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[[quoteright:250:[[WesternAnimation/HeyArnold http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_hujskrw.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Because when you think ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', you think 'tactical espionage againt corrupt corporations'...]]

This trope refers to the habit of [[TheMovie movies based on TV shows]] casting the main characters as being involved in a dramatic plot, ''particularly'' when nothing remotely similar happens in the series itself. This can be as big as the world or as small as recess, just so long as it is made "epic". Oddly enough, 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 large change in dynamic.

Can sometimes overlap with SummerBlockbuster, but is distinct from an EpicMovie, which is inherently [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin epic]] to begin with. SequelEscalation is a similar phenomenon.

!!Examples of films adapted from:


* ''Film/ErnestGoesToCamp'': a character originally created as a goofy commercial spokesman has to save the summer camp from -- you guessed it -- a CorruptCorporateExecutive.
** ''Film/ErnestScaredStupid'' repeats the concept, where Ernest must save his town or the world from an evil troll.
** In ''Film/ErnestGoesToJail'' Ernest has to save the bank he works at and his friends from a robber who looks like him.
** And ''Film/ErnestSavesChristmas'' where Ernest has to, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well]], [[SavingChristmas save Christmas]].
* Spoofed with an ad often seen in theatres which appears to depict the ''Advertising/MAndMs'' characters in a [[RealTrailerFakeMovie movie trailer]] for a Big Damn Movie involving espionage, acrobatics, and bomb diffusion. Then someone's cell phone goes off, revealing the trailer to actually be a NoTalkingOrPhonesWarning. Red storms away in disgust at the realization that there's not really going to be a movie.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The ''Manga/Golgo13'' manga had Duke Togo traveling the world and working for and against the world's superpower nations while [[HistoricalInJoke 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 CarnivalOfKillers -- against the lone wolf AntiHero.
* ''Anime/LupinIII'':
** The first ''Lupin III'' movie (''Anime/TheMysteryOfMamo'') had its BigBad playing above the Lupin gang's usual weight class. [=ICBMs=] were involved.
** ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'' has WordOfGod from Miyazaki that it is the AdaptationDistillation of all of his ''Lupin III'' ideas that he has been using for the first series (and the two episodes from the second series).
* ''The Disappearance of LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' (based on the book of the same name) Has Kyon hopping through time to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong when someone re-writes the world.
* Not to say ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' isn't action packed but [[TheMovie the movies]] tend to be more dramatic, the battles more [[BuffySpeak actiony]], and there always seems to be some sort of big dilemma involving the fate of the world.
* ''Manga/YoureUnderArrest'' 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 LovelyAngels series. TheMovie is dark, action packed, and deals with ''terrorists''.
* ''Manga/CrayonShinChan'' is a slice-of-life anime about a WiseBeyondTheirYears 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.
* ''Literature/TheMoomins'' is about weird creatures of Finnish imagination having cute (albeit scary) adventures in GhibliHills. The movie is about EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* ''Anime/{{Doraemon}}'' LOVES this trope. The regular manga and TV series involves just the mundane daily life of the protagonist, his [[RobotBuddy 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 [[TookALevelInBadass brave action heroes]].
* Long before the series itself underwent CerebusSyndrome, ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' 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 ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' 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 ''Film/DieHard'': Not only is there still the VictimOfTheWeek, 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 Creator/MichaelBay proud.
* Not even ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' could ignore this trope. While it was already action-packed, the tv series primarily focused on the five main characters just trying to earn enough to get by. The movie ups the stakes considerably as it has the Bebop crew fighting to stop a bio-terrorist from annihilating all of Mars.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': Even though the Straw Hats do usually end up having to save entire nations and islands in the main series, a few of the movies still follow this trope. In ''[[Anime/OnePieceFilmStrongWorld Strong World]]'' the entire East Blue is a stake, and in ''[[Anime/OnePieceFilmZ Z]]'' the VillainAntagonist plans to [[spoiler: completely destroy the New World and everyone in it]]. The marketing reflected this: [[DistinctionWithoutADifference these two were titled 'One Piece Film', whereas the others used 'One Piece The Movie']].
** The rest of the [[NonSerialMovie non-serial movies]] avert this somewhat, as the stakes and power of the villains are considerably lower than what most of the manga's story arcs build to.
