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Live-Action Vs. Animated: How Do They Compare To The Original?
We take a look at live-action movies born from cartoon tales and see which works best…

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This week’s Maleficent represents the latest attempt by Disney to mine its cartoon canon for tales – fantastical and otherwise – that can be converted into live-action fare. They don’t have the highest hit ratio, so we thought we’d compare some of the more famous examples and see what happens when filmmakers try to make the transition between ‘toon town and the “real” world…

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101 Dalmations

What’s the cartoon?

101 Dalmations (1961)
Lonely pooch Pongo wants a mate, so he fixes his owner Richard up with fellow Dalmatian owner Anita and meets the lovely Perdita. Nature takes its course and 15 puppies ensue. Nasty fashion mogul Cruella De Vil decides they’d make better coats than pets and dognaps the lot, along with 84 more canines.

What’s the film?

101 Dalmatians (1996)
Lonely pooch Pongo wants a mate, so he… Look, it’s essentially the same story, but with real people and dogs, while Glenn Close eats all the scenery as Cruella. But the film did well enough that we got 102 Dalmatians four years later, which saw Cruella seemingly cured of her fur-coveting ways. Until she wasn’t, because the story would’ve been awfully dull if she’d just become a charity ambassador or something.

Were they related?
The first one is almost a beat-by-beat remake, which renders it somewhat inert. The sequel then tries to be different, but really only adds one more one dog. Hardly a spotless track record, then.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 MORalice
Though boasting the lovely Wassikowska, the live version fails, for it falls into the hopeless trap of dividing Lewis's loopy dream characters into good and bad. Disney on the other hand failed to make Alice endearing, but wisely left the characters be - meaning not smearing them with Christian connotations (and that in 50's Hollywood!). I still love and prefer Walt's strange 1951 ride. Alice was never meant to be a fairytale! More

Posted by faun070 on Monday June 9, 2014, 19:30

2 Alice in Wonderland
Why not compare Disney's animated film to Hallmark's 1999 TV film? I know the Tim Burton one made a billion at the box office (mainly due to raised ticket prices to see it in 3D) and has Johnny Depp in it, but the TV version is a lot more fun. Really worth checking it out. More

Posted by Dropje on Thursday June 5, 2014, 10:59

3 Alice
Burton's version showed promise but forgetting about half your cast without explanation partway through ruins it (I've not seen the DVD extras though maybe the dodo gets horrifically murdered in a GRIMDARK way which was cut from the cinema version). More

Posted by oll on Wednesday June 4, 2014, 19:56

4 The Lord Of The Rings
Whoever picks The Animated Version has to be taking the piss. More

Posted by Sulphur Lantern on Tuesday June 3, 2014, 16:49

5 Transformers?
Given the tenuous link between 2(of the very many over the years) Robin Hood films, how did everybody's favourite shape shifting alien robots not get a mention on this list? Or G.I.(Action Force over here cheers 'murica) Joe for that matter? More

Posted by manufan on Tuesday June 3, 2014, 12:21

The 101 Dalmatians live version doesn't get enough love. Sure it's really similar to the animated one, but the script has so many gems. 'I've seen more intelligent pieces of carpet!' More

Posted by nostromo94 on Tuesday June 3, 2014, 01:23

7 Viva Rock Vegas
Seriously, go back and watch both live-action Flintstones movies, back-to-back, like I did a couple of years ago (for work). They're both a bit wonky, but Rock Vegas is much, much better. It's got a better story, snappier lines, and is more of a buddy flick between Fred and Barney. Unfortunately it's also got some terrible sub-plot about Alan Cumming being a daft alien, but it's still quite a bit better than the first film. Sorry, rant over :-D More

Posted by britesparc on Monday June 2, 2014, 17:51


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