Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another Mystery Movie Revealed

Remember that super-secret project Lucasfilm Animation has been working on for a long while? Well, we finally know a thing or two about it...

The film is called Strange Magic, and it's set to be a unique take on A Midsummer Night's Dream using popular songs from the last 60 years. It's set in a fantasy world with fairies, goblins, elves, and imps. As we learned last year, sound design wizard Gary Rydstrom (Skywalker Sound, no less) is directing and even Brenda Chapman helped with the project. George Lucas concocted the story itself. So we've got two ex-Pixar directors working on a film for a division of Lucasfilm, the soil that Pixar grew out of. It's still a shame that Rydstrom's Newt got canned.

The first image shows that this will really be an all-out fantasy film, and the character design work is certainly interesting... I do like the creature on the left! I can hear it now, people shouting "They're ugly!!! This looks horrible! Looks like Delgo!" Do all animated films have to be super-appealing and cuddly? I think it looks fine, personally.

Lucasfilm Animation's Singapore unit will be teaming up with ILM to create the animation, so I'm guessing it'll be a bit Rango-esque except this time it'll be coming from the Mouse House and not Paramount. Actually, Disney is going to Gnomeo & Juliet this film. What do I mean by that? It'll be released under the Touchstone banner on January 23, 2015. Not a bad release date, as it is a bit out of the way.

Actually, the fact that it's Touchstone raises some good questions. Will it be an adult-oriented film? Or does Disney just want to keep its name on specific animation releases? (i.e. Disney Animation, Pixar, DisneyToon) Who knows. Gnomeo & Juliet was rated G but released by Touchstone, and it's their only G-rated film. After John Lasseter came to Disney Animation, he jettisoned that project from the Burbank studio and had it moved to Miramax and independent studios. I guess the decision to release it as a Touchstone film was Lasseter's way of emphasizing, "This is not a Disney animated film!" Do I blame him? No. A lot of people don't know who made what, for example there are a lot of people who assume the Planes movies are "Disney movies like Tangled and Frozen!" when in reality they are DisneyToon productions. Having Strange Magic be a Touchstone release is a good idea.

Anyways, I think it sounds promising. Certainly different, and I hope they use the pop songs wisely. Of course it's obvious that Electric Light Orchestra's 'Strange Magic' will be one of them, I can only imagine what the other ones are. The cast includes Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Alfred Molina and Elijah Kelley.

Hopefully we get to see a trailer soon... It's kind of odd that they waited this long to let us know it exists, but I guess the company doesn't expect this film to be a big hit or anything, hence the January release. But who knows. If it ticks with audiences, it could surprise at the box office...


  1. Despite not being Disney, the girl IS the Disney style...
    No one is complaining about the character looking ugly actually. Most people are concerned that the thing in the back looks like Jar Jar Bink's, and this is George Lucas.

    However, the concept art actually have very high quality render. I suspect Disney wants this to succeed, since this is the first Lucasfilm under Disney. And maybe they saw Lego Movie doing so good in that release date, they decided to give it a go.

  2. this year, Disney has Planes 2 and Big Hero 6 as main animated films, and Pirate Fairy being the lesser (both are submitted for Oscar).
    next year, theres 2 Pixar films and 1 Lucasfilm...film, and lets see how theyll do with DisneyToon (Planes 3, or will they become smarter and release Tinker Bell in theaters?). so possibly3-4 Disney animated films for next year..........usually there are 2-3 (pixar, disney, disneytoon sometimes). but now Lucasfilm is back.