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10 Awesome Animated Big Screen TV Spin-Offs

The small screen just wasn't big enough for some of animation's biggest stars. Today, we're taking a look of the best movie spin-offs from animated TV shows. As always with this particular type of list, keep in mind- this isn't a top ten, and it's in no particular order. There's plenty of great films left off the list, and we may come back to the subject one day!

What are your favourite movie spin-offs of TV shows? Is your favourite on our list? Let us know in the comments below, or via our social media channels!



The Simpsons Movie (2007)

There are two widely acknowledged facts about The Simpsons: 1) That at its peak, it was one of the best television series of all time and 2) it's not nearly as good anymore. Opinions vary on whether it's just not quite as good or now actually bad, but the long overdue big screen outing saw many of the original creative team return to the fold. The result is a film that while it may not be Animation's First Family's finest hour still has many memorable moments, and gave us the iconic Spider Pig. It seems that audiences agreed as it was a big hit in both the US and UK, and went on to gross more than $500 million worldwide. 



South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)


Just a few years into Trey Parker and Matt Stone's cult adult animated comedy's reign came its first (and to date only) theatrical outing- and most would agree its finest hour. Matt and Trey took advantage of the more relaxed standards of cinema releases to let loose, with a film full of bad language, adult jokes and "too far for TV" stuff. In fact, in an inspired move, the swearing actually is crucial to the plot, with a storyline that neatly skewers the "moral panic" that surrounded the show itself at the time. It also functions as a parody of Disney musicals, featuring some of the catchiest funniest foul-mouthed songs ever to make it to the screen. Satan's lament Up There is a particularly pitch-perfect riff on the music from Disney's Renaissance era.




Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001)

Viewers of the classic 1998 TV anime Cowboy Bebop are well aware why there was not a second season of the show (BANG! *sniff*). The movie outing, which is set somewhere in the timeline before the final two episodes, offered us a chance to spend some more precious time with Spike, Jet, Faye and all the characters we love. Released in Japan as Knocking On Heaven's Door,  it features Spike and the Bebop crew going up against a terrorist who is plotting on attacking Mars. Thanks to the theatrical budget, Cowboy Bebop has never looked better, and it allows the fantastic world building to reach new heights. And of course, it would not be Bebop without Genius composer Yoko Kanno. who provided another album of instant classics for the film.


Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of The Gods/ Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F

There were dozens of movie spin-offs during the 1990's original run of Dragon Ball Z, but they were mostly the cheaply produced filler that makes up most movie outings of long-running anime. The franchise made an unexpected comeback, however, some 18 years after the last movie outing. The difference here is that these new movies were overseen by original creator Akira Toriyama, who provides storylines and new characters, resulting in some movies that capture the spirit of the original series. With kick-ass action, and some highly entertaining sitcom style character antics, the movies proved so popular they led the franchise to return to TV as well, with the launch of Dragon Ball Super.

The Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Never mind Michael Bay, this is the definitive big screen outing for the Robots In Disguise. For the movie, the Transformers got a step-up both in animation quality and in terms of star power, as original voice actors like Peter Cullen and Frank Welker were joined by the likes of Leonard Nemoy, Eric Idle and (in his final role) Orson Wells. It's hard to say what the movie is most remembered for- the none-more-80s soundtrack, or for traumatising a generation of children by (spoilers) killing off Optimus Prime.


DuckTales The Movie: Treasure Of The Lost Lamp (1990)

As the original DuckTales series came to an end, Scrooge McDuck headed for the big screen alongside Huey, Dewey and Louie. As was befitting the adventurous tone of the series, the movie was an Indiana Jones style romp, that saw them encountering a friendly young genie when they uncover the lamp of the title. It was originally the plan to make more movies, but they were scrapped as the box-office was underwhelming. This would be the last we'd see of Scrooge and company. until this year's reboot.




The End Of Evangelion (1997)

Japanese audiences of 1995 loved Hideaki Anno's magnum opus Neon Genesis Evangelion: but they hated its ending. So much so than Anno infamously received death threats. Following the huge success of the TV show,  Anno and GAINAX released a pair of theatrical outings in 1997. Death and Rebirth was an artfully made recap of the events of the series. End of Evangelion, however, was an alternative retelling of the final two episodes of the TV series. "OH, you want an ending?", Anno seemed to say. "I'll GIVE you an ending!". The result is an incredibly tense, disturbing culmination of the series, offering something very different to (but just as ambiguous as) Anno's original thoughtful, introspective TV climax. And as you find out the fate of favourite characters, you won't be able to look away. Of course, it didn't prove to be the end of the franchise itself, as Anno returned in 2007 with the first part of the standalone Renewal Of Evangelion series.


Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996)

On TV, Mike Judge's sniggering, dim-witted teenagers rarely left the sofa. This didn't exactly make them the obvious candidate for a road movie, but that's exactly what we got. What on earth would be enough to make Beavis and Butthead leave their living room? Somebody stole their TV, of course! Featuring the (then) Hollywood power couple Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and a very cool soundtrack featuring the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, this is about as 90s as you can get.


Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)

The feature length spin-off from the beloved Batman: The Animated Series, sees the voice cast and much of the creative team carried over from the TV original, including original creator Bruce Timm who co-directed with Eric Radomski. The titular Phantasm is an original creation, a shadowy vigilante who is bumping off Gotham crime bosses. Originally intended to be released direct-to-video, it was upgraded to a theatrical release at the last minute. Although it was a flop on initial release, it has since built up a following and is widely held to be one of Batman's finest films, animated or otherwise.


Shaun The Sheep: The Movie (2015)

How do you turn a seven-minute stop-motion series into a feature length film? Somehow, Aardman Animation managed just that, with a simple story that saw Shaun leave his farm for life in the big city to rescue his farmer. Made without a single word of spoken dialogue, this is a masterclass in animated storytelling.  It ended up taking in over $100 million worldwide and winning 49 awards nominations, including a nod for Best Animated Feature at the 2016 Oscars. A sequel is currently in production.

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