10 Movies That Also Received Animated Adaptations, Ranked

It is a widely held belief that not every film needs an adaptation. In fact, most of the time, that is the last thing a film needs. Some adaptations certainly manage to pull it off, giving fans a reason to rejoice and let out a sigh of relief. But unfortunately, one successful adaptation does not guarantee the success of the rest, adding to the fear and concerns of fans.

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And when it comes to animated adaptations of beloved films, the results are very hit-and-miss. Where some fandoms get lucky, receiving a multi-season adaptation worthy of its association with the original film, or a short-lived but well-executed series, others would rather pretend the cartoon adaptation of their favorite film never happened. In these instances, all fans can do is rewatch the original film and pray to the film gods that their other favorites remains safe.


10 The Karate Kid (1989)

IMDb rating: 4.8/10

The Karate Kid animated series only managed to put out a single 13 episode season before being canceled. Perhaps due to its short-lived run or the creative liberties this show took in differentiating itself from the film, this show is largely forgotten by fans of the franchise – a franchise which has sustained its popularity due to other successful adaptations such as Cobra Kai.

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At best, the show was seen as watchable in small doses, perhaps suggesting that the Saturday morning programming was better than the Monday to Friday schedule they’d hoped for. And while an adaptation is free to change things up, this cartoon series has proved that such changes can come at the cost of fan enjoyment, as the lead characters find themselves in situations that would have never been plausible in the films.

9 Dumb and Dumber (1995-1996)

Dumb and Dumber Animated Series

IMDb rating: 5.5/10

It seems 13 episodes was a curse that was difficult to break, and one the Dumb and Dumber series also fell victim to. Airing at a time when Jim Carrey was everywhere (rightfully so) and two of his other beloved films, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask, also had cartoon adaptations, Dumb and Dumber was up against some tough competition.

Unfortunately, unlike Ace Ventura and The Mask, which both ran for three seasons, the Dumb and Dumber adaptation missed the mark, unable to capitalize on the Jim Carrey hype. Sure, the show was wild, chaotic and every bit as silly as the film, but without the originality, adult humor and dynamic acting chemistry that made the film so popular, the series instead served as a generic cartoon that had nothing new to offer audiences.

8 The Mummy (2001-2003)

The Mummy Animated Series

IMDb rating: 6.2/10

The animated adaptation of The Mummy, which ran for two seasons, gave fans of the film franchise a lot to love. Rather than serving as a direct sequel to the films, the show presents an alternate timeline, regurgitating villains from the films in a way that makes it seem like they haven’t been encountered before.

The voice acting is great and the show’s use of location adds to the magic of each episode’s events. Most importantly, the show’s lead characters are also well constructed, with Alex serving as a likable hero, female lead, Evy, a great example of an animated female character, and well known villain Imhotep brilliantly adapted to suit the new medium.

7 Jumanji (1996-1999)

Jumanji Animated Series

IMDb rating: 6.3/10

The Jumanji television adaptation was so well received by viewers that it went on for three seasons and is largely seen as one of the better film to TV adaptations. The series, which came out only a year after the first film’s release, remains faithful to the film and all that made it special, with the lead characters returning, and the adventures of Jumanji simply reshaped to suit the television medium.

The animation is exciting, the voice acting stellar, and the episodic format allows viewers to better get to know the world of Jumanji. By honoring the source material, and also exploring beyond it, the show is the perfect mix of something which works alongside the film and as its own standalone product, so much so that the animated series could have easily been a success before and without the film.

6 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1990-1991)

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures Animated Series

IMDb rating: 6.4/10

Unlike other animated adaptations of popular films, the cartoon series for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure had lead actors Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin reprising their iconic roles. This gave the show a unique authenticity, helping it exist as an element of the franchise that truly warranted watching from fans of the film.

