Family movies that are live action (and sometimes even animated) adaptations of cartoons that otherwise probably wouldn't work as a live action blockbuster, or actually would, normally seem to focus more on a newer human character and his love life or life story rather than the character that . More often than not, the plot has an unlucky dude with a crappy job and a crush on his hot co-worker, having a run-in with the cartoon character of the day, or having said cartoon character as a pet. In other words, the character is just used for comedic effect.
As a consequence, the movie becomes a failure and as such, the human character (and probably any other character) becomes a Scrappy.
Examples for you:
Sonic X during first two seasons has Chris Thorndike taking the spotlight and filling roles which, in the actual game versions of the stories Sonic X was adapted from, were filled by Tails and Amy. This is the main reason why everyone hates Chris (no pun intended).
Underdog, which makes no sense; the original cartoon featured a 100% Funny Animal-populated world.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Though the Chipmunks get a fair enough amount of screentime and focus, it still follows the "unlucky guy in love has cartoon characters as pets" formula. At least the human in question, Dave, was a part of the franchise to begin with. The "Squeakquel" introduced some reason why he couldn't be there and then replaced him with some completely random loser.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle movie gave less screen time to the cartoon moose and squirrel than their traditional human villains and new human characters. Rocky and Bullwinkle are on a very small part of the DVD while the human characters are front and center. No matter what the title says, Karen is the protagonist.
Two Looney Tunes live action movies.
- Space Jam puts its focus on bringing Michael Jordan into the Looney Tunes' world to save them from aliens by playing basketball. The first part of the movie plays like a Biopic of Jordan before the Looney Tunes show up.
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action introduces two human characters to team up with Bugs and Daffy and even gives them a romantic subplot.
- Additionally, a supposedly upcoming Marvin the Martian movie has been implied to follow this in its summaries. You can view the test fottage here: www.movieweb.com/movie/marvin-…
- Two Dr. Seuss live action adaptations (and one animated one):
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, while the Grinch did get a fair amount of screentime and character development, the film has more focus put on the Whos (who are more or less Rubber-Forehead Aliens) than in the original, especially Cindy Lou, who gets half the movie to herself and has far less makeup than the other Whos, making her look even more human than the rest of them. This applies to Marhta May who looks human as well. Partly explainable as an attempt to stretch a short children's book into a feature length movie. Notheless, the movie was pretty darn good.
- The Cat in the Hat in its film adaptation. Besides the heavy makeup, scary costumes, and insane amount of Family Guy humor, it was also awful because it did not focus on the Cat. The Cat just serves as a (non-kid friendly) babysitter and comic relief. It focuses on the kids and their mother and her fiancce (who is a total jerk and fraud). In this movie, Conrad and Sally are spoiled, misbehaved, rich kids and their mother is a neglectful parent who is a real estate agent.
- The Lorax barley revolves around the title character. He only appears in the opening, the flashbacks, and the ending. However, it did have a good ending. The original story ends with the forest gone, the animals gone, the settlers gone, the city gone, the factory gone, and the Lorax gone. Only the Once-ler remains, who regrets his actions. However, there is one ray of hope: UNLESS. If the boy can regrow the forest and protect it, maybe the Lorax will come back. What makes this even more depressing in the animated version is that the Lorax tells the Onceler family shortly after they move in that it takes ten years for a Truffula seed to sprout, and ten more years for that seed to grow. However, we get to see Tom plant the seed and the movie ends with the Once-Ler watering the sprouting trees he has planted. Also, the animals start to return and the Lorax returns to the forest.
Some of the Muppet productions just have the Muppets as supproting characters:
- Played with in The Muppets 2011 where the trailer makes it look like a human-focused romantic comedy, only for Kermit the Frog to show up and reveal the real nature of the film. It still technically qualifies for this trope, though; most of the screentime is given to Jason Segel, Amy Adams and new character Walter (who is a Muppet but not in-universenote In the movie's universe, "Muppet" only refers to members of Kermit's troupe until the final act of the movie), although the humans' subplot takes a backseat to the main plot for most of the movie. That said, a concerted effort was made to give the Muppets enough screen time and have them qualify as main characters.
- Referenced when Jason Segel hosted Saturday Night Live, and The Muppets were upset that they weren't asked to host.Kermit: It makes perfect sense that they would pick Jason! I mean when people go to a MUPPET movie, they say, "Gee, I can't wait to see the human!"
- The literature adaptations are bad for this. The Muppet Christmas Carol is all about Michael Caine's Scrooge, although Kermit and Gonzo get major roles as Bob Cratchett and Dickens. In Muppet Treasure Island, the main focus is on Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver, played by Tim Curry. Originally the "Jim Hawkins" part was going to be played by Rizo and Gonzo (being named Jim and Hawkins as two characters), before it was decided to make it into a Coming of Age Story with an actual human kid as Jim. And in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz Ashanti's amount of focus makes The Muppets themselves feel like an afterthought. In this case both are based on stories where the main characters were humans, and the trope is just a side-effect of staying faithful to the story.
- The original Muppet outings tend to avert the trope by including major human characters but keeping the focus on Kermit and the gang. In The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, said humans are antagonists or connected to them in some way, and The Muppets Take Manhattan doesn't even have a major antagonist, with Kermit getting amnesia the problem that the climax hinges upon. Other human characters are there for the Muppets to play off of and/or to provide cameos for name performers. Muppets Most Wanted takes a similar tack, but takes it even further: not only is the primary human character (Dominic Badguy) a villain, he's not even the main villain.
The title character of the live action Yogi Bear film takes a backseat to Ranger Smith, of all people. Yogi and Boo-Boo are all but reduced to walking, talking plot devices, while most of the story focuses on Smith's efforts to save Jellystone Park from being demolished and turned into farmland. At least here the human was actually in the series.
While the original Curious George stories were about a fun-loving monkey getting into stuff, the 2006 movie was more about Ted Shackleford's life, love, dreams, and career. Case in point, up until this adaptation George's human friend didn't even have a name, and was only known as "The Man in the Yellow Hat".
A fully animated example is the Tom and Jerry: The Movie, whose title characters take a backseat to a little orphan girl, in a plot that seems like they were trying to remake The Rescuers as a musical with Tom and Jerry thrown in as an afterthought. Averted with the Direct-to-Video Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz where they and other MGM animated characters are Off to See the Wizard.
In most episodes of Clifford the Big Red Dog, where Clifford only serves as a supporting character and the other characters such as Emily Elizabeth, T-Bone, Cleo, Max, and Emily's friends get more episodes about them and not so much on poor Clifford, who ends up as a secondary character or an extra. I have no idea how that got past Norman Birdwell. Even in the books, Emily serves as the narrator and Clifford as a supporting character as well, as if Clifford is her son. The upcoming live-action film, will probably focus on Emily more than Clifford as well. To make matters worse, Clifford most likely won't talk due to John Ritter's death, no one can do Clifford as well as Ritter either.