3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst is exactly what it sounds like – 3 of the best examples of either an actor, film series, genre, etc. versus 3 of the worst. It’s also an opportunity for you to have your say on my choices and whether you would have placed something ahead of my best or my worst. This week…. Films based on TV shows!
After seeing the trailer for The Alan Partridge movie this week, it got me thinking about other films that were originally tv shows. I made my views on this clear earlier in the week but I thought I’d make this week slightly TV to Film themed. This covers both movie reboots of tv shows and films that are designed to carry-on a tv show. So here we go…
3 of the Best
3 – Borat
Borat originally appeared on the Ali G show as a foreign reporter experiencing British, and later US, culture. It was a very funny addition to the show but nothing more than a different way of doing the same joke, fooling unsuspecting politicians, representatives and members of the general public. Sacha Baron Cohen did a great job of transferring this character to the big screen, fleshing out the same format with a very thin but funny story. It was still Borat highlighting ignorance, bigotry and the hilarious viewpoints of unsuspecting members of the American public but it was on a very grand, very funny scale, just like a film version of a tv show should be.
2 – South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
When I first saw this film I was in the midst of my love for South Park. They released this movie at the height of the shows popularity but it didn’t feel like a cheap tie-in. It had amazing songs, hilarious cameos and a fantastic story, topped off with actually hearing our four main characters swearing! Saying proper swear words! It was a great example of how to build on a shows popularity with a movie and felt like an event, not just an extended version of the weekly show.
1 – Star Trek
I love a lot of the Star Trek films. I side much more with The Next Generation spin-offs and First Contact is up there as one of the best Star Trek movies. J.J. Abrams reboot of the original series managed to blow every other Star Trek film (and a lot of other Science Fiction films) out of the water! It feels like Star Trek without having the much slower pace of the original series. The cast is fantastic, the story is great, the action is incredible and feels like a true Science Fiction ride from start to finish. You have great links with the original series without feeling too attached to Shatner and Nimoy.
3 of the Worst
3 – Ali G Indahouse
Everything that made Borat a successful character was done originally with Ali G. He was part of the same joke, playing off the ignorance or gullibility of a public official. At no point was the character a sitcom star, with a back-story that needed developing and exploring. It’s a good idea in general but does not warrant a very silly, slapstick and immature mess of a movie. This did appeal to me when I was a fifteen year old, but watching it back now, it’s far too removed from what made Ali G such a funny character in the first place. I think you can link this directly with the direction Cohen took with Borat, which is at least one positive.
2 – Miami Vice
This one is in here more on potential and disappointment than being a truly bad film. I have seen the odd episode of Miami Vice. There is enough there to make a decent film and when you have Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx playing your title characters, while being directed by Michael Mann, the potential for a fantastic cop thriller, based around the world of Vice was too good to ignore. Unfortunately it became a slow-paced, muddled mess of a film that tried to be too clever for its own good. It was a movie that forgot its simple eighties roots and tried to recreate Heat rather than pave a new, more interesting path.
1 – Thunderbirds
This actually angers me. I love Thunderbirds. It’s a kids show with epic scale and the feel of a proper drama. It has tension, peril, well-rounded characters and a real sense of depth. It’s also a ridiculous amount of fun. It has the characters of the Tracys and the characters of the ships they pilot. It didn’t need to reduce those characters, even the actual Thunderbirds, to cameos in their own film. It became a pure kids film, with very little recognition or relevance to the original show. Of all the shows I saw as a kid, Thunderbirds is one I would love to see done “properly” on the big screen. Unfortunately, we are left with this very muddled, unThunderbirds-Thunderbirds film.
Overall, this shows that when TV shows are transferred badly, it creates a very bad film. How bad Thunderbirds is actually outdoes how good Star Trek is. I would much rather see a live-action, faithful version of Thunderbirds than a new Star Trek sequel. Looking through a list of TV show to film adaptations, the list is full of a lot of poor films rather than good ones. I just hope Alan Partridge can put himself in the “Best of” section.