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- [Strider] Howdy!
When it come to animated movies
that at least claim to be based off a book,
we can sometimes get a movie
that brings a new life to the original book,
bringing the book's original message
out to a brand-new audience.
But sadly,
we also get plenty of miserable, cash-grabbing,
watered-down garbage piles
that desecrate the original author's writing.
And honestly,
we've got an interesting chunk of both this time.
So let's check out
the Top 5 Best & Worst Book Book-based Animated Movies.
And of course,
if you do have a differing opinion on these movies,
that's great!
It's just my silly personal opinion,
and I'd love to hear what you like or dislike about these movies
in the comments below.
Also, I'm excluding Disney,
as many of their animated movies are...
loosely based on books.
Anyway, onto the countdown.
For the fifth-worst...
"The Lorax".
(Bar-ba-loots chanting)
- [Once-ler] Haha, that's great!
- [Strider] Well... (sighs)
let's start with what is probably
the most bright and shiny Dr. Seuss remake
with no inherent soul whatsoever within.
Every question,
every silent thinking moment
the viewer was given in the original book
and the original movie
is filled out with fairy floss,
oversimplistic, pusillanimous pap.
The city of Whoville is made of rubber,
which is an excellent representation
of how this movie feels.
Like it's rubber and artificial.
Instead of a thought-provoking tale
on the impact we have on our world around us...
- Wow.
What does that even mean?
- [Strider] ...we have your typical
cutesy tale about a boy named Ted
trying to win a kiss
from a girl named Audrey.
Who also HAPPENS to be an environmentalist.
Voiced by...
Taylor Swift?
- Did your ball land in my backyard AGAIN?
- [Strider] Jeebus,
how do the world's most powerful public figures
keep ending up with such bland film roles?
Are we going to get Obama voicing
Generic Cat #2 next?
Though that actually sounds pretty awesome, I'd...
probably go see that.
Anyway, Ted is off to bring her
a real tree from the Once-ler.
I don't suppose he could
genuinely care about not seeing the world turn into
a flaming dumpster pile?
- [Old Once-ler] Do you want a tree?
- Yes! Yes...
- So now, with the Once-ler,
we've got dancing bears,
painfully floundery and meaningless
song and dance sequences.
Like, seriously.
Why do we need a long guitar song from the Once-ler
about Truffula Trees?
- ♪ These Truffula Trees
♪ are just what I need
- [Strider] Even Danny DeVito,
who plays the Lorax,
couldn't quite bring the charm to the movie for me.
And I like to hear him in a reserved role.
Though the movie probably is better off with him than without him.
And what do we get in the end?
A completely happy, oversimplified ending
that completely misses the point
of the original "Lorax" story.
In fact, they even gave us
a big corporate bad guy
to tribe against and hate.
(sarcastically) No, no,
we can't have the viewers
question their own way of life
and what they take for granted!
No! Because our shareholders say
that might deter future viewers!
It might make them uncomfortable!
The message of the original "Lorax"
is that there IS NO BAD GUY!
We all play a part.
And that we alone can make a change in ourselves
and perhaps slightly better the world for tomorrow.
But nahhhhh!
Bring in the big bad corporation guy
to stupid down the plot.
- ♪ Let it die, let it die,
♪ let it shrivel up and--
C'mon, who's with me, huh?
- The original Once-ler
isn't just an unrelatable supervillain.
He's a reflection of ourselves.
He's potentially you,
and he's most certainly potentially me!
There's not a lot wrong with this movie on a technical level.
I mean, the CG will probably lure you in.
But there's nothing behind that CG
but an ugly defilement of the original message
in a time where that message
is more important than ever.
And the fifth-best book-based animated movie is...
"Horton Hears a Who".
Ahh, now THIS is more like it.
In terms of Dr. Seuss remakes,
I consider this the best of all.
I mean, look at the design of these characters.
This is about the best CG depiction of Dr. Seuss
I've ever seen.
Unlike "The Lorax",
the characters are vibrant and different
while not being too obtrusively garish.
The colors aren't so overly-saturated
I feel blinded every time I look at the screen.
I like the small details,
like how the Mayor tiptoes across the floor,
or the pleasant design of their eyes.
There's a real gentleness and grace to this animation style.