* Zigzagged with the ''Anime/SailorMoon'' movies. While the stakes aren't any higher than the show, the plots are more epic, minor characters like Tuxedo, Luna and Chibi-Usa get ADayInTheLimelight, and the villains aren't from the manga (although Creator/NaokoTakieuchi did [[GodCreatedCanonForeigner develop them]].
* ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'' is even bigger than the previous movies, since it's meant to re-conclusively end the manga/anime's story.
* The first ''Anime/YokaiWatch'' movie played things a bit more serious, similar to the tie-in episodes of the series but also adding something it lacked that the video games had: A BigBad who threatened the safety of both worlds.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* There are no less then ''[[UpToEleven seven]]'' [[ScriptFic fanfic]] ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' films -- two trilogies made by two authors (who are friends), with a final TrilogyCreep movie tying them together (and starting Fanfic/{{the Calvinverse}}). Each one is an ActionizedSequel to the original strip.
** Swing123's trilogy includes ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheMovie'', ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIILostAtSea'', and ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIIIDoubleTrouble''.
** garfieldodie's trilogy includes ''Fanfic/CanYouImagineThat'', ''Fanfic/AttackOfTheTeacherCreature'', and ''Fanfic/TroubleIsland''.
** Finally, there's the CrossOver ''Fanfic/RetroChill''.
** A lot of RecursiveFanfiction takes this format, like ''Fanfic/ThePezDispenserAndTheReignOfTerror''
* The movie version of ''{{ComicStrip/Garfield}}'' has Garfield going into the city to save Odie from a mean TV show host. The sequel has him traveling to England and [[PrinceAndPauper switching places with a pampered cat who looks like him.]]
** Some of GarfieldSpecials are a bit more dramatic than the comic strip. For example, "Here Comes Garfield" has Garfield saving Odie from the pound, "Garfield on the Town" has Garfield reuniting with his family in the alleys, and "Garfield in the Rough" has Garfield fighting a ''panther''. And then there's ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives''.
* ''The Ottifants'' is a German newspaper comic that got a ShortRunner TV series in the 90's, which itself was adapted into a Big Damn Movie in the early 2000's.

* The 1986 HipHop documentary ''Film/BigFunInTheBigTown'' mentions the word [[BiggerIsBetter "big" twice in its title]]. The big fun implied here are the HipHop acts. The big town is UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity. Seeing that this documentary was made by Dutch-Belgian people it makes sense that to them the city is "big".

* The ''Literature/PaddingtonBear'' books are about Paddington comically misunderstanding everyday situations and muddling through regardless (although sometimes he has to give someone a Hard Stare). ''Film/{{Paddington}}'' is an OriginStory that also has him being pursued by a CruellaToAnimals taxidermist. ''Film/Paddington2'' is somewhere in the middle - where it's more SliceOfLife but has a more action-packed climax.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Completely averted in the film version of ''Film/OurMissBrooks''. [[TheMovie The movie]] has Connie Brooks pursue her [[SeriesGoal series goal]] of getting [[LoveInterest love interest]] Philip Boynton to propose. [[spoiler:They finally get married at the end of the movie, and live HappilyEverAfter]].
* The TropeNamer by way of FanNickname is ''Film/{{Serenity}}''. In the series, the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' team is mostly sailing around TheVerse trying to make ends meet and keep out of the Alliance's hands; they aren't setting out to be BigDamnHeroes. Come TheMovie, it's time to get off their duffs and BringNewsBack about the Alliance's biggest screwup yet, while being chased by a superhumanly-dangerous Operative. The series may have been meant to eventually build up to such large actions, but its early cancellation meant that it had to be wrapped up all at once.
** WordOfGod has it that the second season was planned to conclude with what happens about 3/4 of the way through the film (i.e. the discovery of [[spoiler:the planet Miranda]])
* ''Film/TheBradyBunchMovie'' has Series/TheBradyBunch save their home (and, by extension, their neighborhood) from a CorruptCorporateExecutive that wants to convert the area into a shopping mall.
* ''Series/HannahMontana: TheMovie'' has the title character saving her hometown in Tennessee from a [[DesignatedVillain land developer]] [[FelonyMisdemeanor seeking to build a mall]]. Moreso it's about Miley slowly becoming attached to said hometown and questioning whether or not it's worth it to continue being Hannah.
