Recess: School's Out (or Recess: The Movie in certain countries) is a 2001 animated film of the popular Disney animated series Recess (released at the end of the fifth season), produced by DisneyToon Studios. It was the fourth movie based off a Disney television series to be released theatrically, the second (and most successful) movie based on a One Saturday Morning show, and the final One Saturday Morning based movie of the '90s lineup (Teacher's Pet would be the last movie from the block altogether, unless one show makes a revival of some sort). The movie began production in 1998 (during the show's second season, which pretty much explains how popular it was) and was finished in 2000.It's the end of the school year, and T.J. is looking forward to having the time of his life with his friends all summer long...until he finds out each of them are going to different summer camps. Boredom and loneliness sets in for him until he notices something strange going on at the school. He makes his older sister, Becky, pick up the rest of the gang from their camps (unwillingly), so they can aid him in finding out what's going on, as his parents (or the police) won't believe him, and after getting Principal Prickly to see what was going on, he somehow was zapped inside the building. The gang don't believe him at first, and think he made the whole thing up for them to come back from camp, until they see a satellite come out of the school and shoot a laser into the sky. Two nights later, they plan a stakeout (with Randall snooping around and seeing what's up, and getting Miss Finster to try and stop them).They find out that a former principal and his cronies are trying to work on a plan to end summer vacation for good, creating a permanent winter. After accidentally getting spotted (thanks to Mikey), the villains chase after the kids, including an army of ninjas. While the other five escape, T.J. is caught, and is put in the same room Prickly was captured in. Apparently, Prickly knows the former principal (Philliam Benedict), who has wanted to get rid of recess since the '60s. Will the gang thwart the plans to get rid of recess and summer vacation? Well, seeing as the show was renewed for another season and two direct-to-DVD movies after that, you already know the answer.The movie did fairly well with critics (61% on Rotten Tomatoes, just enough to qualify as "Fresh"), and also was a solid performer at the box office, earning $36,706,141 domestically, and ended up with a total worldwide gross of $44,460,850 against a budget of only $10 million, and could be considered Disney's second biggest animated success for 2001 (With Monsters Inc in first), as their next animated film for the year wasn't as successful.Followed by a sequel, Recess Taking The Fifth Grade in 2003.Not to be confused with School's Out! The Musical.
Recess: School's Out provides examples of:
Absentee Actor: While almost every supporting student has a role in the film, whether they speak or not, Butch, Cornchip Girl and Menlo are surprisingly absent.
Acting for Two: April Winchell plays both Miss Finster and T.J.'s mom in the movie.
Actor Allusion: In one scene, Becky is talking to her friend Melissa on the phone. Her voice actress? Melissa Joan Hart.
Body Double: Although not willingly done by Prickly: Shortly after Prickly was teleported inside the school and imprisoned by Benedict's goons, Prickly apparently left the school when TJ was trying to convince his friends that he was being genuinely honest about something up with the school (they found documents that they initially indicated that the staff were simply people restocking the supply room, to his friends anger), although after they witnessed the weather altering laser in action, they then assumed that Prickly was behind the whole thing. It wasn't until TJ did some more sleuthing the next morning where he stumbled upon Prickly's golf pants that the truth became even more insidious: The "Prickly" that they earlier witnessed was actually the ugly bald guy incognito, presumably to keep the other people in the dark about what's really going on at the school, and the real Prickly was being held hostage.
Bowdlerize: When the gang (sans T.J.) are going to camp, Captain Brad yells to Gus, "Get your fanny over here!". Because "fanny" has a completely different meaning in the U.K. than the US (In the U.K., it's a term for a certain area of female anatomy), the line was shortened to "Get over here!".
Gretchen's voice-changing device first appears in "The Army Navy Game" and is later used twice in this film.
T.J. finds his confiscated baseball in Prickly's desk when he goes to search his office, then throws it to Vince during the climax so he can use it to destroy the tractor beam.
Also, T.J. instructs Vince to do the opposite of what the coach at baseball camp told him to do earlier.
The lunch ladies decide to leave a pot of corn chowder in the school over the summer, later found by T.J. and Principal Prickly.
Colon Cancer: On Walmart's website, the movie's listed as Recess: The Movie: School's Out.
Comedic Underwear Exposure: Prickly is shown in his boxers after getting kidnapped. It was explained why his pants were missing, or at the very least it was implied: Benedict had his pants removed and placed in the dumpster (which T.J. found when sleuthing around the school the morning after his friends spied on them at night) as a means of humiliating him before tying him to a chair and then gagging him with tape.
Spinelli uses her "Madame Fist" line that she used in the pilot episode.