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However, much to the disappointment of fans, this casting only lasted for the show’s first season. The second and last season of the show took a different direction, shocking viewers by recasting the title roles, changing the animation style and the theme song. Nonetheless, the show, at its core, paid homage to the broader aspects that made the film so great, showcasing Bill and Ted stumbling through history.

5 Napoleon Dynamite (2012)

Napoleon Dynamite Animated Series

IMDb rating: 6.4/10

Like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,Napoleon Dynamite also demonstrates the benefit of having the film’s original cast return, further proving the point that no one other than Jon Hedercould ever play the role of Napoleon. Unsurprisingly, the voice acting is brilliant, and the show manages to capture the film’s awkward essence.

However, probably the biggest difference between the film and the animated series is the heightened action of the series. One of the things that made the movie great was its realism and the way it served as a brief look into the mundane, but hilarious, lives of a few in rural Idaho. The series, on the other hand, is much more jam-packed with adventure, using the episodic format to show the gang entangled in something new every episode, even if it means exploring more ridiculous and unrealistic terrain than the film.

4 Men in Black (1997-2001)

Men in Black Animated Series

IMDb rating: 6.8/10

Whilst the original Men in Blackcast did not reprise their roles in this animated adaptation, this in no way impacted the success of the show, which ran for four seasons, and even won a Daytime Emmy Award. Like the film, the show continued to explore the adventures of Agents Kay and Jay as they navigate the challenges posed by New York City’s extraterrestrials.

However, everything the film did well, the show did better. This is not only in all the new and exciting things they could do with the series’ extraterrestrial adventures, but in character development, with the show using the expanded format to delve more deeply into important matters such as character backgrounds and the history of the Men in Black, that is not matched in the film.

3 Beetlejuice (1989-1991)

Beetlejuice Animated Series

IMDb rating: 7.3/10

The Beetlejuice animated series is a prime example for how to adapt a film into a cartoon series, and how to do it well. Bringing the original film’s creator Tim Burton back on as Executive Producer, the show succeeds in bringing the film’s magical and gross weirdness to life in a new medium, even going on to win the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.

Like the film, the series follows the adventures of Beetlejuice, who is now portrayed as Lydia’s best friend, who was also aged down to be more suitable for younger audiences. As well as altering the relationship between the two, the film gives Lydia the capacity to willingly enter into the Neitherworld, introducing viewers to a new set of wacky characters.

2 Clerks (2000-2001)

Clerks Animated Series

IMDb rating: 7.4/10

Fans of Clerks: The Animated Series may have been a smaller group, but they were a devoted one, agreeing that the show came to end far too soon after only a six episode run. Regardless of if viewers had seen the movie or not, the show was entertaining in its own right, bringing Kevin Smith‘s beloved Viewaskewniverse characters back to life in a refreshing, and more child-friendly, way.

But for those who loved the 1994 film Clerks before the show’s release, the show does an excellent job at paying tribute to the film’s nostalgia. The show revives classic running jokes from the film, including poor Dante having to come into work on his days off, and the small details that make the film’s New Jersey quick stop so beloved, like the graffiti on the store window. Of course, the personalities of each of Smith’s characters is honored, with Randal delivering on his classic wit, Jay and Silent Bob getting up to their usual distractive antics (minus Jay’s obscene profanity), and Dante complaining over “years spent at this soul-crushing less than minimum wage hellhole.”

1 Ghostbusters (1986-1991)

The Real Ghostbusters Animated Series

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

It takes a very special adaptation to go on for seven seasons, but that is exactly what Ghostbustersanimated series The Real Ghostbusters was. The show was the perfect tribute to everything people loved and continue to love about the film. Reprising the film’s beloved characters and impeccable humor, the show manages to expand on a ghostly world the film didn’t have the time to, and does so brilliantly.

The show delivers on comedy, great voice acting and superb animation, and was also unafraid to be different from the film. It used the animation medium to explore more outrageous terrain (yes, even more so than hunting a slimy green ghost) by showing the core four dealing with cool new spirits, even including those of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

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