* Movie versions of popular comedy skits frequently aim for an "epic quest" type of story, which is self-evidently insane. I.e. ''A Night at the Roxbury'', about two one-note characters and their epic quest to get into the best nightclub in the world.
* Possibly parodied in ''Series/TheLeagueOfGentlemen's Apocalypse'', in which characters have to save the show itself. [[spoiler:Not only do they fail, but they accidentally [[AuthorExistenceFailure kill nearly all of the creators.]]]]
* Series/{{Barney|AndFriends}} had one himself: ''Barney's Great Adventure''.
* ''Series/TheRedGreenShow'' has ''Duct Tape Forever'', where Red and Harold must save Possum Lodge from demolition by entering a duct tape contest. RoadTripPlot ensues.
** Note that the only real difference between the movie and a regular episode's plot is that Red and the gang are actually shown doing it instead of Red telling the story after the fact.
* ''Series/TheThickOfIt'' was a dialogue-driven political {{dramedy}} about petty grudges and in-fighting in the British government, and most episodes featured the spin doctor AntiHero Malcolm Tucker dealing with PR blunders and keeping his fellow party members in line. The movie spin-off, ''Film/InTheLoop'', involved Malcolm getting involved with international diplomacy in the United States on the eve of a full-on war in the Middle East.
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace: TheMovie'' is about wizard-in-training and [[TeensAreMonsters rebellious teenage daughter]] Alex Russo wishing away her parents' meeting and marriage out of spite, and she and her brothers have to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong... [[RecycledINSPACE IN THE CARIBBEAN]]! Keep in mind that this movie is based on a FantasticComedy with a LaughTrack.
* ''Series/TheSweeney'' generally dealt with small scale crimes such as bank robberies. The 1977 movie dealt with a complex espionage plot with an attempt to assassinate a foreign ambassador. However they seemed to realise this was silly, so in the 1978 movie they went stuck to foiling ''particularly nasty'' bank robberies.
* ''Series/TheBrothersGarcia'' had a TV Movie involving [[GenreShift Ancient Mayan magic, reincarnation, and antiquities smugglers]].
* The plot of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000: TheMovie'' revolved around attempts by Mike and the bots to escape the Satellite of Love. Even though the plot has been done before in episodes of the series, the movie actually shows consistent attempts at escape, all usually ending in spectacular failure.
* The TV-movie for ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'' definitely counts. The TV series was simply a story every episode, where a member of the Midnight Society tells a scary story with made-up characters enduring the peril. The movie was about the Midnight Society ''themselves,'' beginning with the death of the main character's grandfather, leading into the group having to gather pieces of a broken record to find clues as to the location of a mysterious "Silver Sight," which turns out to be [[spoiler:a silver marble that has to power to erase people from existence]], and adds a creepy old man and a CreepyChild who are both a little ''too'' interested in the situation. Ladies and gentlemen, ''Tale of the Silver Sight.''
* ''Series/DrakeAndJosh Go Hollywood'' . [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Exactly what you might expect happens.]] While in Hollywood, Drake and Josh get mixed up with a counterfeiter. Also, Josh wears an earring. And said criminals in this (TV) movie are some of the most wanted men in America; they even threaten at one point [[NeverSayDie to drown Drake and Josh.]] Er...this film's based off a... FAMILY show, right?
* ''[[Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody Suite Life]] [[TheMovie Movie]]'' involves Zack and Cody stopping a experiment called Project Gemini, and this is coming from another kids sitcom.
* The various "Wayne's World" sketches on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' were about a public access cable TV show put on by a couple of teenage boys. So, naturally, the ''Film/WaynesWorld'' movie is about underdogs overcoming [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt network executives]] and saving the world.
** An example that is pretty big: ''Film/TheBluesBrothers'' originated on SNL as just some musical segments that had Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as the singers of a fake band. The movie? The grand quest to stop the orphanage where the titular pair grew up from being closed by the government, so the best way to do it? By PuttingTheBandBackTogether and racing away from anything from Neo-Nazis to the biggest police manhunt in Illinois history.
