Saturday, November 19, 2016

Army Dog: Mikros To Produce Fun Academy's 'Sgt. Stubby'

A newcomer studio is coming around the bend...

Fun Academy Motion Pictures is the name of the studio in question. Their debut feature? Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.

Sgt. Stubby was real. A stray who was assigned to the 26th Yankee division during World War I, he was supposedly the first dog to ever be designated "sergeant". The film adaptation is aiming for a spring 2018 release, the centennial of World War I's ending. The dog was known for saving units from mustard gas attacks, even holding a German soldier in his place until US soldiers arrived.

The film has been known in some circles for a little while, now the studio has joined forces with Mikros Image to bring it to the big screen. Mikros is little by little making it big in the features world, as they have done the animation for DreamWorks' Captain Underpants and will do the animation for Paramount/Rocket Pictures' Sherlock Gnomes. They also did work on The Little Prince.

Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu are currently set to provide their voices. The director is former Disney and DreamWorks animator Dan St. Pierre, who directed Everyone's Hero (remember that? It was that film about Babe Ruth's baseball and the 1932 World Series featuring a talking baseball and baseball bat) and the superb Legend of Oz: Dorothy's Return. Of course, we can't hold that against him... Those movies were undone by their writing and other behind-the-scenes issues. Perhaps St. Pierre will really prove himself with this picture.

According to PR Newswire, Sgt. Stubby will "directly address war for young audiences". Depardieu erroneously claimed that it will be the first animated family war movie to hit the US, but he did mention that the script will be "sensitive", will give the viewers "a feel" of the war itself, and will focus on the bonding between the dog and one of the doughboys.

While there are plenty of adult-oriented animated films about war, going the family-friendly is kind of risky to me. You can indeed keep the impact and even some of the horror intact, but in order to get that PG, you'd probably have to skirt around some areas. Skirt too much, and try too hard to get the kids laughing, you get a movie like Valiant. We certainly don't want that with Sgt. Stubby, as this dog was actually in the trenches and then some, and that kind of humor has no place in this story.

The concept art looks pretty good, it suggests that the film could be decent...

What say you?

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