The Fairly OddParents is a show we all know and love. Not only has it lasted a heck of a long time on Nickelodeon, it also proved to be pretty popular with grown-ups to boot. I myself used to try and get home from college a wee bit earlier on Thursday afternoons to catch it on CBBC.
The show has gone through the usual twists and turns that long-running series’ go through, namely TV movies, crossovers and most notably, the addition of a new character. Which leads us to today’s announcement that the show will receive the live-action treatment in the form of a straight-to-TV movie.
Long story short (or for fun, read the full details over on AWN), the film will feature a 23 year-old Timmy Turner rather than the little scamp we have become familiar with. This stands in contrast to that other well known cartoon that was turned into a live-action movie, Ben 10, where the ages were kept pretty much the same.
I won’t spoil the plot (suffice to say it is surprisingly mature for a kids TV station) but I can’t help but feel that the inherent feeling of the cartoon will be lost, not just because of its transition to live-action, but because the characters will be radically different.
Personally, I am not a fan of taking cartoons (or anything in animated form really) and turning it into live-action. The point was made long ago that King of the Hill could so easily have been done in live-action that money was needlessly wasted on animation. However that would be missing the point, which is that that show could not have worked as live-action. The style of humour as well as the pacing would have rendered it far too boring, but in animated form, we tend to tolerate it.
Besides the nature of turning animated characters into actors, the whole basis of the cartoon was that Timmy could do anything he wanted. The very nature of animation facilitated his wishes, with humongous changes made in the blink of an eye. Such antics are again tolerated in animation because the audience accepts that what its seeing is not real. In live-action, everything must look and move as if it were real, otherwise the audience is reminded that it is not, which would defeat the purpose of making it live-action in the first place.
I do not mean to belittle the production seeing as nothing of it exists just yet. It will undoubtedly be of no worse quality than any other TV movie/kidcom. I just wish that producers/executives would look for more creative ways to expand their properties. Turning something into live-action seems bone-achingly lazy in the face of how many creative people there are out there who are just dying to get something on the air.