** While the MacGruber sketches usually had a lot of action (in the shape of frequent explosions), they had no continuity, with the title character dying several times in each episode, as well as sporting a new personality. The movie features a hijacked nuclear missile aimed at Washington D.C., which is standard action fare. What's really weird is the way the FlatCharacters from 30-second sketches are fleshed out.
* ''Film/StrangeBrew'' which is the film starring [[Series/{{SCTV}} Bob and Doug McKenzie.]] It's basically [[RecycledInSpace Hamlet in a Canadian Brewery with Hosers.]]
* One episode of ''Series/SoRandom'' makes fun of the concept by having the first sketch be a [[RealTrailerFakeMovie trailer to a fake movie]] about a WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake [[{{Expy}} copycat]] saving her land from an alien invasion.
-->Coming soon from We're Running Out of Toys to Turn Into Action Movies!
* The ''Series/LizzieMcGuire Movie'': Lizzie and her class ([[PutOnABus minus Miranda]]) goes to Rome, and Lizzie has to impersonate a missing famous Italian pop star who happens to look exactly like her.
* Most of the Heisei ''Franchise/KamenRider'' films have been [=BDMs=], pitting the stakes to ''post-apocalyptic levels'' in some (namely ''[[Series/KamenRiderFaiz Faiz]]'' and ''[[Series/KamenRiderKabuto Kabuto]]'').
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'', in all of its various TV incarnations, typically tells character-driven stories about politics and day-to-day exploration in space, typically ending with AnAesop about cultural understanding and the importance of avoiding violence. Even the relatively DarkerAndEdgier series in the franchise, which are more likely to involve proper "bad guys", never quite take it all the way to "action thriller [-IN SPACE!-]" The movies, on the other hand, invariably involve the ''Enterprise'' crew going on epic quests through space and time and facing off against unsavory characters in cool space battles with lots of StuffBlowingUp.
** It's worth noting that ''Star Trek'' episodes with a clear villain are fairly rare, but 10 of the 12 ''Franchise/StarTrek'' films are centered (more or less) around a BigBad,[[note]]''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' and ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' being the two exceptions[[/note]] usually one with a personal vendetta against the captain.
* Series/BigTimeRush's Big Time Movie involves the band fighting off MI6 to rescue a secret agent from a supervillain.
* ''Film/AlanPartridgeAlphaPapa'': Radio Norwich is being held hostage by a disgruntled DJ and the hapless presenter becomes a seige negotiator.
* ''Series/DaAliGShow'' is a {{Mockumentary}} series about the titular chav-talking wannabe rapper running his own talk show, and conducting unscripted interviews with people in amusing locations. Creator/SachaBaronCohen's first big-screen SpinOff, ''Film/AliGIndahouse'', was a fully scripted political satire about Ali running for Parliament and fending off a plot to depose the Prime Minister of Britain.
** Baron's two other movie spinoffs, ''Film/{{Borat}}'' and ''Film/{{Bruno}}'', both avert this trope, as they're actually pretty close to the show in scope and style. Interestingly, they turned out to be ''much'' more critically and financially successful than ''Indahouse'' (particularly the runaway hit ''Borat''), demonstrating that this trope isn't always required for a successful adaptation.
* ''Film/{{Bean}}'' has Series/MrBean travelling to America and saving his new friend's career ... admittedly from Bean himself. Spoofed in the trailer for ''Film/MrBeansHoliday'' - which, the deep-voiced narrator informs us, is about "one man's journey...[[MundaneMadeAwesome to the beach]]."
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' had two {{Made For TV Movie}}s - ''Film/SabrinaGoesToRome'' and ''Film/SabrinaDownUnder''. Both had a more dramatic and serious tone than the FantasticComedy they were based on. The former has Sabrina trying to uncover the mystery behind why one of her ancestors was trapped in a magical locket, while two mortals try to capture her using her powers on camera to sell a story. The latter features a GreenAesop about saving a mermaid colony in Australia.
* ''Series/CasteloRaTimBum'' had a movie that set aside the series's EdutainmentShow qualities in favor of a somewhat [[DarkerAndEdgier darker]] plot.