Jim Carrey plays Horton,
and, like Danny DeVito,
I actually enjoyed hearing him in a more reserved role.
- No... please, no!
Ohh... this isn't fair!
- You wouldn't think a giant grinning elephant
would be a relatively reserved role,
but Jim Carrey makes it work.
What I like about this "Horton" movie
is it actually keeps the original Dr. Seuss message intact.
The story still encourages kids
to acknowledge the potential insignificance
of our own existences
without being too confronting.
This is illustrated great
through the tiny, tiny city
that Horton is holding.
And it does this message
while still keeping it very lighthearted.
And Seuss's original message of facing skepticism
is also kept intact.
And when every Who in Whoville
has to speak up
in order to save their tiny world,
it's just as memorable in the movie
as it was in the book.
(whooshing fanfare)
- [Crowd] We're here!
- For the... two people who don't know,
Horton's a pachyderm that finds a tiny microscopic world
on top of a clover.
And it's up to Horton and all the citizens of Whoville
to save their society from extinction.
Unlike the "Lorax" remake,
there aren't excessive pop culture riffs here.
But there's still a sense of
modern realization to it.
It also keeps that sense of rhyme-rhythm
from the original Dr. Seuss book.
- Hello?
- [Narrator] And by noon,
poor Horton, more dead than alive,
had picked, searched, and piled up
- But most importantly,
it doesn't water down the message
Dr. Seuss tried to convey to the reader.
I mean, it's a 90-minute Dr. Seuss book,
so there's gonna be a bit of movement
purely for the sake of
entertaining kids and filling time,
but to me, it's a drastic improvement
over "Lorax" and "Grinch".
"Horton Hears a Who" is creative in design
and faithful in spirit.
Blue Sky Studios are to be commended for this adaptation.
And for the fourth-worst...
"The Grinch". The 2018 version.
(sighs) Don't get me wrong,
this is perfectly well-animated and serviceable on the surface,
but JEEBUS it's a whole lotta' nothin'!
If you do like this one,
I get it.
There's nothing offensive about it.
But that's just the thing,
there's nothing offensive about it!
This Grinch is so weak and inoffensive
that I barely remember anything about him.
I guess if you want a child-friendly version
of an already children's book character,
maybe "The Grinch" is appropriate?
Well, this is the most demure, tame Grinch
you will ever lay eyes upon.
Unlike the books or movies from the past,
he's no longer a diabolical monster,
he's the ultimate example
of watering down a character
to be as inoffensive as possible
to the largest possible audience.
I guess that's what the shareholders wanted.
In fact,
he rarely even ever looks angry.
A lot of the time,
he just looks outright bored.
The Grinch himself looks like he's in a
permanent state of boredom,
unable to even summon the energy to be angry.
It ALMOST made me miss the Jim Carrey Grinch.
At least he gave an interesting
if cringeworthy performance.
At least it was memorable.
I still remember that tablecloth scene.
(cloth slipping, metal clattering)
(metal clattering)
Don't get me wrong.
Benedict Cumberbatch, a.k.a...
- Doctor Strange.
- Oh, you're using the made-up name.
- [Strider] ...reads his Grinch lines fine,
and I find it entertaining to listen to him.
But that's because he's Benedict Cumberbatch.
- [Grinch] Let me guess.
Small child, December 20th, rapidly searching for
a "really important" lost letter.
Maybe your list of demands to Santa?
- [Strider] This Grinch doesn't
shut himself away from humanity,
becoming more bitter and twisted
from his isolation.
He just strolls around town
like anybody else.
But oh no!
He causes minor inconveniences!
This is not a fearsome mountain-dweller
who could turn on you at any second.
It's a slightly crotchety neighbor
who probably just needs a friend to chat with
down at the pokeys.
Oh no, he slightly poked that snowman too hard.
Oh, woe is me.
To me,
this is just an hour of inoffensive Grinch padding
with very talented actors
with nothing to work with.
I mean, look at this.
- [Chorus] ♪ You got termites in your smile
- [Strider] Oh no,
we can't actually have termites in his smile.
That might be three seconds
of mild discomfort for the under seven.
In fact,
the original Grinch was so evil
that he had to have a surgical resizing of his heart
in order to even feel
a shred of empathy for the Whovians.
