13 Big Budget Films Based On Cartoons From Your Childhood

We all loved a good cartoon back in the days when we were growing up, coming in from school and putting them on until 17:10 when Home and Away started, or else watching them on whichever Saturday morning kids show happened to be on.

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Over the years, as the cartoons have reached cult status and remained popular, some studios have capitalised on this and released big budget movies based on our favourite cartoons from our childhood era.

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Let’s take a look back at some  of the films based on cartoons that have been released over the years, how many have you seen, how many were you a fan of as cartoons, and are any of the films better than the cartoons they were based on? Let’s take a look….

1. Masters of the Universe

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Based on the He-Man And the Masters of the Universe cartoon, this live action version starred Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and was very hit and miss, largely because it didn’t stick to the source material very closely at all, missing out some of the most popular characters like Orko and Battle Cat and setting the film on Earth!

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2. Alvin and the Chipmunks

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The cartoon featured Alvin, Simon and Theodore, three Chipmunk brothers who were also pop stars, and were always with their human friend, Dave. The films have stuck fairly closely to the originals, but which was your favourite version?

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3. Casper

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Casper the Friendly Ghost was brought to life in this live action film starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci in one of her earlier roles, and even had a cameo from Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters!

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4. The Flintstones

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The first Flintstones film wasn’t too bad at all, starring John Goodman as Fred Flintstone and Rick Moranis as Barney Rubble. The film also saw Halle Berry in one of her earlier roles and looking stunning as always! But was the film as good as the cartoon? This is a tough one!

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5. Garfield

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The cat who is lazy and looks on life with a somewhat direct and often negative attitude, the film tried to recapture this but added a bit more action that the lethargic adventures we were used to for the feline – did it work?

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6. Inspector Gadget

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One of the real classic cartoons, everyone I knew loved this cartoon as a kid, but the film left a lot to be desired, in spite of having the talented Matthew Broderick in the title role, he simply couldn’t save the film from a critical mauling!

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7. Space Jam

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Mixing Live action with animated characters in the best way since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Space Jam saw Michael Jordan and some of Looney Tunes most famous faces taking on some aliens in a basketball game and was a genuinely enjoyable and fun movie for all the family!

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8. The Phantom

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Based on one of the heroes that fought alongside Flash Gordon in Defenders of the Earth, The Phantom was deemed popular enough to get his own film, which was fairly enjoyable but often too short on the action – what did you think of this one?

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9. Popeye

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Popeye the sailor man, the gentle sailor who loves Olive Oil with all his heart and who is “strong to the finish, cos I eats me spinach”! The live action film starred the wonderful Robin Williams, but even that couldn’t save this film which deviated massively from the original cartoons and is regarded as an example of how not to make a film based on a cartoon!

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10. Scooby Doo

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This film got the look of its characters just right and was fairly enjoyable, though again it took a lot of liberties with the source material. This was a popular film, though and had some great special effects, what did you think of this one?

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11. The Smurfs

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This one really did go well away from the original cartoons, setting the Smurfs in the normal world and with humans all around, meaning that their fantastical adventures seen in the cartoons were very different here – did they make the right decision or should they have stuck to what was already there?

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12. Teenage Mutant Hero/Ninja Turtles

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When the Teenage Mutant Ninja (Hero in the UK cos ninjas are dangerous, right kids?!) Turtles was released as a cartoon in the 80s it was nothing short of a phenomenon, taking the world by storm! It was inevitable that they would release a movie version, though the action was toned down massively compared to the cartoon, some very convincing special effects for the time made sure this was still a hit!

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13. Yogi Bear

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He may be smarter than the average bear, but did Yogi work better as a cartoon or as a live action film? This stuck fairly close to the original cartoons with a lot of the content in the film, but upped the action quotient to make it appeal more to younger audiences – did it work?

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We’d love to know which of these films you’ve seen, which you loved and which you just didn’t get on with, and if we’ve missed any others out of the list that you think should have been included – let us know all your thoughts in the comments as always!