* ''Film/{{Help}}'': Granted, anything with the Beatles in at the peak of their power is fairly awesome anyway, but then you throw in the British Army's tanks surrounding the band playing near Stonehenge accompanied by StuffBlowingUp, the stadium of people singing 'Ode to Joy' to calm a tiger. That last one may just be a shot of StockFootage, but it's still epic.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Franchise/TheMuppets'':
** The [[Film/TheMuppets 2011 movie]] is about saving the studio from demolition by a greedy oil tycoon.
** The follow-up to ''The Muppets'' was ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted'', about Kermit (while on a European tour with the rest of the Muppets) being temporarily replaced with an insane criminal who looks almost exactly like him (save for a shorter collar and a mole), and getting thrown in a gulag because of it.
** Some of the earlier ones were this to an extent as well (even ignoring the [[UniversalAdaptorCast book adaptations]]). ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'': Save Kermit from Doc Hopper! ''Film/TheGreatMuppetCaper'': Save the Baseball Diamond from Nicky Holliday! ''Film/MuppetsFromSpace'': Save Gonzo from TheMenInBlack! ''Film/TheMuppetsTakeManhattan'' is the only one that's just about a bunch of frogs and pigs and bears and things putting on a show, and even it amps up the epicness a bit.
* ''Series/SesameStreet''
** ''Follow That Bird'' involves the other characters tracking down and rescuing Big Bird from some seedy amusement park operators. Note that this is a film for a PBS educational TV series aimed at toddlers--it does not make for sweet dreams among its target demographic.
** There's also ''Film/TheAdventuresOfElmoInGrouchland'', where the title character goes down Oscar's trash can to retrieve his stolen blanket.
** And "Don't Eat The Pictures" had them helping the spirit of an Ancient Egyptian boy escape a demon and pass into the afterlife.
** In ''Big Bird in China'', Big Bird and Barkley [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin go to China]] [[VisualPun on a very slow boat]] - and encounter two shape-shifting Chinese gods once they get there.

[[folder:Short Films]]
* The 2012 feature film of ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' puts the titular trio on a quest to save an orphanage from demolition.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses'' is a group of internet reviewers. The anniversary specials are evolving into this.
** ''The WebVideo/TGWTGYearOneBrawl'': Essentially, gamers and critics get in a room together and fight, including the long-awaited rematch between the Nostalgia Critic and the WebVideo/AngryVideoGameNerd.
** ''WebVideo/{{Kickassia}}'': The critics team up to invade a micronation.
** ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'': They all go on a quest to retrieve a priceless treasure.
** ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'': They convert The Nostalgia Critic's house into a spaceship, which they use to traverse the solar system (and save the universe).
** Conversely, the ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' movie (which used a plot element from To Boldly Flee as part of its premise) just felt like part of the show's plot without any of the reviewing but when you have a main character who went up against ''multiple'' elder gods who threatened ''all of reality'', it's not exactly easy to raise the stakes. It did have an decently large amount of guest stars contrast the series itself usually does though.
* ''The WebVideo/AngryVideoGameNerd: The Movie'': The Nerd sets out to make a video on the infamous New Mexico dumping site for the even more infamous ''VideoGame/ETTheExtraterrestrial'' video game. Then things start going horribly awry for the Nerd.
* ''WebAnimation/AlfredsPlayhouse'': In the original series, Alfred [[FreakOut Freaked Out]] for the duration until he encountered his Evil inner counterpart who taught him the true dark nature of his childish Playhouse. In the movie, we are promised to see his deranged exploits and continuous mental breakdown as he plugs himself into the internet in an attempt at world domination.
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnpTcrtsN3U Dora the Explorer: The Search for the Infinity Orb]]'' (Unfortunately, this isn't real, it's just a fake trailer, albeit a really well done one, with Creator/ArielWinter as [[WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer Dora]].) They've made a real miniseries now, due to the amount of fans commenting on the Website/YouTube video DEMANDING they make one: [[http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6874662/dora-the-explorer-and-the-destiny-medallion-part-1 watch it here]].
* ''WebAnimation/{{Eddsworld}}'' got this treatment, with a [[MilestoneCelebration 10th anniversary film]] animated by Mark Lovallo (supersmash3ds).
* ''WebAnimation/DickFigures'' ended up [[WebAnimation/DickFiguresTheMovie getting the treatment]].
