Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Paul McCartney: The Music and Animation Collection" and a return to NIMH?

Who knew there was an animated adaptation of David Wiesner's Tuesday? And who knew that it was one of the most downright perfect adaptations of a picture book ever? (These are way too rare and tend to be quite short.) And who knew that Sir Paul McCartney was behind it?

And who knew that both Google and YouTube would fail me in finding the short.  But fear not, for it is available on the very nice "Paul McCartney Music and Animation Collection" DVD, which I rented off Netflix on impulse after seeing it and immediately thinking, "ZOMG 'Rupert and The Frog Song'!!!"

The DVD title is a bit of a tease. Technically, McCartney looks to have been the instigator: the real star here is the work of the crew headed by the brilliant animation director Geoff Dunbar. He and Paul McCartney have collaborated on several very nice shorts, not all of which are included on the DVD, and are currently bandying about the idea of working on a feature together. There is much more information about this at Cartoon Brew.

That Brew post also includes a very short clip of "Frog Song" (the entire film does not appear to be online) and as I mentioned before, this short inspired me to rent the DVD. It still is one of my favorite pieces of animation. As a child, this was utterly enthralling. Even back then, I liked that a lot of things in the short are left totally unexplained. And when else have you ever gotten a thrill from a phrase like "Frogs Only beyond this point"?

There's a third short on the DVD that, honestly, was so bland that I barely recall the title. But apparently it stars the characters that will be expanded upon in the upcoming Dunbar/McCartney film collaboration. Huh...

A quick look at Amazon reveals that the DVD is out of print, so if I've piqued your curiosity, grab a copy if you can.


So in other news... apparently the guy who used to be behind Walden Media (the studio responsible for several recent adaptations of varying quality and accuracy of the chapter books that defined your childhood and mine) and the writer/director of "The Illusionist" (I liked the other "Hot Guys Play Dueling Old-Timey Magicians" movie better) are working on an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
This is going to get very, very interesting very, very quickly, once the word gets out.

You see, if that title sounds familiar, it is because the book inspired a movie that I may have mentioned is my favorite movie ever: "The Secret of NIMH". My knee-jerk reaction to a second NIMH adaptation, and I am totally honest about this, is, "Really? Huh. Interesting."
Because, you see, I understand the difference between a remake and another adaptation of a book that has already inspired a film. You'd think this would be an easy concept to grasp, but it looks like I may be rare in possessing the ability to know the difference. I learned this during the long, L-O-N-G summer of 2005...

That's the main reason reason why it will be very interesting to see how the rest of the "Secret of NIMH" fandom reacts. My prediction is that the indignation isn't going to be of the "OH NOES THEY IS ATTACKING MY CHILDHOOD!!!" variety (NIMH-rods tend to be some of the smartest fans I've known).

It will be over the use of Live-action/CGI. Which will make this movie look not only like another remake of a well-liked 80's cult movie, but also another damn talking rodent movie.

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