Alvin has done it. The Flintstones and Simpsons have done it. Now, Top Cat is doing it.
When news of an upcoming film based on an animated television series crops up, it tends to raise eyebrows and in some cases, general uproar.
What with “TC” coming onto our cinema screens in the not-too-distant future, it got me thinking: which series would I like to see on the big screen?
When looking at the animated offerings from the mid-80s to late 90s, most cartoon series were already based on films (Men in Black, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters)…or they are Japanese (FYI, I have nothing against anime, but after the catastrophe that is the Dragonball Z film and the cancelled live action Akira remake, it’s a sign to leave it the fuck alone).
Here are the ones that stood out the most:
Tiny Toon Adventures
This collaborative effort from Warner Bros and legend Steven Spielburg graced the UK screens in the early nineties, and featured the second generation of Looney Tunes characters alongside the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. I thought it was hilarious and it had the best theme tune. Ever.
If ever there was a cartoon about boys and their toys, it would be this one. Syndicated in 1985 with Marvel legend Jack Kirby contributing to the concept, you have three men who had special suits and had special weapons beamed down from a special space station. Ridiculous it may sound, but if they can pull this off for GI Joe – why not the Centurions? Besides, when was the last time you watched a decent battle scene involving cyborgs and space weapons?
Defenders of the Earth
An animated series based on King Features Syndicate comic strips, the series focused on a team featuring Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, who fought against Ming the Merciless in the year 2015.
The show only lasted one series (with a whopping 65 episodes!) and only Flash Gordon and the Phantom have graced the big screen. Surely there’s enough room for another film based on a troupe of comic book heroes, right?
The Trap Door
There are so many possibilities with a feature length adaptation of this cult classic. What’s not to love – you have the spooky castle, the unseen master with the voice of Vincent Price (Benedict Cumberbatch can step up!), the dutiful and loveable servant, the titular trap door and a catalogue of monsters and unique creations at your fingertips. The result could be 90 minutes of nostalgic heaven.
My only concern is that it took five years for Wallace and Gromit to have their own film. Something like this could take much longer – by the time it gets the go-ahead, it would have to be made using 3D computer animation. This in effect would strip it of 60% of its charm.
The adventures of a misfit comic book superhero and his faithful but socially awkward sidekick were compulsive viewing to anyone who had FOX Kids on their TV. The eponymous Tick became such a cult figure the show evolved into a live action series starring Patrick Warburton (Family Guy‘s Joe Swanson).
Even though it gained critical acclaim, its success was short lived when it was prematurely cancelled by FOX (hmmm, sounds like what happened with another great show…). The Tick can work as live action or animated and will prove that comic book heroes are not so serious all the time.
The Muppet Babies
Considering the success of the Muppet Movie, why the hell not?
Plus they are so darn cute.
Mysterious Cities of Gold
This French-Japanese series was one that made its way to the UK with its compulsive-watching plot and its windpipe theme tune (before that instrument got annoying). Word is that a live action film for this is coming soon and keep your eyes peeled!
This came out when animated series started to get almost too technical to be considered nostalgic. I have mainly put in here because if it included Mandarin, it could have been like Firefly (aka the show that was cancelled way too soon by FOX).