Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

Weekend Roundtable: Unlikely Live-Action Remakes

After Dumbo and Aladdin and The Lion King (not to mentions all those already made previously), are there any animated movies – Disney or otherwise – actually unlikely or unable to be remade in live-action?

Only after sending out this week’s assignment did I realize that we’d sort-of done a similar topic a couple years ago. The difference, then, will be that this one focuses on remakes we hope never come to fruition, rather than those we’d actually like to see.

Brian Hoss

Something older and less friendly like Bambi comes to mind, but even newer movies like Finding Dory, Minions, and Monsters, Inc. seem like poor candidates to be remade in live-action. Even so, they probably will be remade, and it may be sooner rather than later.

To get further away from Hollywood’s would-be remake projects, I’m looking to Hayao Miyazaki and Spirited Away. The film’s animation contains such a large variety of characters and creatures that the challenge of creating a cohesive live-action remake might deter a generation or so of producers and digital artists.

Deirdre Crimmins

I really hope there’s never a live-action remake of Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. Not only has the film not aged terribly well, the idea of watching two real teenagers laugh at each other for over 90 minutes would be tedious. Don’t get me wrong, I love those idiots, but I can acknowledge that my nostalgia buoys my affection for them and not any lingering quality. Perhaps if Alex Wolff and Ross Lynch took on the parts it could be granted some additional weight or turned into a genre-bended horror film, but I know I’m dreaming here.

M. Enois Duarte

Following the life of pop-star Mima Kirigoe’s rise as a film actress, Satoshi Kon’s 1997 visual masterpiece Perfect Blue would be immensely difficult, if not impossible, to adapt into a live-action motion picture. Okay, if we’re being perfectly honest and completely unbiased, I suppose it is technically possible to adapt this criminally underrated animated feature, especially given how far CGI technology has come in the last few years. But I have my doubts a modern adaptation would achieve the same impact. This is a story about a young woman slowly losing her grip on reality, unable to distinguish the real world from her warped hallucinations, as the stress and pressure of maintaining celebrityhood ceaselessly mount and a stalker weighs heavily on her mental health. The seamless blend of dreams versus facts while a serial killer is on the loose is a gorgeous spectacle of the imagination, making the audience question whether the character is dreaming or awake even in the most mundane conversations. The animated psychological thriller is perfect just the way it is and would hate to see any filmmaker attempt to make a live-action adaptation.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Sure, you could adapt The Brave Little Toaster to live-action, but why? As this 1987 not-really-a-Disney-production revolves almost entirely around anthropomorphic and extremely expressive appliances, pretty much all of your central characters would have to be brought to life via CGI. A faithful adaptation would either have you training a dog to drive a pickup truck (time well spent!) or yet again resorting to gobs of computer animation. Human characters are so few and far between that even a mix of CG and live-action would be a wasted effort.

It wouldn’t be as tricky as adapting, say, the psychedelic fantasy of the Hungarian film Son of the White Mare, no, but it’d be every bit as pointless. Nevertheless, if some high muckity-muck at Disney were determined enough, I’d cast Josh Hutcherson as the older Master Rob, Laura Marano as his girlfriend Chris, and Danny DeVito as repair shop owner Elmo St. Peters. And in the role of the titular brave little toaster…? A 2003 Honda Element.

Josh Zyber

Fritz the Cat seems perhaps a little too obvious, huh?

I was going to pick something from Miyazaki, but Brian already stole my thunder with that. Personally, I think that some of his super-weird early works like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind would be even harder to adapt than Spirited Away.

From the Disney catalog, we’ll know that this remake cycle has hit its nadir when production begins on the live-action versions of lower-tier titles like The Fox and the Hound or Oliver & Company. The people running this ship at the studio have got to stop before getting to that point, don’t they?

Your Turn

What animated movies do you dread seeing turned into live-action? Assuming Hollywood does it anyway, who will get cast?


  1. Bolo

    I feel like it’s almost certain that Hollywood will make some sort of attempt at ‘Attack on Titan’ at some point. I expect it to be softened and moulded into a bland YA venture. And it will probably arrive long after its fanbase have moved on to something else.

    ‘Alita Battle Angel’ made a believer out of me that Hollywood anime adaptations actually can be done in a way that is faithful and exciting. But that movie had Hollywood heavyweight James Cameron blocking for it to keep it true to its source. I doubt ‘Attack on Titan’ will be so lucky. 100 studio execs will probably all put in their two cents on how to make it more commercial and it will lose all its dimension.

    • Csm101

      Do you mean an Americanized Attack on Titan? There is a Japanese live action Attack on Titan. I believe it has two parts.

      • Bolo

        Yes. I did not see the Japanese live action films, but heard they were horrible. I am sure that an American version will happen eventually and be bad in ways of its own.

    • William Henley

      Haha! Brilliant! Although just remember, the farriers are nude, as are the centaur men and women. You are drawing in a whole new audience if you do a live action remake of this! Disney would have to release this under Touchstone or Hollywood Pictures label!

    • Yeah, unfortunately, I did not realize a live-action version had already been made. Then, when thinking of another animated film, which was ‘The Secret of NIMH,’ I read a live-action adaptation is also already in the works.

  2. Csm101

    I’m not sure I can say that I wouldn’t want to see any beloved animated classics get a “live action” treatment. For example, I think The Iron Giant is pretty perfect the way it is, but if someone wanted to tackle a live action version of it, I probably couldn’t resist.
    The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is pretty obnoxious and crass, but I find it pretty funny. Because it’s animated, it can get away with all that. As a live action adaptation, I can’t see it working. Perhaps as Troma movie?

  3. William Henley

    Haha, brilliant on the Beavis and Butthead graphic for this blog!

    I would actually be down for a live action Oliver and Company. Not sure why that movie gets so much hate and completely overlooked by people saying that The Little Mermaid was Disney’s return to the animated feature – its like Oliver and Company did not exist or something. I was like 8 when it came out, and even went back recently and watched it after not seeing it since the early 90s and still love it. Maybe its just nostalgia speaking.

    I am dreading the An American Tale live action remake, and even worse if they do the sequel. Actually, come to think of it, The Rescuers would probably be just as cringe-worthy – imagine life-like mice on the screen for two hours! Let’s just not go there!

    DuckTales: The Movie: I would actually like to see someone do a test image of a life-like anthropomorphic duck, but certainly could not imagine a whole movie!

    Could you imagine Sleeping Beauty being done in our current climate? Dude, she’s 16, she’s asleep and you are kissing her? You met this girl once, obsess over her, break into her home and into her room while she is asleep… Suddenly this story is not as sweet as I remember it (and this is not even bringing in Anne Rice’s version of it).

    Nightmare Before Christmas. I am sure there are people who would love to see it. I got body-shivers thinking of what some of the scenes would look like if it was life-like.

  4. Disney will never remake its underrated classics (they like to pretend they never existed), so there’s little hope for a live-action ‘Atlantis’, ‘Treasure Planet’ or ‘The Black Cauldron’. I, for one, would LOVE to see those.

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