With the idea of turning cartoons into live-action adaptations becoming more and more frequent, we have another beloved cartoon turning into a live-action property.
Earlier this year, more reports have come out that a live-action version of the hit Cartoon Network show The Powerpuff Girls will come out on the CW network. If you are unaware of the original show, it was about three girls who were created in a laboratory by a scientist where they gained superpowers and saved the city from the forces of evil. It was one of Cartoon Network’s most well-praised shows.
The live-action version of the series will depict the Powerpuff girls as 20-year old adults who feel sour after moving away from their childhood, crime-fighting days behind them and wondering if they will all come back together once more.
The three main characters of the show, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, will be played by Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, and Yana Perrault, respectively in the live-action show. Bennet previously played Daisy Johnson on the show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. while Cameron was previously a part of different Disney properties, such as Liv and Maddie, and the Disney-Channel original movie Descendants. Perrault will make her TV acting debut in this new show. Previously, she has performed and created her own music and has also been a part of the Broadway version of the Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill.
It has also been confirmed that Nicholas Podany is set to play Joseph “Jojo” Mondel Jr., the son of the cartoon’s main antagonist Mojo Jojo. Podany has previously been a part of the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, playing as Albus Potter, as well as other shows on the CW network.
Despite the news of the show, many people are skeptical about this new series due to how the CW (the channel that will air the series) has not been known to create faithful adaptations of different properties, such as Riverdale. On top of that, there has not been a good record of cartoons converting into live-action properties.
The Problem With Live-Action Versions of Cartoons
In fact, let me list some animated TV-shows and films to you: Scooby-Doo, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield,…
What do all of these have in common? The first thing you see is all of these are famous cartoons and TV shows. On top of that, they also all have live-action properties that have all been worse versions of their respective TV-shows.
But why is this?
Well, that is because there are distinct differences that make an animated property different from a live-action property. More specifically, there’s differences between a cartoon and a live-action version of a cartoon.
For instance, cartoons have a runtime ranging from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Films and live-action TV shows, however, have duration times that can extend up to times of about 2 hours. In addition, cartoons are meant to be more exaggerated, as characters in these cartoons will make funny, expressive faces to get more of a comedic effect. There are also more opportunities to create unique objects and characters using drawings alone.
Live-action shows cannot rely on exaggeration. The animated expressions and actions of the characters cannot be replicated with computer-generated animation, which costs a lot to use. I mean, what would the live action version of Mojo Jojo’s son look like? Probably just a green chimpanzee with a CGI mouth. Instead, the live-action versions of the cartoon need to focus more on creative set pieces, choreography of different scenes, and other different components.
In addition, for a show like The Powerpuff Girls, it was originally just up to about 15 minutes in runtime. Most of the episodes did not lead to a long storyline, but rather just quick, fun adventures of the main characters saving civilians from evil. There are questions on how the writers of this new live-action show will be able to create longer episodes that will have to deal with older versions of the characters without all the campiness of the original.
Although live-action versions of cartoons tend to be unsuccessful, there are ways to make the version faithful to the original source material. One important method is to hopefully get people who love the show and are skilled in creating a good show (whether in writing, filmmaking, etc.). It would not be enough if the people working on this show enjoy The Powerpuff Girls cartoon. This live-action adaptation will need to change things, but they need to be changes that are unique such that they do not ruin the original cartoon.
Overall, there could be hope that this live-action version of The Powerpuff Girls can be good, but only time will tell if the CW network can pull that off or not.
Knowing that there are many people out there who love both TV shows in live-action and in animation, it would be great to see a faithful live-action version of a cartoon for this generation.
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