Saturday, October 30, 2010

Animated Progress...

Yeah, but will it be a musical???


Over at Progress City, they've got a really big rumor...

We all know that after "Winnie the Pooh" next year, there is a hole in the schedule and then there is a mystery as to what will come out in 2013/2014. The site is reporting a rumor that Ron Clements and John Musker's next film will be an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book "Mort." Blue Sky reported that the next hand drawn film from the Mouse would again be by the duo back earlier this year. At the time we knew it was a fantasy. I was told, but didn't reveal that it was based on a book by a famous fantasy author that was published in the 80's. This book fits the period when the book came out and the type of author that would provide this source material.

But is it true?

Yes, kinda. I will say that the film does take place in the Discworld series which is where the Mort book (fourth in the line of books, btw) takes place, but remember that this is an adaptation that won't necessarily be literal (no film adaptation really is). I got confirmation from the Bothans of this. The hero of the book shows that this is an entirely different kind of story than Walt Disney Animation Studio has told before, but it does have a princess in it. Remember that this is early in the process and things can change. It's at least three years before it will come out and the animation process is a long, bumpy and slow road. This project as well as "Reboot Ralph" and another to be announced "untitled project" give you a sense as to how the course will change in the Mouse's animation direction after that one year break. Interesting, no?

So now you know what the next hand drawn is, but you still don't know how different it really is...

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to hear, but why aren't they filming the first book?

Sour Sour Apprentice said...

I'm unfamiliar with the author. Is he big or some small fantasy writer?

viddyviddy said...

@Sour Sour Apprentice

Terry Pratchett is one of the foremost authors in fantasy. It grieves me terribly that you are unfamiliar with his work, which spans dozens of books including a collaboration with Neil Gaimen to write Good Omens.

Please consider any nerd-cred you may have revoked until you familiarize yourself with Pratchett's works. The first book of the Discworld series, The Color of Magic, would be a good place to start.

Kevin said...

Glad to see my two favorite Disney directors, Clements and Musker, at it again. Could be interesting. Really looking forward to Tron Legacy, Pirates 4, Tangled, and live action versions of classic Disney tales. I heard after Tangled, there's only one fairy tale left for Disney to do, Red Riding Hood, but then again that's not much for a full length feature film. AFter that it'l be either boom adaptations or original films, either way I'm excited.

J said...

This somehow gives me reminders of The Black Caldron. Good? Bad? I don't know.

Time will tell.

2.0 and Beyond said...

If they can carry through with the feeling of the books, this could be a significant franchise for Disney. It totally gets away from the princess mindset and is broad enough in content to appeal to a wide audience.

Anonymous said...

Terry Pratchett's Discworld books are amazing. They are parodies, kind of, of other fantasy books, yet the Discworld has an integrity and originality that makes it owe its existence to nothing else. Its characters have a soul and believability other fantasy characters do not; only C.S. Lewis' Narnians and Tolkein's Hobbits have such earthiness and immediacy, despite their fantastical source. I think it's great Disney is tackling Pratchett's world, but I wish its first attempt would involve my favorite characters - Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. I could totally see Betty White play Ogg; she's got the somewhat racy Earth-Mother persona down pat!

Dynamite said...

I'll say one thing - it does come out of the blue.

Didn't think Disney, particularly the Animation unit would be found adapting Terry Pratchett.

Not that there's anything wrong with that :) Should open up a lot of expressive interpretation for the animators to play with.

2.0 and Beyond said...

While the Pratchett books are ripe for film development, my only concern is to whether Disney would be the best company for the job. Some of their films (Narnia) just do not come up to the level of other studios films of similar genre (Lord of the Rings).

nikaratrenal said...

Absolutely love Mort. The DEATH series within Discworld are actually my favorite (other than the City Watch). I also think that Mort has a story that would work well in the animated world. It doesn't require as much knowledge of discworld as some of the others do. I hope someday we get to see it!

Anonymous said...

Funny, I've been reading fantasy and science fiction all my life and I've never heard of Terry. I seem to recall hearing about Discworld though, but I might be confusing it with Larry Niven's Ringworld.