* ''WebVideo/JonTron's [[Franchise/StarWars Starcade]]'' provides a rare example of a Big Damn Miniseries.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'':
** 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 [[WesternAnimation/HeyArnoldTheMovie the movie]] rolled around, suddenly everything needs to be "bigger."[[note]]Featuring spy gadgets, kids infiltrating corporate buildings, a runaway bus, explosions, and a bulldozer army.[[/note]] This Trope actually was argued to have the title "Why is Arnold saving something?"
** Later on, the creative team planned [[WesternAnimation/HeyArnoldTheJungleMovie another film]] that was supposed to be even bigger, involving no less than a trip to the jungle to find the titular character's [[ParentalAbandonment missing parents]], while facing a river pirate crew. It got ScrewedByTheNetwork only to be revived over a decade later.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' had ''WesternAnimation/WakkosWish''. The movie itself isn't as "epic" as most Big Damn Movies, but it ''definitely'' qualifies for this trope by the standards of [[RuleOfFunny Animaniacs]]. It's a sort of {{Elseworlds}} set in an [[AnachronismStew 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 ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' movie has the main characters trying to save their city from an evil exercise machine. [[spoiler:They [[strike:fail]] get sidetracked.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'', where the main characters have to save Terrance and Phillip and, eventually, the world...with musical numbers!
** Lampshaded in the trailer: "Damn, dude. I'm huge."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie'' took a show where the villains would mostly steal energy sources in order to TakeOverTheWorld into a galaxy-spanning epic involving [[AnyoneCanDie 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 ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' movie, ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut'' where the main characters have to save summer vacation from perpetual winter.
* {{Double subver|sion}}ted in ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtheadDoAmerica''. It starts off with a ''{{Franchise/Godzilla}}''-esque giant monster fight between the boys that turns out to be AllJustADream. 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 ''[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones Flintstones]]'' film has ambition, loyalty, betrayal, corporate intrigue, and a climactic battle upon an elaborate makeshift DeathTrap. An average episode of the TV series is basically just [[HilarityEnsues 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 BigBad and two [[TheMole Moles]] from blowing up an entire city--oh, ''and'' fix his relationship with Wilma. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And it was a musical.]]
* Subverted in terms of themes with ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'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 [[NoodleIncident never learn what the scam was]], but we see that it injured the other kids greatly. This leads to the Eds having to [[SternChase 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 [[spoiler:we actually SEE his brother, who has been TheGhost 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'':
** ''WesternAnimation/TheSpongeBobSquarePantsMovie'' 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. It's justified because it was intended to be the GrandFinale, with all episodes produced afterwards chronologically occurring before the movie.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheSpongebobMovieSpongeOutOfWater'' also counts. Bikini Bottom is turned into a hellish [[TheApunkalypse apunkalypse]], the BigBad is able to rewrite reality at his will, and the entire thing is generally played more seriously than a regular episode (though it's a lot more lighthearted than the first movie).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'' involves the family attempting to save Springfield from destruction, by the E.P.A. While many episodes have featured the characters saving something (greyhound puppies, Krusty, the Leftorium) and a few have involved even larger threats ("You Only Move Twice" has Hank Scorpio threatening the UN with a doomsday device, for example), the one in the movie is definitely above average.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' is about a bunch of babies and everyday life through their perspective. ''WesternAnimation/TheRugratsMovie'' 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 ''WesternAnimation/RugratsInParis'', which involves the babies hijacking a HumongousMecha to stop one kid's dad from marrying a manipulative BitchInSheepsClothing, and ''again'' with ''WesternAnimation/RugratsGoWild'', a CrossOver with ''WesternAnimation/TheWildThornberrys'' that sees the kids and their families stranded on an island.
* Pretty much any one of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' movies.
* ''HeyThereItsYogiBear!'' 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 ''WesternAnimation/YogiBear'' 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerbTheMovieAcrossThe2ndDimension'': Phineas and Ferb finally find out that [[EverythingsBetterWithPlatypodes Perry]] is a secret agent, and go into an AlternateDimension where a more evil version of [[HarmlessVillain Dr. Doofenshmirtz]] rules. And there are lots of [[KillerRobot killer robots]]. All the characters have alternate selves who (except for the title characters) are part of LaResistance. In the TV show, they're usually enjoying the summer making cool contraptions in their backyard. However, this was ''definitely'' an example of TropesAreNotBad, as the fandom rejoiced both before and after the film premiered.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Pingu}}'': The [[WeddingDay Wedding Episode]], where Pingu and his family attend a best friend's wedding. There is a lot of mischief and havoc in this, [[HappilyEverAfter but at least the ending is happy]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': While the series is all about the Tennyson's adventures on Earth, ''WesternAnimation/Ben10SecretOfTheOmnitrix'' is all on a galactic scale. Much like the ''Transformers'' example, saving the galaxy became a regular thing as well.
