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Little girl, BIG ADVENTURE.
This trope refers to the unusual habit of movies based on TV shows
casting the main characters as heroes trying to save something, despite
whether or not anything remotely similar happens in the show itself. This can be as big as the world or as small as recess, just so long as it is made "epic". Oddly, often seems to involve neighborhoods being torn down to build shopping malls.
Due to the fact that nearly all movie adaptations use this trope to some degree (after all, it's hard to keep up an epic tone across a 13-52 episode season), examples shall be limited to things that involve a change in dynamic.
Can sometimes overlap with Summer Blockbuster
, but is generally distinct from an Epic Movie
, which is inherently epic
to begin with. Compare Sequel Escalation
, a similar phenomenon.
Examples of films adapted from:
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Anime & Manga
- It looks like the Axis Powers Hetalia movie is going this way, with there being the world being in danger.
- The Golgo 13 manga had Duke Togo traveling the world and working for and against the world's superpower nations while changing the course of history. Still, the original movie (The Professional) had the father of one of his targets angry and powerful enough to send the combined forces of Eagleland - the FBI, the CIA, the U.S. Military, and a Carnival of Killers - against the lone wolf Anti-Hero.
- The first Lupin III movie (The Mystery of Mamo) had its Big Bad playing above the Lupin gang's usual weight class. ICBMs were involved.
- The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (based on the book of the same name) Has Kyon hopping through time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong when someone re-writes the world.
- Not to say Pokémon isn't action packed but the movies tend to be more dramatic, the battles more actiony, and there always seems to be some sort of big dilemma involving the fate of the world.
- You're Under Arrest! is a goofy anime about a couple of cops. It has its action scenes, and its drama, but it isn't as dramatic as other Lovely Angels series. The Movie is dark, action packed, and deals with terrorists.
- Crayon Shin Chan is a slice-of-life anime about a Wise Beyond Their Years boy and his family and friends. Every movie is about said boy and his friends and family saving their town, country or even the world.
- The Moomins is about weird creatures of Finnish imagination having cute (albeit scary) adventures in Ghibli Hills. The movie is about End of the World as We Know It.
- Doraemon LOVES this trope. The regular manga and TV series involves just the mundane daily life of the protagonist, his robotic cat, and his other elementary school friends in suburban Tokyo. However, the series' movies will always be huge epic adventure stories (often set in elaborate sci-fi/mythological/high fantasy locations) and the main characters are inevitably portrayed as the brave action heroes.
- Long before the series itself underwent Cerebus Syndrome, Ranma ˝ was a series that mainly concentrated on the wacky martial-arts hijinx Ranma and company got into. The first movie has Akane getting kidnapped by a mystical Chinese fighter and leaving the rest of the cast going an an epic journey halfway across the country trying to rescue her.
- Mystery series Detective Conan can often have action chase scenes, but they're always of a much smaller scale. The films are more akin to action-packed adventure summer blockbusters like Die Hard: Not only is there still the Victim of the Week, but in solving the movie cases Conan generally has to get through giant set pieces that in turn yield several amounts of property damage and enough explosions that would make Michael Bay proud.
- Not even Cowboy Bebop could ignore this trope. The tv series primarily focused on the five main characters just trying to earn enough to get by. The movie has the Bebop crew fighting to stop a bio-terrorist from annihilating all of Mars.
Live Action TV
- The 2012 feature film of The Three Stooges puts the titular trio on a quest to save an orphanage from demolition.
- The Hey Arnold! movie. The show itself never features any of the characters saving anything other than their treehouse and usually deals with problems faced by individual characters. And yet when the movie rolls around, suddenly everything needs to be "bigger" note .
- Animaniacs had Wakko's Wish. The movie itself isn't as "epic" as most Big Damn Movies, but it definitely qualifies for this trope by the standards of Animaniacs. It's a sort of Elseworlds set in an indefinite vaguely European time period, where the Warners are poor young orphans in a small village called Acme Falls; it's the only time all the show's normally segregated segments come together. Wakko accidentally wishes on the one star in the sky that grants wishes and it falls to Earth, leading to a massive race between the characters to reach the Wishing Star first.
