Throughout the past couple of decades we have watched films adapted from various source materials, novels, comics, toy lines etc etc. However one massively underutilised source of media when it comes to film is cartoon.
Whilst studios claw at whatever old film they can remake or comic they can adapt, there is a wealth of cartoons just lying dormant waiting to be turned into a film. A lot of them would clearly cost a fortune, or are just a bit rubbish, but there are plenty I’d like to see updated. Also as more people grow into adults having watched cartoons, the more they can appeal to all ages, not just children. In twenty years time we’ll have people looking back on Ben 10 the same way I look back on Transformers. With that in mind I’ve delved into my past to pick 10 cartoons I think could work as films, for children or adults. In no particular order…
5. Count Duckula
A spin-off from Danger Mouse, Count Duckula is a property that would work for both adults and children as long as it is played right. The TV show character of Count Duckula is the latest in a long line Duckulas who have died and been resurrected in a mystic ritual. Each time Duckula is resurrected they don’t remember much from before and can take on different characteristics, though each prior version of Duckula has been a “Vicious Vampire Duck”. That is until the latest one. During the last ritual, Nanny, the housemaid/caretaker/cook and so forth, accidentally substitutes blood with tomato ketchup which results in a far more timid, fame seeking version of Count Duckula.
So what does Count Duckula provide? It can have dark humour, even darker when Igor tries to convince his master to be a bit more deadly. It will have slapstick from the bumbling of Nanny and you can have Count Duckula obliviously going up against a number of bad guys. From ‘The Egg’, a supervillain who hates all living things because he couldn’t break out of his egg (Funny but pretty dark) or the fumbling Dr. Von Goosewing, who hunts vampires, very poorly.
All of the characters present in Count Duckula are quintessentially British in their comedy, throughout all variations present in the show and a unique blend of them would satisfy children and adults should a film ever find it’s way to the screen.
Remind yourself of the intro below…
4. Wacky Races
If you can make a film franchise as entertaining and ridiculous as The Fast & Furious series then there is no reason Wacky Races couldn’t find an audience. We pretty much got a live action version of this with the goofy 2001 film Rat Race but I’m sure a spruced up animated film could do a whole lot better. Again if the incredibly average Cars from Disney can spawn a third film, then why on earth do we not have a Wacky Races pic by now? It’s got just as much toy potential as the Disney series, could spawn a few sequels and would be a hell of a lot more fun!
In terms of story, all it has to be is just as it is in the cartoon, a race to determine the “Worlds Wackiest Racer”, what more do you need? Nothing would be the answer.
Check out the classic intro below…
3. Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light
It’s time to delve into the 80s and talk about one of the more ambitious picks on this list, and that would be Visionaries. The Hasbro toy line did poorly, the comic adaptation was cancelled 6 issues in and it only lasted one season but does that mean it couldn’t work as a film? Probably, but it would be one hell of a trippy feature if it did.
The show takes place on a planet where electrics have failed and people rely on old magic…because the two are clearly comparable. Battling in this world of magic are two groups, The Spectral Knights & The Darkling Lords, the former being those who use the magic for good, and the latter obviously being a bit more greedy with their crazy ass magic. This crazy ass magic I speak of involves special totems given to the Visionaries which gives them various abilities such as turning into animals.
How would you make a film about it? I’m not actually sure to be honest but I’m sure there would be a way, it might be an absolute batshit crazy way, but when you’ve got futuristic knights from a different world turning into cheetahs…who cares? Lets go with a weird neon interplanetary version of King Arthur as a basis, because why not!
Get a blast from the past with this intro on youtube
2. Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars
Come on Hollywood!!! Why has this not been made into a film yet? We have some animated pish called Space Chimps but no Bucky?? Part of me wants to bite my tongue because they could absolutely butcher what is one of my favourite childhood cartoons, but hey where is the fun in keeping quiet.
Bucky O’Hare takes place in the Aniverse, a parallel universe to ours, where a war is taking place between the UAF (United Animals Federation) and the Toad Empire, which has been brainwashed by a computer system called Komplex. Stuck in the middle of this war is an intelligent young boy called Willy DuWitt. Willy builds an experimental portal device at home and is sucked into the Aniverse. Sadly, and a great story arc to use, he gets stranded in the Aniverse after his parents turn off the device back on Earth, leaving him to fight alongside Bucky and the rest of his team against the evil Toad Empire.
This has franchise potential all over it, or maybe that is just my silly thoughts (for the record they are not silly). A first film can set the scene, have Willy transport to the Aniverse and make it the goal to get him home whilst Bucky fights off the Toads. Second film, cover the story where Bucky’s home world, Warren, is captured and taken over by the Toads and they must liberate the planet. Third film, just have a big ass war between Toads and the UAF, or finally find a way to get Willy home. Now if only I had the money to produce this….
Check out the intro from this video on youtube…
1. Space Ghost
There have been a few incarnations of Space Ghost through the decades. Starting off in the 1960s as a Hanna Barbera creation that fought a collection of intergalactic villains and threats. He returned in the 1980s on a program called Space Stars on NBC doing the same thing. Then in 1994 hosted his own surreal spoof talk show on Cartoon Network called Space Ghost: Coast to Coast which ran until 2004, airing on Adult Swim (the late night airing slots of Cartoon Network).
The way I think Space Ghost should be adapted is as a combination of his absurd talk show comedy and a spoof of his fighting intergalactic baddies. Considering the writers of Coast to Coast would go on to make Aqua Teen Hunger Force, we know their is current creative talent to resurrect this character that would be relevant in the realm of modern comedy. It would be niche, and it would be for adults, but quite frankly that is what we need. We can’t keep relying on the great Matt Stone & Trey Parker to keep giving us animated adult comedy TV & films.
For a taste of the weird comedy of the Coast to Coast check this youtube clip below…
So there you have it 5 cartoons I would like to see adapted into films in some capacity. There are so many more to talk about and we will certainly delve back into this another time to check it. But for now, let us know what cartoons you think would make a good film, or at the very least you would like to see adapted onto the silver screen!