This Grinch just feels like
a guy who missed his morning coffee.
Honestly, if you can go back half a century,
you can get a far more memorable Grinch movie
made by Chuck Jones,
the creator of "Looney Tunes"
with an actually nasty Grinch
with an actual turnaround.
To me, Illumination's "Grinch"
may be high-budget and gentle enough,
but there's nothing memorable about it.
It certainly won't offend you,
but for a Dr. Seuss adaption,
this is a tragically inoffensive sea of bland.
And for the fourth-best...
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".
(triumphant music) - It really works!
(Flint laughing)
- Although I always enjoy
watching this movie,
am I the only one who ever wondered
how this town never came down
with excessive diabetes?
I mean, the main story
is that Clint [Flint] the scientist
is able to solve the town's problems
by raining food from the sky,
including metric tons
of ice cream, donuts, and,
- A pizza
stuffed inside a turkey,
the whole thing deep-fried
and dipped in chocolate!
- ...but maybe I'm just over-analyzing the movie.
I get that the story probably wouldn't have been as interesting
if Clint [Flint] had made well-balanced meals
with a side of vegetables
raining from the sky.
Like, whoo!
Salad's raining from the sky today!
this is the kind of creative movie
I could purely appreciate
from an animation standpoint.
The colors, the sounds,
the atmosphere of "Cloudy Meatballs"
just jumps out at the viewer.
And apart from the mayor,
I can't think of any character
in this movie I didn't enjoy.
Flint and his dad both have a nice dynamic.
Sam's a charming protagonist alongside Flint.
She's not just your typical news reporter.
And even minor characters
like Police Officer Earl
are very memorable.
- [Flint] Mm-hmm... - [Earl] This contact lens represent you.
- [Flint] Alright... - [Earl] And my eye
represents my eye.
- [Flint] Okay... - [Earl] I got MY EYE
on YOU.
- [Strider] The movie's also got
a bit of a political edge
and a sense of anarchy to it,
particularly when things start to go haywire.
There's some good messages about greed,
not trying to please everyone,
and acknowledging failure.
My main nitpick with "Cloudy Meatballs" is,
the narrative of the characters
is pretty predictable.
I've definitely seen Flint's
"scientist who wants to be popular" stereotype before,
and I've never found it all that fascinating.
We know the town's going to accept him.
he's gonna find someone that likes him,
he's gonna reconcile with his dad,
yadda yadda ya.
But as I said,
that's not what the movie's about.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
is about telling a sweet, silly,
simple story.
A story about
food falling from the sky,
and a guy reconciling with his dad,
and about falling in love with a nice lady.
And for the third-worst...
"The Ant Bully".
I think if Dreamworks and Pixar
taught us anything,
is that it's very difficult
to make ants look cute, sympathetic,
or even likable.
I mean,
many kids discover the power of fire
and a magnifying glass through them.
Unless you are Pixar,
and literally have hundreds of millions of dollars
to drop on your movie,
chances are,
the insects are gonna look ugly.
Well, to start with,
most of the dialog
is really BAD.
- "Please wipe my little bottom for me!"
"Wipe me, oh oh oh please!
"wipe me! Wah wah wah wah wah!"
- Gimme that stupid contract.
- [Strider] I mean,
I guess its toilet humor
is a passable diversion for kids,
but I never connected with any of the characters,
or the message for that matter.
I didn't like the main character, Lucas, at all.
- Just stop it, Mom.
I don't have any problems
except for you treating me like a baby.
He plays far more the typical "Milo" brat
from "Mars Needs Moms"
than someone that's actually relatable.
And most of the other characters
aren't a lot better.
The bully's just your typical
"bully because he's a bully",
which is so played-out at this point.
- Well, what are you gonna' do about it, huh?
Because I'm big.
And you're small.
- [Strider] The story's basically that
Lucas is terrorizing an ant colony
because he's being bullied at school.
But the ant leader uses a magic potion
so he can make Lucas small
and teach him a lesson.
But then he and the ants
get their revenge on the bully,
Because... I guess revenge is an interesting life lesson?
It feels like it kinda nullifies
the whole "respect everything" message
they were hammering home in the premise.
That being said,
the movie has some pluses.
There's some nice voice actors in here
like Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.
