In honour of the release of Power Rangers last week I am celebrating films that have been based on previously released TV Shows. That could include any film that was a sequel to, a spin off from, or a reboot of a TV show.
10) The Simpsons Movie – The long running animated show is now way past it’s hay day, but they are still creating entertaining content, such as the film adaptation in 2007. Probably most memorable for the Spider Pig song, but full of a whole host of hilarious jokes, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as the President of the US who was “elected to lead not to read”. The film does what The Simpsons does best, Homer trying to make amends to his family, in this case particularly with Bart. Homer and Bart have always had a strained relationship in the show, with Homer frequently strangling his son, and the film delivers one of the best Homer and Bart storylines ever.
9) Shaun The Sheep Movie – A clay animation film without dialogue, its something that sounds like it shouldn’t work in a full feature film. But never count out Nick Park and Aardman Animations. Shaun the Sheep was a popular CBBC show spun off from A Close Shave, and the episodes were all less than 10 minutes. So to successfully extend it to a full-length film was a huge achievement. Shaun the Sheep Movie delivers funny physical comedy, a good story, and a real emotional ending. It’s not Aardman’s best film, but it is an absolute delight.
8) Wayne’s World – A film adapted from a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World is also the film that launched Mike Myers’ film career. It features a host of talented comedians, but its Myers and Dana Carvey who are the stars as Wayne and Garth. There are so many great moments in the film including the absolutely iconic Bohemian Rhapsody scene, Wayne and Garth declaring themselves not worthy to meet Alice Cooper, and the ending where the characters are unsatisfied with how it turns out so they change it. Party on Wayne. Party on Garth.
7) Pokémon: The First Movie – Ok so Pokémon: The First Movie isn’t good, but it is a huge part of my childhood so it’s getting a place on this list. I was a big fan of the anime at the time this film came out, and I’m still a huge fan of the game series. Getting to see Mewtwo and Mew in the anime for the first time was an awesome experience for a 4 or 5 year old, and to see them really deliver on Mewtwo’s power was mind blowing. There are also some great lessons from the film, with quotes like “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are”.
6) Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol – It took a few films to get the formula really right with Mission Impossible. The third installment is pretty good. It’s Brad Bird’s entry Ghost Protocol, and its follow up Rogue Nation, that established what the franchise is today. Ghost Protocol delivers huge action set pieces, brilliant stunt work, and more additions to the great supporting cast. The scene where Tom Cruise had to scale the Burj Khalifa really gets the adrenaline going, and is such a spectacular sequence. The addition of Jeremy Renner brought a great new character to the team, and brought something different to Cruise and Pegg. Ghost Protocol is still my favourite film in the MI franchise, and I can’t wait to see where they go in future films.
5) 21 Jump Street – I may have never see the Jump Street TV show, but the resurrected films are hysterical. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have made two great films that work as buddy cop comedies, ridiculous high school films, and satire on the film industry itself. The first Jump Street introduced us to Jonah Hill as Schmidt and Channing Tatum as Jenko. Before this who knew that Channing Tatum was such a hilarious actor, but he matches Hill, and is just as funny. The scene where both Schmidt and Jenko are tripping on the drugs is one of the single funniest things I’ve ever watched. Oh and there’s a great nod to the original series with Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise appearing in cameos.
4) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Easily the pinnacle of the four films from the Star Trek Universe that I’ve seen, as well as the installment that most people agree to be the best. Essentially Moby Dick in space, the film features William Shatner’s Admiral Kirk, and all the original crew, in his struggle against Ricardo Montalbán’s Khan Noonien Singh. Bringing back Khan, a one off character from Star Trek: The Original Series, was a great move from director Nicholas Meyer and writer Jack B. Sowards, as he still stands out as one of the greatest Star Trek villains. This also features Shatner at his best as an actor, although there is still that cheesy scream of “KHAAAAAAAN” to those who love over the top Shatner. This is a much better telling of the story than 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
3) Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – A spin off from a segment of Da Ali G Show, Borat is Sasha Baron Cohen at his best. Whilst Ali G Indahouse and Bruno are really bad Borat is a work of absolute genius. The fact that the majority of the film is completely unscripted, or at least featuring people who don’t know that Borat is a character, it creates some of the most hilariously awkward moments that have ever been put to screen. Featuring so many classic comedy moments, that are still quoted by people to this day, Borat is a movie that can almost always be rewatched, and set a bar that Baron Cohen is still trying to reach again to this day.
2) Serenity – Joss Whedon’s Firefly is one of the best 1-season wonders ever on TV. It’s a shame that Fox didn’t realise the brilliance of what they had, and cut it before it’s time. But thankfully we still had the 2005 film to give us a proper send off. Serenity properly finishes off River Tam’s story line, and gives us a nice ending for all the characters. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s The Operative is a much-underrated villain, someone so truly dedicated to a cause that he won’t be able to benefit from. It’s a film that very much for the fans of the TV show, and is slightly less accessible to those who haven’t seen Firefly before, but it’s a great send off to one of the best Sci-Fi worlds ever created.
1) South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut – It was a tough choice between my top 2 picks, but in the end I’ve gone for South Park as my number 1. This is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, from brilliantly thought out satire, to a kid getting his heart replaced by a potato, to some brilliant parody songs, this is still one of South Park’s crowning achievements. With classic comedy songs such as Uncle F***a, Blame Canada, What Would Brian Boitano Do?, and Kyle’s Mom’s A B****, as well as hilarious plot that involves Terrence and Philip being executed to allow Satan and Saddam Hussein to come to earth. It’s ridiculous, and brilliant. A worthy number one on this list.