* ''WesternAnimation/JetsonsTheMovie'' repurposes Mr. Spacely into a CorruptCorporateExecutive trying to [[GreenAesop 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, ''RockingWithJudyJetson'', 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeachersPet'' 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheProudFamily'' movie (which also served as the GrandFinale) involved the titular family getting lured to an island by a MadScientist trying to steal Oscar's Proud Snacks recipe, peanut-shaped clones, and a [[DancePartyEnding 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossibleMovieSoTheDrama'', the original GrandFinale of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' 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 RelationshipUpgrade that a lot of fans had been wanting to see.
* ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie'' has [[WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat Felix]] traveling to AnotherDimension called Oriana. There he must help a [[EverythingsBetterwithPrincesses Princess]] reclaim her kingdom, escape a CircusOfFear and defeat an EvilOverlord with help from his friends and his [[MagicHat Magic]] [[AwesomeBackpack Bag]] [[BagOfHolding Of]] [[LoyalPhlebotinum Tricks]].
* ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' is a TV series about a group of talking steam engines. TheMovie, ''WesternAnimation/ThomasAndTheMagicRailroad'', features a truly villanious diesel engine, who made a [[spoiler: magical]] steam engine crash ForTheEvulz, and a SaveBothWorlds plot. It was originally supposed to be even ''more'' epic, but ExecutiveMeddling changed all that.
* 1993ís ''[[http://www.atlasfilm.com/product/by-genre/family---children/the-ottifants.html The Ottifants]]'' were Germanyís failed attempt at creating their own animated sitcom à la WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons. Most episodes of its only season had fairly mundane [[RandomEventsPlot Random Events Plots]] that were adapted from the newspaper comic it was based on. Then, in 2001, eight years after the show aired, a just as obscure movie was released, in which Paul, Grampa, and Baby Bruno go on an epic quest to find Störtebekerís 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 gangsters who want to find the treasure first.
* The ''WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies1980s'' movie ''WesternAnimation/PoundPuppiesAndTheLegendOfBigPaw'' had villains that wanted to take over the world rather than just control a pound of puppies.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicRoundabout'' the series: Five minutes of funny and mildly surreal dialogue. ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicRoundabout Movie''[[note]]released in North America under the more confusing title ''Doogal''[[/note]]: Zebadee's EvilTwin is released from [[SealedEvilInACan his prison under the Roundabout]], and the characters must prevent him from creating a new Ice Age.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls Movie'' was first conceived to have all the main villains on the show battle over who would take over Townsville, but creator Creator/CraigMcCracken 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 ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' has ''WesternAnimation/TheChipmunkAdventure''.
* In the movie ''WesternAnimation/MuchaLucha: 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 ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' movies [[WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooOnZombieIsland come to]] [[WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooLegendOfThePhantosaur mind.]] Notably in the cartoon, the enemies turn out be bad guys in masks. In the movies they're more likely to encounter actual supernatural threats.
* Averted by ''WesternAnimation/DuckTalesTheMovieTreasureOfTheLostLamp''. 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.
** It did, however, feature a quest to save the Money Bin from a villain who stole it using the genie's powers.
* While a few ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episodes threaten to destroy the universe (For instance, The Farnsworth Parabox and Time Keeps on Slippin') the movies usually have more at stake.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Inverted by ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls2013''. 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 HighSchoolAU to retrieve a stolen crown is rather tame in comparison. [[spoiler:Even if said jealous former student transforms into a demon for the climax and brainwashes the school.]] It would normally qualify, as most episodes are slice-of-life, but this series always goes big for season premieres (and lately season finales.) It's the big damn movie compared to the one with [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E3LessonZero Twilight worrying about a late assignment]] or the one with [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E12CallOfTheCutie Apple Bloom being the last in her class to get a cutie mark]], but being a longer story with a BigBad, it gets compared to the ''other'' longer stories with a BigBad. [[AlphaBitch Sunset Shimmer]] just isn't up to the [[MadGod Discord]] standard.
