I had high hopes for the new animated “Napoleon Dynamite” series. It’s the newest addition to Fox’s “animation domination” on Sunday nights. The original 2004 movie was squeaky clean, quirky and very funny. It was smart in its simplicity. It appeared that it just might be the network’s first cartoon that children could actually watch. It’s even voiced by some of the original cast including Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efran Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries and Diedrich Bader, so what could go wrong?
While watching the series pilot, it seemed like it would be more of the same type of fun. In the first few minutes it is but soon the story goes off the rails. Even so, hearing the familiar voices of the cast is almost worth it. Almost.
The new “Napoleon” is more silly than funny. Even though the series is created by the same director of the cult film, it seems as if the production team forgot what made the movie funny in the first place. For instance, in the first episode, “Thundercone,” Napoleon gets a bad case of acne and treats it with some product that had just got recalled due to side effects including fits of unbridled rage. He develops super strength and enters a competition at a secret underground fight club called Thundercone. None of this would happen in the movie. Just because the movie wasn’t based in reality, it was still realistic.
“Napoleon Dynamite” could have been a “sweet ride” and actually have some heart but instead, it is nothing more than the silly stuff they show on the Cartoon Network. This show isn’t much different than the silly kid stuff shown on the Cartoon Network. It’s really a disappointment.
One thing the new show does have going for it is that it is a lot cleaner than Fox’s other animated fare including “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” Maybe the creators will get their act together and produce a better product, but I’m afraid this is as good as it gets.