- The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie has the main characters trying to save their city from an evil exercise machine. They
fail get sidetracked.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, where the main characters have to save Terrance and Phillip and, eventually, the world...with musical numbers!
- Transformers: The Movie took a show where the villains would mostly steal energy sources in order to Take Over the World into a galaxy-spanning epic involving the deaths of virtually the entire main cast of the previous series and the protagonists facing a powerful entity intent on wiping them out entirely. This has since rolled back into the franchise, and now "save the universe and everything in it" is a rather common Transformers series plot.
- The Recess movie, Recess: School's Out where the main characters have to save summer vacation from perpetual winter.
- Double subverted in Beavis And Butthead Do America. It starts off with a Godzilla-esque giant monster fight between the boys that turns out to be All Just a Dream. The two then set out to try and find their stolen TV...and end up getting massively sidetracked into a plot involving a biological weapon that takes them all over America.
- The first live-action Flintstones film has ambition, loyalty, betrayal, corporate intrigue, and a climactic battle upon an elaborate makeshift Death Trap. An average episode of the TV series is basically just Wacky Hijinks.
- A Man Called Flintstone: The animated movie had Fred turn out to be the exact look-alike of a secret agent who was hung up in the hospital and thus couldn't go back to work. Fred is immediately made into a secret agent himself, and must stop the Big Bad and two Moles from blowing up an entire city—oh, and fix his relationship with Wilma. And it was a musical.
- Subverted in terms of themes with Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show. The trio don't become heroes, but it played like a standard episode on a grand scale. Again, one of the Eds' scams fails miserably. We never learn what the scam was, but we see that it injured the other kids greatly. This leads to the Eds having to escape the cul-de-sac via a car chase. Eventually, every character in the series is trekking the countryside, all with the destination of Eddy's Brother's house. And the fact that we actually SEE his brother, who has been The Ghost all this time, makes the movie even bigger.
- Also lampshaded with a "In Case of Movie, Break Glass" case, containing a single peanut with a car key inside.
- The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie was much more epic than the show. While most episodes of the show were (and still are) basically about anything and didn't take themselves very seriously at all, the movie involves SpongeBob and Patrick going on an adventure to retrieve King Neptune's stolen crown and, while generally lighthearted, still has some very dramatic moments and unconventional moments.
- Plankton finally stole the krabby patty recipe and the consequences of it were worse than merely driving the Krusty Krab out of business.
- The Simpsons Movie involves the family attempting to save Springfield from destruction, by the E.P.A.
- Rugrats is about a bunch of babies and everyday life through their perspective. The Rugrats Movie is about the same babies being stranded in the forest with a robot dinosaur car and their ringleader's new baby brother. Then they did it again with Rugrats in Paris, which involves the babies hijacking a Humongous Mecha to stop one kid's dad from marrying a manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and again with Rugrats Go Wild!, a Cross Over with The Wild Thornberrys that sees the kids and their families stranded on an island.
- Pretty much any one of The Fairly OddParents movies.
- Hey There Its Yogi Bear! sees Yogi and Boo-Boo moved to the San Diego Zoo and Cindy getting kidnapped by the circus. The film reaches its climax at a construction site.
- The new live action Yogi Bear adaptation also falls into this, as Yogi and Boo Boo will have to team up with Ranger Smith to prevent Jellystone Park from being closed for good.
- Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension: Phineas and Ferb finally find out that Perry is a secret agent, and go into an Alternate Dimension where a more evil version of Dr. Doofenshmirtz rules. And there are lots of killer robots. All the characters have alternate selves who (except for the title characters) are part of La Résistance. In the TV show, they're usually enjoying the summer making cool contraptions in their backyard. However, this was definitely an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, as the fandom rejoiced both before and after the film premiered.
- Pingu: The Wedding Episode, where Pingu and his family attend a best friend's wedding. There is a lot of mischief and havoc in this, but at least the ending is happy.
- Ben 10: While the series is all about the Tennyson's adventures on Earth, Ben 10 Secret Of The Omnitrix is all on a galactic scale. Much like the Transformers example, saving the galaxy became a regular thing as well.
