Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bits Journal #41


Monkeys, rodents, DreamWorks directors, Pixar's little emotions, bits...


DreamWorks/Mikros Image's Captain Underpants is now without a director, according to Deadline. Director Rob Letterman, director of the studio's Shark Tale and Monsters vs. Aliens, just exited the project. It seemed like the project was really moving forward, but that's sad to hear. DreamWorks is immediately seeking a replacement, Turbo director David Soren seems to be the top candidate.

Here's hoping that Soren will turn out a decent, if not good film. I've always been on the fence about a Captain Underpants movie, but Nick Stoller wrote the script and the cast is pretty good so it can work.

The new Inside Out poster doesn't show anything new, but it is nice nonetheless...


Not much else to say, but with the live-action Cinderella right around the corner, I reckon we'll see a new trailer soon. Pixar goes that extra mile...


For a while, ToonBox and RedRover - the studios behind The Nut Job - were working on an animated feature called Spark. It was supposed to be about monkeys from outer space taking on an evil overlord, and it sounded cool. I was a bit interested myself, I mean... Monkeys in space! Other planets! (Let's forget about Space Chimps.)

Well, apparently it's really moving forward now. Back in January 2014, the studio announced that this film would come out sometime this year, but it looks like it'll be a 2016 release instead. The cast currently consists of Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Biel, and Jace Norman.

Here is some footage...


Doesn't look half bad. You got some cool space creatures, the animation's okay, it could work. Again, I like the premise. It's been updated, actually: Spark the monkey teams up with a "battle-hardened fox" and a "techie warthog" (as seen in the last seconds of the footage) to save their planet from a "power-mad general". Again, if done right, it could work. All I expect is a fun romp that I can enjoy, not something that only the younger set will like.

Now for some troubling news...


MGM now has the rights to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, the very source material that inspired Don Bluth's beloved animated film The Secret of NIMH. Unfortunately, the new film doesn't sound very... Promising.

The plot? Movie Web informs us that it's "an origin story involving an 'imperiled mouse protagonist' who befriends a group of lab rats as they become 'hyper-intelligent.' The story will follow these rats as they escape a secret laboratory and become great minds in their civilization, as they try to outwit the humans who have been chasing them."

So we're starting in the lab? In the book and the film, we learn that the rats came from the National Institute of Mental Health's laboratory. The tests they were subjected to made them very intelligent, and because of that, they were able to escape. This was all a flashback though, and Frisby (Brisby in Bluth's film, because they couldn't use the name for obvious reasons) had no part of it - she was always a field mouse. Why is this the main story of the new film?

Now to be fair, I don't really mind that it's an origin story about how the rats the escaped NIMH. MGM wants to start a franchise with this, so I can see them starting with this story and having a sequel be about Mrs. Frisby and what happens in the book and film. Here's the thing though... Do we really need a roughly 90-minute movie about something that was told in a very short flashback? (The book dives into it more, to be fair.) Also... Becoming "great minds in their civilization while outwitting the humans who have been chasing them"? So the people from the lab are searching far and wide for their missing rats? If not, then what humans are chasing them? Yeah I don't know about this. It sounds kind of lame to me at the moment, but I have no idea what direction they'll go with it...

Michael Berg, writer of all the Ice Age films, is set to write the screenplay. Ehren Kruger is set to produce alongside Daniel Bobker. Yes that's right, Ehren Transformers 2 Kruger. It's going to be a live-action/CG hybrid. Meh... It's supposed to come out some time in 2018.

A lot of people are already up in arms about this, and for good reason. It sounds like they'll just be making a kiddie flick here, and the new take on the story just doesn't sound very good. I mean, it could surprise, but I have a feeling we'll end up sticking with the classic when all is said and done. Who knows. Bluth's film is hailed as an animated classic, and it certainly is very good (I'm not the biggest fan of it), so this had a lot to live up to in the first place.

Let's just hope that it turns out to be decent at the very least. The last thing we need is a Smurfs/Alvin and the Hipmunks-esque adaptation of NIMH...

3 comments:

  1. As a Chinese, I'm 100% sure that Spark is influenced by the most popular Chinese legend Journey to the West. I mean, he's holding a studio, glasses on head resembling the Chinese version of the crown, monsters, pig as friend. Everyone is literally riding on the Chinese money train right now...

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  2. If people want extremly faithful adaptions of the book they nee dot accept franchises are too fragile and movies are too short. Do a mini-series. A sacrifice of budget, but it offers time to get the story out.

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  3. If MGM wanted to do a NIMH movie, they would have made it faithful to the original story. But, they just had to go the "Hipmunks" route. It's a flop waiting to happen (at least critically)

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