These iconic cartoons deserve a big screen update
“Are you ready kids?” “Aye aye captain!” Recognize that opening? Even if you haven’t watched every episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, the underwater cartoon is a pop culture icon: from its square (on so many levels) protagonist to its drool-worthy, oft-coveted Krabby Patties, that lovable ragtag team of sea creatures (and Sandy the squirrel) have brought laughter and heart to audiences for sixteen years (!!!).
It’s also taken over the box office — just this past weekend, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (the sequel to a 2004 film) raked in $56 million at the box office, coming out at #1. Almost as importantly, the movie has a fresh 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a worthwhile addition to the SpongeBob library. This made us wonder, what other classic cartoons deserve a shot (or, in some cases, a second chance) at the box office? Here are our super-nostalgic picks:
Okay, so the whole beeper thing is defunct now (though it never gets old), but an entire generation grew up wanting Kim Possible’s poise and style under pressure. She made living a double life seem so effortlessly cool, and might have single-handedly saved the naked mole rat pet industry. Kim Possible has lived on as two made-for-TV films, but we can’t be alone in thinking that it’s about time that Kim, her boy Ron, and Rufus returned to the silver screen. Adventure Time
Cartoon Network’s current crown jewel is one of the weirdest shows on TV. It’s also one of the most popular animated series ever, and it’s not uncommon to bump into adults and kids alike wearing Finn’s hat or singing any of the show’s wacky songs. Adventure Time on the big screen could dethrone Frozen as reigning animated box office champ.
Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch modeled brother and sister duo Dipper and Mabel Pines after him and his own sister. The result: a heartwarming show about unlike but equally awesome siblings… and plenty of spooky thrills to keep viewers on their toes. Falls is only in its second season, but it’s already garnered a cult following, and seems destined for bigger screens.
The Powerpuff Girls
“Sugar, spice, and everything nice” — just typing out the words bring to mind the iconic Powerpuff Girls intro, as well as its adorable super girl trio. But while Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom couldn’t quite take over the box office back in 2002, their characters are still popular enough that they’re being rebooted for TV in 2016. Next stop: another movie? Phineas and Ferb
Yes, Phineas and Ferb is a kind of weird, kind of touching show, but let’s be real: it deserves a movie if only so that Perry the Platypus gets his own major crime-fighting subplot. Or maybe Perry could just have his own movie? We’re joking (kind of) — these two step-brothers can carry a film by themselves, and they actually have — it’s just on hold.
The Fairly OddParents
Timmy is an average kid… unless you count the fact that he has unlimited wishes and a gloriously overactive imagination. For fourteen years (the second longest-running show on Nick), Timmy, his zany fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda, and his even zanier actual parents have kept viewers entertained. For a show so seasoned, it’s amazing that it hasn’t gotten a proper feature film – and no, this doesn’t count.
Did anyone else freak out when they found out that Totally Spies is now on Netflix? Anyone?! Between their laser lipstick and their rad outfits, these ladies (essentially, animated Charlie’s Angels) rocked our world for seven years. The original series ended in 2008, but it came back in 2013, proving that people would definitely follow these spies’ next moves. Bob’s Burgers
Bob’s Burgers is easily one of the best shows on TV right now, and it could be one of the best movies of all time. While many popular network TV cartoons are either super crass (Family Guy, the late Futurama) or have been on literally forever (The Simpsons), Bob’s Burgers is still relatively fresh territory and it’s super family-friendly. The Belchers have conquered TV already; fingers crossed that they take their tale to the movies.
It seems like every character in the comic book universe is headed to the big screen, but one notable exception has been DC’s Teen Titans. While the series currently lives on in the light-hearted Teen Titans Go! and in an upcoming live action show centered around the DC hero Nightwing, the original 2003 animated series is a cult favorite — and proof that DC can do both funny and serious.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
One of the greatest cinematic tragedies of the past decade was M. Night Shyamalan’s disastrous 2010 live action adaption of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Gone were the humor, heart, and people of color of the original show. While sequel The Legend of Korra certainly deserves some sort of film follow-up, it’s time to bring the original Avatar back (before James Cameron’s Avatar sequels come out and confuse everyone again).