Gretchen's voice changing device is seen again after being introduced in "The Army-Navy Game".
Cover Version: Mikey does a cover of "Green Tamborine" during the credits. This is followed by a cover of "Dancing in the Street" by Myra.
Cut Song: There was going to be a new song by They Might Be Giants playing as T.J. rode his bike sadly after his friends left for camp. After the movie started using '60s songs for its soundtrack, the song was scrapped and replaced with "One" by Three Dog Night.
Dance Party Ending: Subverted. The gang's musical performance of "Green Tamborine" happens at the beginning of the credits.
Darker and Edgier: Not as huge as other examples, but it's darker than the main series.
Direct-to-Video: When in pre-production, this is what the creators were considering. But due to the show's huge sucess, Disney wanted it to be put in theaters. So the plot was expanded and got an Animation Bump. Unlike Doug's 1st Movie, which was intended for DTV but was released in theaters instead (at the very last minute), this one was much more sucessful. Kind of like how Toy Story 2 was going to be.
Lawson only appears in a quick cameo, getting sprayed with silly string (another kid was testing it on him to make sure it worked) and giving a thumbs up when the kids are getting ready to save T.J., however, he's still listed in the credits, hinting that he was going to have a bigger role, but his scenes were cut from the final film.
Miss Grotke only appears at the beginning of the first half of the film, and doesn't return until the battle towards the end. She also only has seven lines in the entire movie (two of them being screaming). Justified as the movie does take place during summer vacation (and unlike the other two main teachers, she has no ties to the Big Bad, obviously because she's younger than the two and wouldn't have appeared in the flashback scene anyway), and her scenes during the battle were prettymemorable.
Dueling Movies: Just barely averted. As discussed in the Trivia section, Recess: School's Out was slated to release in summer 2000, to coincide with the theme of the film. However, the still very lucrative Pokemon The Movie 2000 was released during that time as well. Disney executives kept pushing it back until February 2001. This decision helped Disney in releasing the first of two financially successful animated films for 2001, as well as earn a good response from the critics.
Enemy Mine: The Ashleys were implied to have undergone this with Vince during the times that he has to skip out of camp with his friends to investigate Third Street's activities with his friends at night, as they were seen choosing the color of "Vince's" cap (actually a mannequin dummy head).
Also, the unified front between the children and the teachers against Benedict's forces.
In the opening, when a military base holding the moon-moving technology is being raided, Dr. Benedict asks if the personnel were killed by the stun rays. His lackey says no, and he responds that he doesn't like violence. Justified, as he was a school principal at one time.
Also, when Benedict and Fenwick end up arrested in the ending of the movie, Fenwick tries to talk his way out of arrest by pinning the blame on his boss and tries to claim that he was following orders. Randall's, who was nearby when witnessing it, only reaction to it was saying "Jeez, what a squealer!" out of disgust, implying that he felt that Fenwick's ratting out Benedict, his boss, to save his skin was low even for an informant like himself.
Graduate from the Story: Subverted, as the kids all leave the fourth grade in this movie, they still attend the same school in Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, not to mention they're back in fourth grade for season six, though this is only because the series was Un-Cancelled.
Groin Attack: Spinelli does this to the bald guy, though instead of kicking him, she headbutts him in the groin. Also notable for the only time a groin attack is used in the Recess franchise.
Hippie Teacher: Apparently, all the teachers were this during the '60s.
Hypocritical Humor: Randall comments that one of Dr. Benedict's goons is a squealer as he tries to weasel his way out of being arrested.
The villain berates Prickly with the same words he says to T.J. at the beginning.
Of course, Prickly's answer is ten times more hilarious.
T.J.:(to Prickly) I don't hate you, sir. In fact I hold a lot of respect for you. (later) Prickly: I don't hate you, Phil. I JUST THINK YOU'RE INSANE!
Irony: Slightly meta. At the end of the movie, T.J. gives back Becky's diary, and tells Spinelli that he was lying about the extra copies he was going to post on the internet. The movie's official site had an entire section which showed her diary entries (Unfortunatly, since 2007, the site is gone and the link to the website redirects to Walt Disney Home Entertainment's page for the DVD).
Another meta example. Disney was expecting Atlantis: The Lost Empire to be their bigger two-dimensional animated hit for 2001, with Recess: School's Out as a smaller project. Recess: School's Out ended up as the more sucessful film. To add to that, the Finnish VHS and DVD copy of Atlantis included the Recess premiere episodes, "The Break In" and "The New Kid" as bonus features.
It's Personal: T.J.'s motivation after finding out that Benedict is trying to get rid of recess.
