Corner Gas: The Movie

6 12 2014

My youngest son and I just got back from Corner Gas: The Movie, and it was great. I disagree with some of the reviews I’ve seen (one was still reasonably favourable, but wasn’t sure it was right as a movie, that it was still too much a “TV show”). It was a touch more serious than any of the TV episodes were, but that’s okay, because it still works. I’m going to try to avoid spoilers here, but if in doubt, see the movie, then continue reading this afterward. Trust me, if you like Corner Gas, you’ll like the movie. And see it in theatres while you can, because there is some fun stuff before the movie starts, and stay through to the very end of the credits (particularly if you are a Kickstarter backer like I was). It is worth it.

A Feature-Length Story

I want to first commend Brent Butt, Andrew Carr and Andrew Wreggitt for creating a true feature-length story. When adapting a TV show to the big screen, it can sometimes to be tempting to think in terms of “a bunch of episodes strung together”, allowing the “movie” to be aired in pieces with “to be continued” between each instalment. As an example, look at the Futurama movies made between Season 5 and what they called Season 7 (Bender’s Game, Bender’s Big Score, The Beast With A Billion Backs and Into the Wild Green Yonder). All of those were made, in essence, as a sequence of 20-minute episodes forming a larger story arc (the credits even show who wrote each specific “chapter” of the story. Oh, and why 20 minutes? Because a 30-minute show only has about 20-22 minutes of story, a minute or two of credits and the rest is time for commercials).

In the case of CG:TM, they crafted a true 90-minute story. It does take on a slightly darker tone than the TV show itself (you can see that from the trailers). But it isn’t morose, depressing or brooding. The situation is still livened up with humour to keep lighten the tone when it appears it may drift too far towards darkness.

Like each episode, there are a few parallel threads going on at once. Unlike the TV show, all of them are still focused around the core story. It makes for a well-crafted story with good pacing, and everything stays focused on the primary narrative. Again, congratulations to Brent and his team for making it work as a movie.

Characters Are Still True To Themselves

Even with the more serious tone for some of the movie, the characters are still themselves. They don’t drift far from their roots, and they don’t really change as much as they potentially could in a story like this. Hank is still Hank. Wanda is still a know-it-all, Brent is still optimistic, Lacey is still stylish and persnickety. Oscar is still a hammerhead (oops, only Brent can call him that).

A lot of the familiar Dog Rive-ites are there too, although there are a couple faces that are missing. There are, as always, a few cameos as well, but they are bit more subtle than they were during the TV series (nobody was appearing as “themselves”). But it is still Dog River.

A Packed House

I want to close this with a bit of information: the theatre was effectively full, which is pretty good for a matinee. Brent has tweeted about some sold-out shows during the first days as well, and this is good news. It is good to see the show get such a tremendous and positive response. There is only one more showing this evening, and a couple more tomorrow, so this is your only chance to see it in theatres. I would strongly suggest you go early, grab some popcorn and a drink, and take another trip to Dog River.

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