Would a Ren & Stimpy Movie Even Be Worth it? – Animation Scoop

Would a Ren & Stimpy Movie Even Be Worth it?

Plenty of people both old and young (but mainly old!) got really excited about the prospect of a Nicktoons universe film when it was announced back in 2015. In a recent discussion though, series director Bob Camp mentioned that the show will not play a role in the forthcoming film for obvious reasons and also stated that a solo film featuring our dimwitted duo was also given the thumbs down by Paramount. As disappointing as that news is, would a solo Ren & Stimpy film have been work the effort?

Ren & Stimpy came bursting out of the gate in 1991 along with Rugrats and Doug (and before Rocko’s Modern Life) and helped establish and cement the notion that creator-driven cartoons could be enormously successful. The series turbulent life is well known and its saga casts a very long shadow over every animated cartoon that’s been broadcast on TV since. Even its contemporary The Simpsons felt obligated to directly reference the show on multiple occasions.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ren & Stimpy and going back and rewatching it as an adult has been even more rewarding that if I was seeing it for the first time. It’s a fantastic show and rightfully deserves its place on the pantheon of animated shows. Its makes for sublime entertainment of the caliber that you just don’t quite see any more (mainly due to budgetary constraints.) However the thought of a full-on, 90 minute, non-stop film doesn’t exactly seem too appealing. What could the overall plot be? The series thrived on simple stories of the kind that made the Looney Tunes shorts so superb. Films are much more complex. They require subplots to sustain an audience’s interest and I’d hate to see a rehash of that tired old trope, Breaking the Fellowship, which seems to afflict just more cartoon feature adaptations than is healthy.

The Nicktoons movie is likely to succeed because it takes the classic universe formula established by Roger Rabbit and verified by Wreck-It-Ralph. It’ll draw upon a vast range of characters to create something that at least has a chance of being interesting. A Ren & Stimpy solo effort? Well, that has perhaps half a dozen characters to draw upon and while they’re all great, are they structured and complex enough to rise to the occasion?

There’s also the nostalgia angle. Ren & Stimpy is remembered by so many people…of a certain age. Younger kids and teens probably aren’t going to check it out since its a show for ‘old people’, and while there are plenty of adults that would be more than happy to relive their childhood, nostalgia-based films are notable for not doing all that great; unless they also appeal to kids of today, as Toy Story 3 did.

I simply cannot see a way in which the venerable Ren & Stimpy can be made relevant to young audiences today without sacrificing what makes them great to begin with. Heck, even John K. couldn’t take that and make it relevant for adult audiences on TV as Ren & Stimpy “Adult Cartoon Party” made all to clear.

The void remains though, doesn’t it? It’s tough to see a whole host of other shows get the special treatment while a favourite is left on the sidelines. That said, there are some shows whose greatness and stature mean they should remain in the past. Ren & Stimpy is one of those shows, and any appearance by them in a feature would be to their detriment.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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  • It’s a possibility. Apparently, the only reason it never happened before was simply the boys don’t really strike many as being “appropriate” for a family-friendly feature.

    However, there are rumors swirling around that they will appear in a brand new short played before the 3rd SpongeBob movie, so there’s hope yet..

  • top_cat_james

    Would have given a new meaning to “box office gross”.

  • top_cat_james

    “Look, Ren! This looks like a great place to kill ninety minutes!”

  • Too Many Cooks

    I’ve felt for awhile now that the versatility of Ren & Stimpy would make for a great comic book. Imagine if they brought in a new artist/writer team for every single issue. That’d be so much cooler than a movie. (If anyone from Viacom is reading this, you’re free to use my idea without crediting me or compensating me in any way.)

  • top_cat_james

    Marvel put out a R & S comic book from 1992-96.

  • Too Many Cooks

    I know, I own 30 issues of it. 😉 They were all by Dan Slott, though. While Dan Slott is a fine artist, imagine.. like, you know how the Invader ZIM comic brings on a guest artist and/or writer every few issues to do something totally crazy and out-of-step with the rest of the series? Imagine a comic where EVERY issue is like that. Ren & Stimpy were designed for that. The only constant in the show was that the two of them were the stars.

  • top_cat_james

    Not to get bogged down on this topic, but Slott was the writer. Primary artist on the series was Mike Kazaleh.

  • Too Many Cooks

    This is the part where I’d offer to buy you a drink if this was real life and alcohol didn’t scare the dickens out of me.

  • top_cat_james

    Make it a glass of meat. *clink*

  • Ricardo Cantoral

    The only “complex” characters that ever emerged from those 1990’s cartoons were Ren and Stimpy. As for relevance, I don’t see the issue.The characters were throwbacks that were inspired by classic cartoons in the past.