5 Hanna-Barbera Shows That Really Should Be Turned into Movies

We’ve had the Smurfs, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones and The Jetsons all make it onto the silver screen, but the Hanna-Barbera library is much more vast than these popular titles. What other properties from the past could be brought back to life with a tasteful big-screen adaptation? Let’s find out.

1. Huckleberry Hound

Via: Yowp

Seriously, eejits are all the rage in movies, especially ones who succeed despite all the odds (a role Will Farrell plays quite well). Huckleberry Hound is ripe for the picking. He’s the ultimate nice guy that even Steve Carrell can’t touch. His film would make a nice turning point towards more character driven entertainment with some physical humour thrown in for good measure.

2. Top Cat

Via: Yowp

Technically this one has already been done in Mexico, but there’s still more then enough room in the crowded US market for a wiseass cat and his gang of misfits. What could a possible plot be? How about a diamond thief accidentally dropping a diamond in Top Cat’s alley. Hilarity ensues as our favourite feline has to evade the thief and the law in order to return the diamond to its rightful owner.

3. Jonny Quest

Via: First Showing

This one is quite literally begging to be made. Action and adventure are all to common in TV shows but once you get to the big screen, things get a bit sparse. Tintin arguably fills one void, but he isn’t Jonny Quest. It’s time to see him in his own film, I mightn’t even mind if it’s live-action!

4. The Snorks

Via: 3DM3

If The Lorax can be made as good looking as it is, there’s no real reason why the Snorks can’t get a similar treatment. Bonus points for updating the concept beyond the horrible 1980s plots of the TV show.

5. The Perils of Penelope Pitstop

Via: Patrick Owsley

This is cinema gold. A [supposedly] rich Southern belle who drives a very fast car constantly being pursued by her evil cousin who’s after her inheritance. You can almost see the crappy live-action “update” now; starring Reese Witherspoon as Penelope and Hank Azaria as the Hooded Claw.

Yuck.

How about an animated version instead, complete with all the physical humour and squash and stretch that it deserves. Not too sure about including the Anthill Mob though. Why were they always following her around?

So that’s what I’ve come up with. Can you think of any others?

Two Films I Watched At The Weekend

Apologies for the lame title of the post (Monday morning, etc, etc.). Anyway, here are two films I watched at the weekend. I have thoughts on both which I will share later on in the week. In the meantime, have you seen them? What do you think? Were they any good? Are they just rip-offs of the Disney style or do they stand on their own?

No 1. Anastasia

Via: The Internet Movie Poster Awards

No. 2 The Swan Princess

Via: The Internet Movie Poster Awards

Why Do They Turn Movies Into TV Shows and Not The Other Way Around?

I originally wasn’t going to pass much comment on the practice, at least not now, but recent days have brought multiple stories to my attention that deal with the subject. Namely the fact that FOX has picked up the Napoleon Dynamite series I mentioned a while back and Cartoon Network (?) has picked up the How to Train Your Dragon series that has been mooted since the film became a hit.

For the record, I’m not a huge fan of the practice. If done right, it has the potential to be great, however as we all know, films are made on a different level than TV shows and it’s extremely rare to find commonality between the two.

It seems that people are willing to put up huge sums for a feature film but can be notoriously tight when it comes to TV. The reasons may extend all the way back to when William Hanna and Joe Barbera were forced to cut every conceivable corner in order to get their animation on the tube. Things are much better nowadays but on a per minute basis, features far outstrip shows in terms of cost.

Disney is perhaps the finest artisan of the craft as they have turned their feature films into series fairly frequently in the past. The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and Lilo and Stitch are just a few off the top of my head.

All of these TV shows had the original film to give them a legup when it came to their TV debut and I suppose that’s the core of the issue. While you need a huge amount of publicity to get a feature film launched, it generally only faces direct competition from other films. TV shows on the other hand, must compete with all the other TV shows on all the other channels out there for attention. Granted, things are slightly simpler for children’s programming, but it seems that the chance of hitting the jackpot with a TV show is much harder than a feature film.

Another aspect is viewer expectation. TV shows generally develop their characters over time, whereas a film needs to do it fairly quickly. For some reason, people seem have rather different expectations of how a character should appear in a film if they have already appeared on TV. It doesn’t help matters that there may be a completely different set of writers behind the film who may not have been involved in the production of the TV show. I want to put his down to simply the amount of time we, as the viewer, can tolerate certain characters. Sure, someone like Billy may be funny for 22 minutes, but could you watch him for an hour and a half? That might be a tough one.

Having said all that, it is possible and it can be repeated, provided that the right factors are in place.

The best example ever is SpongeBob Squarepants, who ruled the airwaves long before is appearance on the silver screen. How did he manage this? His success is partly the result of being an intensely complex yet likeable character but also the result of a production process that rewarded creativity and the creator. It also helped that the overall parent company of Nickelodeon also owned the film studio Paramount Pictures.

There is a stark contrast to The PowerPuff Girls Movie. The characters are equally complex and likeable and I feel that Craig McCracken created a genuinely decent show on a par with Ren & Stimpy. It’s journey to the big screen was much more tortuous than the yellow square and the particular parent conglomerate of the studio is notorious for the infighting within its divisions. Long story short, the film did not get the attention it so badly deserved from either the studio of the public.

In the end, it ll comes down to attention. Box office films get tons of free publicity as a result of their premieres, screenings and so forth. TV shows seem to whimper into existence without much fanfare beyond the channel itself, relying instead on fans of the show to sing the praises. Entertainment folks love attention and from what I can tell, fans count for zilch in Hollywood.

I firmly believe that a good TV show can be a great success at the box office and that it is a practice that is not done often enough. Regardless, I would much rather see creator-driven shows than shows based off movies on my TV.

 

Live-Action Movies Based on Animation

I very nearly went with Scooby Doo for the picture, but this one has Robert DeNiro in it!

Although the trend has died down somewhat, the genre just doesn’t seem to die. The Smurfs is the latest to get the treatment and although we will be treated to Hank Azaria as Gargamel, I still can’t quite look forward to it,

Although it has been common to mix animated and live-action characters (most notably in several Disney films and a scene where Jerry Mouse dances with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh), the latest craze has been to use CGI characters.

There have been numerous releases over the last number of years and I can’t honestly remember a good one among them. People are familiar with the characters so that’s not a problem, but of all of them, the main problem seems to be the downright atrocious quality of the script or the actors hired (seriously, Daphne as a blonde???).

All of them have skewed towards the young market. Fair enough if that’s what you’re going for, great! But seriously, with the likes of Pixar churning out movies with complex, believable characters and smart, clever jokes, there really is no excuse for toilet humour.

Sure some of these movies are based on cartoons that were never great to begin with (thank you ACT) but at least they never tried to make us believe they were clever.

Of course, by aiming at kids, the adults who actually remember the cartoons when they were broadcast on TV, they are making a fortune. That’s why we got a sequel and prequel to Scooby Doo and why we’ll continue to see ever more annoying Alvin movies for years to come.

I realize that Hollywood turns out the same crap all the time, but as an animation connoisseur, I find it deplorable what has happened to some characters as they’ve been hauled out and flogged like a dead horse.

There are plenty of examples of studios being able to create interesting movies with original characters, why can’t we see the same with established characters, or do studios assume that the movies will coast on the remnants of the characters embedded in the millions of us who are familiar with them?

Sadly, it doesn’t look like the practice will die anytime soon. My advice? Spend your hard-earned money on an original movie with some depth to it.