But even their pleasant, familiar tones
just couldn't quite save
the mediocre dialog for me.
"Ant Bully" isn't insultingly bad,
but it did really remind me,
we definitely don't need any more ant movies.
And for the third-best book-based animated movie...
"The Secret of NIMH".
An excuse to talk about a Don Bluth movie,
the master renegade
of the great Disney exodus.
You bet I'll take it!
I get a real kick
out of the "lone creature's odyssey" plot.
It's part of why I love
the games "Abe's Oddysee" and "Abe's Exoddus",
particularly when the worlds
are ruthless and unpredictable as, well...
our own world.
And since Mrs. Frisby is such
a strong, admirable leading character,
I found myself immersed in her journey
as well as collaborating with her fellow creatures
and saving her son.
- Please, Sir.
I'll do anything to save Timmy.
- There's not just an exodus,
it's a grander story
of animals gaining sentience
through human experimentation.
What happens when they gain knowledge,
a sense of morality,
and begin to establish a society.
There's an underlying question
of science versus nature
versus the unknown in this movie,
creating something truly beautiful
and engaging.
I've yet to see a premise
quite like Mrs. Frisby's story.
She's a widow out to save her son.
That's it.
Bluth's animation style has its way of
capturing the mysterious,
the fantastic, and the fearsome so well.
Over 30 years later,
"The Secret of NIMH" still feels powerful to me,
and it's definitely one of Don Bluth's masterpiece movies.
And for the second-worst...
"Tom & Jerry in 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'".
Yes, number TWO!
Believe it or not, it actually does get worse than this.
Ahh, finally,
a truly abysmal movie production,
using only the lousiest
and bargain-basement CG
to assure they turn a profit,
with those unknowing enough
to accidentally pick it up.
What's weird about this movie
is that I get this visceral feeling of dirtiness
whenever I watch it.
Like, it feels
like I'm desecrating something beautiful
just by laying witness
to this thing's existence.
- My chocolate!
My poor, sweet, beautiful chocolate!
- It's like clicking a surprise egg video out of curiosity;
I feel like I'm perpetuating something horrible.
This is a movie that exists
purely because Warner Bros.
owns tons of different intellectual properties,
then decided to see what happens
if they randomly...
smush them together.
- ♪ Simply look around and view it
- The kind of movie
where you feel surprised
if a critic ever gives it anything
more than a one out of ten.
And, oh JEEBUS, the animation.
So many of the weird,
plastic CG shots we get here
just look wrong.
But you know,
I was hoping for something truly, intensively repulsive,
and "Tom & Jerry / Willy Wonka" delivers.
Tom and Jerry aren't even really placed
into the "Willy Wonka" universe.
They kinda just intercut
into the world separately
with their own weird, random moments.
And Tuffy...
Yes, Tuffy is here again.
And this time,
he wants to be an Oompa Loompa.
- I'm Tuffy.
I'm an Oompa Loompa.
I have a mousetrap and a boot in this factory.
One of them will work.
I mean, look at this scene.
Even Willy Wonka looks like he's bored
and just wants to get every scene over with.
The plus to this movie?
Well, it's kind of entertaining
in how revoltingly bad it is?
My favorite scene was probably
the bizarre song amalgamation
given to Slugworth,
for some reason combining
Veruca's original song
with his own evil bad guy premise
Even though Slugworth
was not originally a villain.
"Tom & Jerry / Willy Wonka" is easily
among the worst book-based animated movies.
- You get NOTHING.
Good day, sir.
- And for the second-best...
The "How To Train Your Dragon" trilogy,
based on the book series
by Cressida Cowell.
Well, the trilogy's complete,
and now we can see that Dreamworks
managed the impossible.
They managed to make two sequels
that were all arguably
just as good as the original.
Apart from "Toy Story",
I really can't think of many other movies
that have ever done that.
This probably sounds like an airy-fairy term,
but I really do think these movies are wondrous.
In number one,
when Hiccup first
soars into the sky with Toothless.
In "2",
when Toothess is fighting his instincts
and trying not to kill Hiccup.
In "3",
Hiccup discovering the vast hidden world of the dragons.
There's a sense of dignity to the "Dragon" series
that I simply don't feel to this degree
in any other Dreamworks movie.
