Whether it’s hitting on nostalgia or trying to reach an entirely new market, Hollywood tends to reboot or rework well-known properties into new movies, for better or worse. A trend that has gained some popularity in the 21st century is taking animated TV shows or movies and adapting them into live-action movies. We’re looking at the 14 best, ranked by Metacritic, from lowest to highest. We are leaving anime out of this but make sure to check back next week when we cover the best live-action movies based on anime.
Disclosure: Metacritic and GameSpot are both owned by CBS Interactive.
14. The Flintstones (1994)
Based on the 1960 primetime animated series, the live-action film from 1994 follows a family living in the Stone Age. The head of the family, Fred Flintstone, gets the job he’s always wanted, but it’s not all that it seems.
Metacritic Score: 38
13. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Originally, Alvin and the Chimpmunks was a novelty record from 1958, but since then, it has been turned into various animated films and a TV show. In the 2007 reboot, Jason Lee stars as David Seville, a songwriter who finds success when he discovers these singing critters.
Metacritic Score: 39
12. Fat Albert (2004)
Comedian Bill Cosby created the Fat Albert animated series in 1972. More than 30 years later, Keenan Thompson starred as the titular character in a live-action remake, which follows Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as they leave their animated world for the real one.
Metacritic Score: 39
11. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
In the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel, the singing group heads back to school and must juggle their personal lives, career, and education, all while going up against a rival group, The Chipettes.
Metacritic Score: 41
10. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
The G.I. Joe sequel follows the continuing adventures of the G.I. Joe military group as they continue to take on the evil Cobra, all while being framed for crimes against the country. Originally, G.I. Joe was an action figure line, which turned into the beloved animated series in 1985.
Metacritic Score: 41
9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
In the third Transformers movie, the Autobots find a spaceship from their home planet on the dark side of the moon. They have to get to it before the Decepticons reach it and learn the powerful secrets contained within. This movie is based on the 1984 animated series, in which robots turn into vehicles.
Metacritic Score: 42
8. Dudley Do-Right (1999)
Dudley Do-Right first appeared in 1961 on The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. He’s a happy-go-lucky Canadian mountie, on the lookout for his arch-nemesis Snidely Whiplash. The 1999 film, starring Brendan Fraser, follows the plot of the original cartoon.
Metacritic Score: 44
7. Masters of the Universe (1987)
Based on the 80s animated series, Masters of the Universe follows Eternia’s savior He-Man as he travels to Earth in search of the Cosmic Key, which the villainous Skeletor is also after.
Note: Masters of the Universe does not have a Metacritic score, so we’re using IMDb, which also includes user scores, so the number may be inflated.
IMDb Score: 53
6. George of the Jungle (1997)
George of the Jungle was created by Jay Ward and Bill Scott, the same people who made The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The 1967 cartoon was a spoof on Tarzan and only ran one season. The 1997 film starred Brendan Fraser and had his character falling in love with a wealthy American heiress.
Metacritic Score: 53
5. Maleficent (2015)
Disney has been remaking its animated stories into live-action films, and while the animated films are based on already existing stories, the company’s new adaptations translate the previous work moreso than the source material. Maleficent follows the villain from Sleeping Beauty. It’s an origin story that retcons the final act of the original animated film.
Metacritic Score: 56
4. Casper (1995)
Casper is a friendly ghost who lives in a haunted house, but he doesn’t like scaring the living. While Casper originates from an unsuccessful children’s book in 1939, the character gained fame in a 1945 animated short. The 1995 film has Casper meeting a young girl and her paranormal expert father as they move into his house, which is also haunted by three other ghosts.
Note: Casper does not have a Metacritic score, so we’re using IMDb, which also includes user scores, so the number may be inflated.
IMDb Score: 60
3. Transformers (2007)
Based on the 80s cartoon, Transformers is about a group of robotic aliens that come to Earth. It’s up to a young man to help them win their war against an evil group of robots before they destroy the world.
Metacritic Score: 61
2. Cinderella (2015)
Cinderella is a remake of the classic Disney animated film of the same name from 1950. The story follows a young woman who is belittled by her evil step-mother and step-sisters. One day, her fairy godmother changes her fate, and she meets a dashing prince.
Metacritic Score: 67
1. The Jungle Book (2016)
While the original animated film from 1967 is loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling book, the live-action remake from 2016 is entirely based on the Disney classic film. The story follows Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungle, as he is on a journey to the world of man.
Metacritic Score: 77