I asked a couple friends I know that always have their heads buried in a fantasy book if they'd heard of him either. No. Hopefully this will raise him even further in recognition than the fantasy audience he already has. I'm going to have to go out and buy the first Discworld book, "The Colour of Magic" now.

Fairy Hunter said...

"Some of their films (Narnia) just do not come up to the level of other studios films of similar genre (Lord of the Rings)."

Narnia was never really Disney films, they were distributed by them.

Walden Media is the one that actually made those films. That's why the third one coming out will be distributed by Fox instead of the Mouse.

Paultje said...

@Kevin

well I always hoped that they would do The ugly duckling after all the princess fairy tales

go read some H.C. Andersen
so much more stories to develope

Rosalba said...

Dear Honor,

thank you for the article...

I want to ask you just a little thing: any chance for Snow Queen? do you know something? If Rapunzel/Tangled will be a successful movie, I hope Disney will create Snow Queen...

Do you know something about Chris Buck movie? I read that he worked on Snow Queen but the movie was shelved, after thet he worked on Jack and the beanstalk but this movie has been canceled... is he working on another movie?

The third movie in the work is King of the elves directed by Chris Williams?

Doopey said...

Following on Fairy Hunter's comment, I would also add that Narnia is a very different tone and type of story than LotR. I thought both of the first two Narnia films had an appropriately rich look and depth, and "Prince Caspian" actually took it up a notch. If anything, I haven't been too impressed by what I see of "Dawn Treader" so far. I hope they didn't cut the budget too much.

Anonymous said...

Walden Media makes mediocre family films, and did only a so-so job with Narnia. I really despise Disney for being so weak regarding Narnia - it should have created the films itself. But nooooo....there's that scary religious element in those books that the bean-counters at Disney just can't deal with. Pfeh. Cowards.

Honor Hunter said...

Walden Media has had the rights to "Narnia" for while now. It has nothing to do with the bean counters being cowards.

Sadly, "Lord of the Rings" could have been a Disney property. It was originally going to be made by Miramax, but the deal fell through. And even if Disney had still sold the company there is no way they would have sold that franchise.

Doopey said...

Oh Honor, don't remind me! But at the time it would have been for two movies instead of three and you know the Weinstein Brothers would have done their trademark meddling with the production. My mind reels at the idea that Disney could have had LOTR, but as a fan I think it worked out for the best.

The Narnia situation, on the other hand, still ticks me off. Disney had the franchise and could have really taken off with it. The first movie was a huge hit. The second one disappointed but it made more money than "Prince of Persia" did. And again, alot of the problem with "Caspian" came down to the marketing.

I know they had disagreements with Walden Media but I don't get why they couldn't work it out. It couldn't have been more onerous than their arrangement with Bruckheimer. And I don't understand the Anonymous statement above. As Honor says, Walden controlled the production and they involved C.S. Lewis' stepson in every part of the process. I think they're pretty faithful representations of the books.

Anonymous said...

The Prince Caspian movie was in NO WAY a faithful adaptation of the book. The moviemakers attempted to make the story darker and thus more "mature" (whatever the eff that means), put in that stupid castle scene where Narnians got slaughtered (NOT IN THE BOOK), left out the festive invasion of the town of Beruna by Aslan and various gods and dieties, where they set free oppressed children and adults alike (my favorite part of the book) and then the movie producers made Caspian older so that he'd appeal to tween girls. Yeesh. And don't get me started with what they did to Reepicheep - the gallant, martial mouse was reduced to a short joke, and none of his courtly dialogue from the book was even used. The movie is a disgrace to the books. I'm hoping Fox will rescue the series, but I'm not hopeful - not with Walden still in charge.

Michael Sporn said...

Let's hope it's not THE BLACK CAULDRON meets TREASURE PLANET. Maybe it just sounds like that with Clements & Musker and "Fantasy". I wish them luck.

andrew osmond said...

The Discworld books are a huge institution in Britain, where they've been popular for more than 20 years. I don't know how well-known they are in America.