While I do have some pet peeves--
I mean, the minor characters can feel very shallow.
But the main characters make
for an expansive, nuanced world.
Hiccup lives in a world
where he strives to be a diplomat.
Yet, unlike Steven,
he can't reason with everyone
and sometimes he has to compromise.
And I respect that.
Hiccup strives to find peace
among the people
where possible,
and that is so much more realistic.
And to me,
That's what the "Dragon" series
is great at doing:
painting a vibrant wonderland
with still some realism to it.
I think it's because of "Dragons"
that Dreamworks has a more
sophisticated reputation today.
(Hiccup grunting, Toothless vocalizing)
(Toothless vocalizing)
- Okay...
Thanks, bud.
- I really enjoy the "Dragon" movies
and I get immersed in them,
but most of all,
I respect them.
(crowd muttering)
- You never cease to amaze me, Bud.
And before we get to the number ones,
just a couple of quick Honourable and Dishonourable Mentions.
For the Honourable Mentions:
based on Neil Gaiman's book.
Another classic from Henry Selick.
Coraline discovers an alternate reality
that gives an amazing demonstration
of the unsettling nature of the Uncanny Valley
that eventually turns into a nightmare
she has to escape from
with her cunning and wit.
But I've already talked about "Coraline"
in "The Creepiest Animated Movies".
And as the Critic and I already said,
it's very creative
and a must-watch of Selick's films.
"Fantastic Mr. Fox",
based on the book by Roald Dahl.
I discussed this one in "Best & Worst Claymation Movies",
so I decided to leave it off the list.
But needless to say,
it's one of the most faithful adaptions of a book
I've ever seen on film,
adding a real layer of nuance to the characters
and making it something unique,
breathing new personality and depth
into the characters
with the well-chosen voice acting
atmospheric shots.
- Why?
Why did you lie to me?
(gentle music)
- Because I'm a wild animal.
- [Strider] "Charlotte's Web",
based on the 1973 book.
Charlotte the spider works
to save the life of her friend Wilbur the pig
with some unique, uh...
spider art.
She does save him,
but then dies onscreen
in what is still a pretty confronting memory from my childhood.
Spiders, well...
they don't live as long as pigs.
But Charlotte in particular
is one of the most graceful,
elegant cartoon characters
I've ever seen.
She also has a very memorable voice.
- "Versatile" means
I can turn with ease
from one thing to another.
But I feel...
Your success today was,
to a small degree,
my success.
- Something that fascinates me about the animation
is they actually make Wilbur
look middle-aged as the years pass.
A middle-aged pig.
It's such a funny look,
but it works.
- This hallowed doorway
was once the home of Charlotte.
"Howl's Moving Castle".
Damn this movie is awesome.
Technically, this easily counts
as a best to me,
but I don't tend to include anime on my lists.
Beautiful story,
wonderful characters,
great English dub.
I just love so much about this movie.
And Christian Bale makes the best Howl ever.
- [Howl] Don't hold it against them.
They're actually not all that bad.
Where to?
I'll be your escort this evening.
- [Strider] "Watership Down",
based on the book by Richard Adams.
Serious, brutal,
but powerful.
The music score's great.
the animation looks exceptional for 1978.
The script and the dialog are sophisticated, too.
But obviously,
as you may have heard,
lots of violent imagery
and dying rabbits.
Not one for the young kids,
but it definitely gets my thumbs-up.
The "Captain Underpants" movie.
There's a whole lot of elements I like
about the "Captain Underpants" movie,
and this is coming from someone
who hasn't seen the original book.
The speed of the overblown jokes,
the surprisingly-detailed body language,
the stylization of the animation,
and the general lighthearted,
tongue-in-cheek tone.
It's actually a very faithful adaption of the books.
For a movie that's essentially just
a guy running around in his underwear,
it's surprisingly...
enjoyable and not cringeworthy.
The team that worked on this
obviously worked very hard to get the tone right.
Now, obviously,
I'm the wrong demographic for this movie,
but I still thought it was okay.
- Considering they're
completely implausible, juvenile,
and filled with the lowest form of wit:
potty humor...
they're actually pretty funny.
- [Strider] And for the two DIShonourable Mentions...
"Boss Baby".