I Was Quite a Looker: Miss Finster back in the '60s... except for the fact that she has the same voice as she does in the present. However, April Winchell was probably going to use her normal voice for that scene, but she was already using it for T.J.'s mom.
Just Following Orders: Fenwick attempts to use this excuse when he is being arrested alongside Benedict. The police don't buy it.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: For a while, the movie was quite hard to find, as most stores stopped selling it when the show ended and its popularity dwindled, but due to the rise of online shopping and instant streaming—and the fact that the DVD never really went out of print—it's readily available from both Amazon and Netflix.
Large Ham: James Woods as Phillium Benedict. Seems like his over the top performance as Hades wasn't enough for him.
Last Name Basis: TJ with Principal Prickly, as per usual. Which makes it all the more heartwarming when they call each other "Teej" and "Pete" in the final scene.
Late Arrival Spoiler: The novilization came out a few weeks before the movie, causing a lot of details to be spoiled in the book.
Logo Joke: In the beginning, the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the time plays as normal...after the flash of light goes by, the main six are standing on each side of the castle, playing the rest of the theme for the logo on their kazoos.
Lost In Transmission: After TJ escaped from his makeshift cell with Prickly and into Benedict's office (formerly Prickly's office), TJ manages to report that he located Prickly and that he discovered Benedict's plan from a mural, which was to get rid of Summer Vacation. TJ then tries to supply his friends with a plan... but was unable to even start talking because at that moment, the ugly bald guy grabbed the walkie talkie, and likewise caused the communication to go dead.
Oh Crap: Gus's C.O. at military camp's reaction when he realizes shortly after mocking Gus for becoming the military leader of the Third Street Resistance that Gus was actually being very serious about his being the military leader.
Only Known by Their Nickname: The bald guy isn't given a name in the movie. He's credited as "Bald Guy". Finster does briefly refer to him as "Kojak", however.
Parental Bonus: The movie's built on this trope. It's freaking Recess, so of course this trope's going to be heavily involved.
Pet the Dog: Miss Finster with Miss Grotke at the end of the movie, after discovering that she's a martial arts expert. The sweet part kicks in when you remember that in previous seasons, Miss Finster didn't like her very much.
Police Are Useless: T.J. tells the police what's going on. They don't believe him. The other five tell the police what's going on. They don't believe them. Miss Finster and Randall tell them what's going on. They don't believe them. By the end of the movie though, they find out eventually and arrest the villains.
Rearrange the Song: After the prologue, the main theme plays... beefed up and more awesome.
"The Reason You Whomp" Speech: Unsurprisingly, it happens in a dramatic moment between T.J. and Principal Prickly. Very surprisingly, T.J. is the recipient of it. When T.J. and Prickly are both imprisoned by Benedict, T.J. angrily accuses Prickly of not caring about saving summer vacation. Prickly retorts with a long speech about how T.J. has unfairly cast him as a villain with no conscience, and that he always forgets that every adult he knows was a kid at some point.
In the 1968 flashback, Miss Finster appears to be in her early 20s. But in "Weekend at Muriel's", she appears to be in her early 20s in a picture from 1952. Does that mean she's younger than she looks? (Or even older than she looked?)
At the beginning, King Bob crowns the next king of the playground, King Freddie II (who at the time of the movie, was in fifth grade), due to Bob graduating. But in season two, Freddie was shown in the sixth grade with King Bob. (Though when the second season was still being worked on, there weren't any plans for a movie until the season premiered when it got green lit.)
Series Fauxnale: This was going to be the end of the series. However due to the well performance of the movie, it was renewed for one more season. Sadly, there wasn't much to the season, as after about four episodes, it hit the notorious sixty five episode limit Disney has.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: While all the main kids have large roles in this movie, T.J. gets the most time to shine, leaving some fans to think that the film should've been called The T.J. Detweiler Movie.
The Stool Pigeon: Randall, obviously. However, there is also Finwick, who in the end becomes a Betrayer Barry in the hopes that he'd be acquitted if he pins all the blame on his boss while insisting that he was only following orders, while also offering evidence for the state trial. Ironically, Randallends up being disgusted by this.
Swiper, No Swiping!: Mikey shouts at the villain to stop during the final showdown. He asks if Mikey really thought he would stop if somebody just asked after he went through so much to get there. Mikey asks if he said please would he stop.
Title Drop: The movie's working title was Summer Vacation: The Ultimate Recess, which is what T.J. quotes in the beginning. However, the trope was then averted when the title was changed.
Title: The Adaptation: Actually averted in this case, which is rare for a movie based off a TV show. However, this is played straight in a few foreign countries, where it's called Recess: The Movie.