Right, so a lot of people are getting excited about a movie version of something called Adventure Time. What have I missed?
To put it simply: Adventure Time is an animated comedy series that airs on Cartoon Network. It is created by Pendleton Ward and each episode lasts eleven minutes. There have been six series so far, with a seventh on the way.
And less simply?
It’s the American hit that follows the adventures of human boy Finn and best friend Jake, a dog with the magical power to change shape and grow and shrink at will. They live in the Land of Ooo: a magical continent of different kingdoms that is later revealed to be a post-apocalyptic land. Along the way, they encounter strange characters such as Princess Bubblegum, whose hair is made from pink bubblegum, the Ice King, an old wizard whose attempts to kidnap princesses are constantly thwarted by Finn and Jake, and Lumpy Space Princess, who is… Lumpy Space Princess.
But why are so many adults excited? This is for children, right?
Well, that’s the thing. Given that it airs on Cartoon Network, it is obviously intended for children, but clever comedy knows no age limit. For Adventure Time’s world is a layered, richly populated one, driven by an imagination – Ward’s – like no other. Its humour is, of course, silly, but it isn’t infantile silliness. It’s surreal, self-knowing and (most of the time) powered by the sort of infectious positivity that will make you want to be a kid again.
Why most of the time? Because Adventure Time can also be sad, morally complex or (often) just straight-up dark and disturbing. Take the hilarious scene below, in which Finn and Jake meet the Magic Man. Riffing off the show’s twee, hipster-friendly nature, the result isn’t exactly the sort of “awesome” adventure that Finn and Jake had in mind.
OK, I have the gist. So, what’s all this about a movie?
According to Deadline, the cartoon is getting the big-screen treatment by Warner Bros, who have hired Chris McKay and Roy Lee to produce. McKay is the man directing The Lego Batman Movie, which Lee is producing as well. Both were involved with the first Lego Movie which bodes well for Adventure Time’s tone. It is also reported that Ward will have, “some involvement in writing and producing the feature version”.
Is it going to be any good?
Hmm, who knows. On one hand, the Adventure Time TV series is pretty much without fault, but would its eleven minute format – ideal for before-bed viewing – work as a feature film? The involvement of Ward – who has backed away from the show in the last few years – and anyone from The Lego Movie is promising, but we’ll just have to wait and see.