right.
When looking at the cartoon version, the Mad Hatter had big teeth and his giant hat. Other than that, he wasn't really out of the ordinary. Depp's facepaint and wild hair were a great addition to the Mad Hatter's whole essence. Add in the fact that his hat seemed to be patched together and it added to his crazed look.
7 Worse: Sonic
Here's one that hasn't officially hit theaters. However, it still deserves mention here. The upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie had its trailer released a while back and it immediately got ripped to shreds by viewers for one reason. Sonic didn't look anything like he should have.
The old cartoon based on the video game fit right in with the character we had come to love. But this film version seemed like some kind of joke. Somehow, a 2019 release with a budget of nearly $100 million couldn't get this character right. It was so bad that the complaints led the filmmakers to push the movie back to fix his look.
6 Better: Paddington
During the late 1970s, an animated television series began called Paddington, based on the Paddington Bear book series. The cartoon version wasn't bad and the blue raincoat and red hat combo became something of an iconic outfit for the character. It translated even better to the live action films.
The CGI effects used in the Paddington film made the famous bear come to life. It was something that could have come across as unnatural, but they made it work. Emotions were evident on his face in a way that made you empathize with him. He kept the outfit and they found success with a look that probably shouldn't have worked on the big screen.
5 Worse: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
There have been plenty of iterations of these sewer-dwelling heroes over the decades. Regardless of how many come along, the cartoon that began in 1987 was the best. It's the look that everyone associates with Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael.
Whenever they try something that isn't a cartoon, it visually fails. The live action films from the early 90s felt too realistic, while the Michael Bay led versions seemed to take the turtles and pump them full of steroids. They were beefed up and never felt true to the comic characters they were based on.
4 Better: Bumblebee
Here's a case where Michael Bay helped something instead of hurting it. The 1980s The Transformers television series was excellent. It's what made the likes of Optimus Prime and Megatron into household names. As soon as the 2007 Transformers film arrived, we were given characters who translated well to a live action world.
The one Autobot who stood out from a visual standpoint was Bumblebee. Cartoon Bumblebee had one of the most basic looks of any of the characters. When he came to film, Bumblebee had detailed facial features and blue eyes that helped showcase a lot of emotion. Faces didn't work for most of the Autobots and Decepticons, but it did for him.
3 Worse: Fat Albert
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was an animated series from way back in the early 1970s. Fat Albert became a highly memorable character who helped millions of children learn the valuable lessons of life and spent time singing catchy songs that would get stuck in your head for days.
When 2004's Fat Albert hit theaters, they went with a live action version for some reason. The idea of having the cartoon characters literally get pulled out of the TV and into the real world wasn't a bad concept. The problem was putting Kenan Thompson in a ridiculous fat suit that was horrible. It looked completely fake.
2 Better: Snake Eyes
Not much is fondly remembered from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The film was met with negative reviews, didn't light the box office on fire, and ruined some of the characters we grew up with in the 80s. But one thing that everyone enjoyed was the look of a series favorite, Snake Eyes.
In the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series, Snake Eyes wore a bland purple looking suit. When the film arrived, we got to see him in the badass black suit we loved from the Hasbro action figure line. The sleek design and added armor details were a perfect fit for the ninja of the franchise.
1 Worse: Scooby-Doo
Who didn't grow up loving Scooby-Doo? The always hungry dog and his gang of friends solved more mysteries than we can count on a variety of animated shows during his heyday. It's understandable why many were excited about 2002's live-action Scooby-Doo film.
The problem was that most movies in 2002 didn't have the CGI capabilities needed to pull off Scooby-Doo for an entire feature-length film. He's right in that "uncanny valley" of visuals where he elicits an odd, off-putting feeling each time you see him. Scooby was known for his expressions in the cartoon and they didn't translate well at all for the remake.