** Played straight by ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie2017 My Little Pony: The Movie]]''. Simply put, after an AttackOfTheTownFestival, Twilight Sparkle and the crew are forced to abandon Ponyville and go on a world-spanning friendship adventure to different worlds in order to defeat the latest BigBad the twisted Storm King, while his [[TheDragon dragon]] is consistently hunting them down, whilst encountering a [[TheMole treacherous]] conman and a disgraced sea captain as stowaways on her ship. Right off the bat a much different and bigger scale of adventure and stakes compared to the usual stuff.
* WesternAnimation/MagicAdventuresOfMumfie has "Mumfie's Quest", where the characters try to save The Queen Of Night's island. Even though it first aired as separate episodes, [[CanonDiscontinuity the other episodes try to pretend it didn't happen at all.]]
* The 2014 ''WesternAnimation/PostmanPat'' movie involves Pat retiring to pursue a singing career and having his duties carried out by robot copies of himself. [[AIIsACrapshoot No bonus points for guessing where this is going]].
* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShowTheMovie'' is about the park workers ''saving the whole universe'' in a somewhat literal RaceAgainstTheClock, as Earth's history in time is seemingly being picked away at bit by bit. The trailer insinuates that the gang will have to face their [[FutureMeScaresMe future selves]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheWildThornberrys Movie'' ups the antics by having Eliza have to rescue a Cheetah cub from poachers. She is also sent away to boarding school when her grandmother disapproves of her [[SpeaksFluentAnimal talking with animals.]] That being said, Eliza had plenty of high scale adventures of her own in the main show - so it's not too drastic a difference.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' had "Ego Trip", where Dexter attempts to save the world from a BadFuture where Mandark takes over, teaming up with his various future selves along the way. The absence of Dee Dee for most of the plot and Mandark taking a level in evil (including ''traumatizing Dexter through whipping and mentally abusing him'')adds a darker tone to the movie than the series. It was also [[UnCancelled originally intended to be]] the GrandFinale.
* ''WesternAnimation/RoliePolieOlie'' had the DTV movie ''The Great Defender of Fun''. The movie's plot revolves around Olie and his family and friends teaming up with superhero Space Boy to stop villainous space pirate Gloomius Maxmimus from first ruining Zowie's birthday, then from trying to pull Olie's whole entire planet into a misery-filled galaxy, never to be seen again. While still remaining pretty silly in tone for the most part (in fact, sheer silliness is what resolves the plot), it's a pretty far cry from the whimsical SliceOfLife plots the preschooler-aimed show is known for.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'': planned but averted in the development of the TV episode "Something Big". As its title suggests, the episode was based around an attempt by a villain, which had been previously foreshadowed, to completely destroy the Candy Kingdom in some of the biggest and most serious battle scenes ever attempted in the show, which was originally intended as part of the plot for a 45 minute special. However, when the planned TV movie didn't work out, the opening of it was reused for a TV episode, to avoid leaving the plot threads hanging. Other plot elements from the cancelled TV movie were also used in the latter half of season 5, and season 6 (particularly in the episode "Orgalorg").
* ''The WesternAnimation/ShaunTheSheep Movie''. A typical episode of the TV show involved Shaun and the flock getting up to mild hijinks, and Blitzer trying to put a stop to it before the Farmer notices. In the movie, Shaun's hijinks lead to the Farmer ending up in the Big City with EasyAmnesia, and Blitzer and the flock have to go on a quest to retrieve him, falling afoul of a DiabolicalDogcatcher in the process.
* ''Film/RecessSchoolsOut'': Regular show? The adventures of a HighSchoolHustler (ok, ''middle'' school hustler) and his group of friends when dealing with the weird societal "ecology" of their school's playground. The movie? The same hustler and his friends (and some of the school's adults) trying to stop a plan to create EndlessWinter ([[InsaneTrollLogic the plan's leader truly believes that this will help American kids become better students, you see -- and will make people elect him President]]) and the apocalyptic ecological devastation that will ensue.