- The 1990 movie of The Jetsons repurposes Mr. Spacely into a Corrupt Corporate Executive trying to mine an asteroid inhabited by cute aliens. He's given a mild redemption at the end, at least. There are also some '80s musical numbers.
- An earlier (made for TV) movie, Rocking With Judy Jetson, had the family (primarily Judy, who is given musical aspirations) caught up in a scheme by an alien overlord to remove all music from the universe.
- Teacher's Pet was about a talking, thinking dog who disguised himself as a boy so he could go to school. The movie was about said dog and his owner having a summer adventure in Florida where Spot (the dog) sees about becoming a human permanently, though he ultimately decides he'd rather be a dog.
- The Proud Family movie (which also served as the Grand Finale) involved the titular family getting lured to an island by a Mad Scientist trying to steal Oscar's Proud Snacks recipe, peanut-shaped clones, and a concert at the end featuring Penny and her friends. The TV series did have some bizarre episodes, but nothing as extreme as saving the world from evil clones.
- The original Grand Finale of Kim Possible could count as this as not only did the world come second closest to ending (this was overtaken by the events of the second finale), but it ended with a Relationship Upgrade that a lot of fans had been wanting to see.
- Felix the Cat: The Movie has Felix traveling to Another Dimension called Oriana. There he must help a Princess reclaim her kingdom, escape a Circus of Fear and defeat an Evil Overlord with help from his friends and his Magic Bag Of Tricks.
- Thomas the Tank Engine is a TV series about a group of talking steam engines. The Movie, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, features a truly villanious diesel engine, who made a magical steam engine crash For the Evulz, and a Save Both Worlds plot. It was originally supposed to be even more epic, but Executive Meddling changed all that.
- 1993’s The Ottifants were Germany’s failed attempt at creating their own animated sitcom ŕ la The Simpsons. Most episodes of its only season had fairly mundane Random Events Plots that were adapted from the newspaper comic it was based on. Then, in 2001, eight years after the show aired, they hit us over the head with an (also unsuccessful) movie in which Paul, Grampa, and Baby Bruno go on an epic quest to find Störtebeker’s treasure to replace the donations Paul accidentally lost betting on pigs in order to save his job and the hospital the donations were for, all the while being hunted by gangster who want to find the treasure first.
- The Magic Roundabout the series: Five minutes of funny and mildly surreal dialogue. The Magic Roundabout Movie: Zebadee's Evil Twin is released from his prison under the Roundabout, and the characters must prevent him from creating a new Ice Age.
- The Powerpuff Girls Movie was first conceived to have all the main villains on the show battle over who would take over Townsville, but creator Craig McCracken found it left little screentime for the girls. He eventually pitched the movie as an origin story for the girls (based on the show's usual opening and in part on the episode "Mr. Mojo's Rising") with the main plot of them unwittingly helping Mojo Jojo set the table in creating a race of supermonkeys.
- The '80s Alvin and the Chipmunks has The Chipmunk Adventure.
- In the movie ˇMucha Lucha!: The Return Of El Malefico, Rikochet, Buena Girl and The Flea who are The Chosen One must prevent El Malefico from taking over the world.
- Several of the Scooby-Doo movies come to mind.
- Averted by DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Uncle Scrooge and the kids find a magic lamp with a genie in it, but that's barely impressive by the already outlandish standards of the TV show - which, in addition to its famous "racecars, lasers, [and] aeroplanes", also treated viewers to battles with powerful witches and such.
- While a few Futurama episodes threaten to destroy the universe (For instance, The Farnsworth Parabox and Time Keeps on Slippin') the movies usually have more at stake.
- Sort of averted by My Little Pony Equestria Girls. In a series that's already featured many high adventure episodes and multiple highly competent and dangerous villains, chasing a jealous former student of Princess Celestia's into a High School AU to retrieve a stolen crown is rather tame in comparison. Even if said jealous former student transforms into a demon for the climax.
- The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie has "Mumfie's Quest", where the characters try to save The Queen Of Night's island. Even though it first aired as separate episodes, the other episodes try to pretend it didn't happen at all!
- The 2014 Postman Pat movie involves Pat retiring to pursue a singing career and having his duties carried out by robot copies of himself. No bonus points for guessing where this is going.