Although this one is based on a book,
I discussed in "Abysmal Netflix Cartoons"
and that's enough for me personally.
I'm obviously not
the right demographic for this show.
This movie's just too awkward and weird
for me to even enjoy discussing.
Dreamworks just doesn't get more cheesy,
inoffensive, and saccharine than this.
If you like it,
that's great,
it just doesn't at all appeal to me.
If you're curious of my extended thoughts,
I talk about it in "Worst & Best Dreamworks Movies".
Anyway, onto the number ones.
And without a doubt,
the number one worst book-based animated movie is...
"Strawinsky and the Mysterious House",
based on the German audiobook.
now this...
this is supreme garbage incarnate.
This isn't even a movie.
This is a crime scene.
(chorus of wailing)
The crime,
vandalizing the minds
of whatever impressionable child
who might have been unfortunate enough
to gaze upon it
with what is essentially the equivalent
to putting the entire legacy of animation
through a wood chipper.
Even the trailer voice acting is alien!
Just completely broken!
- You don't know that, not at all!
- [Strider] The 3D animation
is so lazy.
So incredibly unprofessional and terrible.
It looks far more like
a Lovecraftian existential horror film
than it does a children's animated movie.
Developed by Hope Animation,
but truly,
there is no hope for this animation.
Or this company.
Or this writing.
Oh JEEBUS, the writing.
- [Books] ♪ Come and read us read us read us read us
♪ read us read us read us read us
♪ read us read us read us read us...
- I am jawdropped
at the pure lack of quality
in this writing.
A bunch of...
what I think are animals
go into a house and learn
the evils of reading.
- Oh, how sad.
They really should have been more careful with these.
They're too deeply immersed in these books.
- Yes, you guessed correct.
This is a religious movie.
And I'm sorry,
because if I had known about this at the time,
I definitely would have added this
to "Worst Religious Animated Movies".
I mean,
how could I actually manage to buy this
from an active company in 2019
that claims that books are evil?
I had to read to buy this!
I had to do research and learn!
It just-- ugh...
In fact,
our horrendously-animated abominations
are put under a "dark",
"evil" spell by reading.
Even the names, guys.
The names.
"Elbow the rabbit"!
What kind of name is that?
"Shockingly", all the characters
all the characters sound like humdrum robots.
- Spooookyyy...
And the voice actors sound like
they're lamenting their life decisions
reading lines for this movie.
- They're like frozen.
Could you please help them?
- [Strider] Every line delivered
sounds unfathomably awkward.
"Foodfight!" is looking more and more amazing
the more we plummet to the depths of this garbage.
Just the CONCEPT of this movie is so bad.
Reading is bad?
Expanding your knowledge of the universe is evil,
learning that people might be wrong on some things?
You see,
according to this movie,
reading turns you into a big, sluggish,
overweight layabout.
Did I show you this thing yet?
Because you really need to see it only once
to know just how abysmal things have gotten.
This large worm monster here became this way
because he read a book.
- He lost his slender form
and became what he is now:
big, and fat, and slow.
- JEEBUS forbid he might have read TWO books!
You could easily add this
to my "Worst Animated Movies" as well.
It's down there.
I can easily call "Strawinsky and the Mysterious House"
the worst book-based animated movie.
And I personally think
the number one best book-based animated movie is...
"The Iron Giant".
There's so much I remember about this movie.
The scenery, the animation style,
specific moments.
There's very few kid's movies I can think of
that pack the emotional impact
that "Iron Giant" has.
I first saw this one when I was about nine.
some of the moments
between Hogarth and the Giant
just seem timeless to me.
You've probably seen the story before in "E.T.".
Basically, a boy finds an alien robot
and a paranoid government hunts them down.
But I would personally take this over "E.T." anyday.
What's interesting though,
is it isn't the alien Giant teaching the boy.
It's the boy teaching the alien Giant.
He teaches him basically about empathy,
good, evil,
and the beauty of existence.
And that's still something
I can look back on at any age
and still find fascinating to witness.
- He's not like you.
You're a good guy.
Like Superman.
(metallic echoing) - Superman.
- [Strider] There's a genuine emotion and message
that never results to saccharine schmultz.
There's no cutesy animal sidekicks.
No one bursts into song randomly.
It's just a story about a boy and his robot.