Two of the later books were turned into TV cartoon serials by the British studio Cosgrove Hall. One of them was Soul Music, a direct sequel to Mort, with the character of Death voiced by Christopher Lee. The cartoons had mixed reviews. (Personally, I much preferred Cosgrove Hall's stop-motion version of Pratchett's book Truckers, which isn't part of the Discworld series.)

More recently, there have been some live-action Discworld TV miniseries, but again they had mixed reviews. (I didn't see them myself.)

Finally, I think most fans, and Pratchett himself (judging by interview comments), would agree that the first couple of Discworld books, including The Colour of Magic, aren't representative of the series at its best. Mort is a good starting-point; another is a later book called Guards! Guards!

Doopey said...

Anonymous-

I guess we just disagree. Other than the two changes you noted -- the castle attack (added) and the bit with Aslan at the end (subtracted) -- everything else in the movie is from the book. Much of the dialogue is verbatim from the book. It's a more accurate adaptation than LOTR, quite frankly.

I thought the themes of the book were VERY present in the movie. The castle attack was added but it fit and it illustrated that Peter was putting all of his trust in himself and his own abilities instead of waiting on Aslan. The themes of faith forgotten and faith re-discovered were very powerful in the film and really amplified from the book. That part towards the end of the book where Aslan frees the children would have made very little sense in the movie. And having Aslan dance with Bacchus would have seemed utterly silly in the context of the movie. The narrative structure of the book is fairly complex and difficult to adapt. The movie did a great job of streamlining this. I do agree that it was a little too dark, a little too violent, but I didn't think it went over the line.

Teodor said...

Better the black cauldron meets treasure planet than The Princess and the Frog meets treasure planet

Anonymous said...

Doopey- you've convinced me: you've never actually read Prince Caspian. I can't believe that anyone who loves the books could love that movie. It's so full of unnecessary changes that reduced the movie into a wannabe LOTR. In addition to degrading Reepicheep, the movie also changed the dwarf Trumpkin's personality completely, making him bitter and unhumorous (whereas in the book, he was a jovial skeptic). PLUS Peter was not the conflicted person in the book that he was in the film. Susan's falling away from Narnia also was not depicted in the film. All in all, the nature of the book was NOWHERE in the Caspian film. The only part of the film that was equal to or an enhancement of the book was in the battle scene, where the trees attacked the siege engines. That bit was cool, but everything else was a huge disappointment. Again, I'm hopeful for the Dawn Treader movie, but the Caspian film was a dud in every sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

Can we talk about the Mort film??? That's what this post was about aftreall! Not some crappy adaptation of a mediocre novel.

Robert J. said...

Unfamiliarity with the works of Terry Pratchett are just another example of how the United States falls behind the rest of the world. ;-)

MeddlingMonk said...

I really don't know what to say about this. First off, kudos to you Robert J, I was just about to say the same thing. Sir Terry's works are beyond comparison, his mastery of satire goes beyond what even the great Douglas Adams was capable of (and if you don't know who he was, there is no hope left for the galaxy). As the film itself, while of course I'm liable to fangirl over anything Disc related, I have only ever felt comfortable with the Discworld films in the past (the ones aired in Britain) because they were given time to play out and breathe, keep all the good stuff in even though its such a differant format. Sir Terry Pratchett has always been on set for these, making sure they live up to the novels, and although they tend to be horridly long its absolutely worth it. The reason that "the book is always better than the movie" is because there's no 2-hour time cap going on, and I think the Disney publication of Mort would suffer greatly for it. And all of that pales in comparison of the big issue... that its DISNEY. Disney has a horrible reputation for turning beautiful stories into drap Fuzzy-wuzzy feel-goods full of fart jokes. And Mort, like all of the Discworld novels besides the YA ones (Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the Tiffany Aching novels), while able to be enjoyed by a young audience, are really made for adults. To stuff Mort into a kid-friendy, abnoxious-christian-parent pleasing format would be akin to commiting murder in my mind. Of course I would go see it, but I don't want to come out of that theater with nightmares about what Disney did.