Lorax and Nimh going CG

What hath Disney’s G-Force wrought?

Thanks to its huge opening weekend box office gross, Paramount is fighting back with the Rats of Nimh. Neil Burger, who wrote The Illusionist and is currently working on The Bride of Frankenstein for Universal, is turning his attention to a CG re-do of Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, according to Variety.

Meanwhile, Variety is also reporting that Universal Pictures and their animation division, Illumination Entertainment, are joining forces to turn the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax into a 3-D CG animated feature. The project will be co-directed by Chris Renaud and Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with Paul & Daurio writing the script. The picture is targeted for a March 2, 2012, release, which falls on the birthday of Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991.

I’ve nothing against adapting great children’s literature, or remaking cartoons based on great children’s literature, but why hasn’t the success of UP (U.S. gross $284,239,283. to date) inspired Hollywood to create something original? Oh, yeah… it’s Hollywood.


  • Karen

    Let’s hope it’s not a remake of “don bluth’s secret of nimh.” Variety doesn’t say this, which is good news. They say it’s a new adaptaiton of the book, which bluth left far behind for his brand of unintelligible mumbo-jumbo.

  • http://www.helloear.blogspot.com jennifer borrell anderson

    NO NO NO NO

  • startend

    What I’m more surprised by is why The Lorax isn’t being produced under Blue Sky! I thought they’d become THE go-to guys to make animated Dr. Seuss adaptations. If the same producers and writers are on board, why do it at another new studio?

    Chris Meledandri, why?

  • Jose Manuel

    Noo! ok I have nothing against 3d but Nihm is good as the way it is! why remake something that was so beautifully crafted? seriously, I loved the dark atmosphere and the tone was great!

    I want to see something new! thats why Im looking foward to see 9!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Let’s see…

    GRINCH was an engaging and concise cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with an interesting musical score and design faithful to both Seuss and Jones.

    HORTON was an engaging and concise cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with an interesting musical score and design faithful to both Seuss and Jones.

    LORAX was an engaging and concise cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with an interesting musical score and design faithful to both Seuss and Jones.
    —-

    I just had to answer the phone and when I got back to the desk I forgot where this was going.

  • Rob

    You know, I really liked Ratatouille. Can someone hurry up and remake that?

    Also, when are we going to see a Princess and the Frog remake? I think we’re overdue.

  • http://smomotion.com :: smo ::

    there’s a lot of people talking about the world imploding in 2012…

  • http://www.myspace.com/crumbcrispcoating Jonathan the Bellboy

    At least they won’t have to graft an environmental message onto The Lorax.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > LORAX was an engaging and concise cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with an interesting musical score and design faithful to both Seuss and Jones.

    Actually, The Lorax animated special was made by DePatie-Freleng and directed by Hawley Pratt.

  • Dock Miles

    In the future, very shortly, they will make the re-make, and the re-re-make, and the re-re-re-make BEFORE the original film. In fact, the original will never be made. But the official line will be that it’s a classic the remakes could never touch.

  • http://ateliervaloron.blogspot.com Bernhard C. Moffitt

    …I feel like how a priest must feel seeing that life-sized nude chocolate Jesus on the Cross statue.

    Why remake Don Bluth’s The Secret pf NIMH? That was a beautiful movie, delightfully dark and intellectually compelling, and the art alone is just gorgeous! Why remake it in CG, which could never equal the artistry of the handdrawn original?

    And the Lorax? WHY? Almost all of Seuss’ stories are only long enough for a small short film, they’d have to add ridiculous amounts of unnecessary new plot elements to it.

    Honestly, I understand that Hollywood is a business interested in making money, but this is just further evidence that the industry has become an Oroborous serpent, tail in its mouth as it eats what’s come before, till it finally has eaten itsel and ceases to be.

  • Sam Filstrup

    Wait, why would you want to reanimate an already animated film?(Speaking about Nimh here.) As for Lorax I’m not against the idea depending on how it’s handled it could be done well.

  • http://christianscartooncorner.blogspot.com/ Christian

    “And the Lorax? WHY? Almost all of Seuss’ stories are only long enough for a small short film, they’d have to add ridiculous amounts of unnecessary new plot elements to it.”

    Agreed. They don’t adapt quite well to feature-length. I’d be more open to seeing a TV special-length CGI adaptation of it. I liked the look of the recent Horton Hears a Who. Blue Sky got that all right.

  • John Lotshaw

    This news could have been worse… Jim Carrey and Mike Myers could have been announced as being attached to the Lorax project…

    *shudder*

  • Dan

    I”m done with remakes, sequels and prequels!!!!

  • BT

    As much as I like Bluth’s NIMH, I think in theory someone could make a good BABE type live action and CGI adaptation of the book. This time no magic powers for Nicodemus, please.

    The idea of them doing THE LORAX though absolutely makes me sick. Just a completely awful and offensive idea. THE LORAX is a gloomy, serious story and there is no cell in my body that believes they won’t hire 25 different comedian voices to turn it into another mediocre sitcom comedy like HORTON HEARS A WHO.

    The artists who worked on that movie did a tremendous job, they made an absolutely gorgeous 3-D interpretation of Seuss’s drawings, but their images were wasted on an inconsistent and self consciously commercial product that doesn’t care about its own story or characters as much as its duty to force lots of half–assed jokes into every scene. Even the poster for the movie shows Horton in a wacky pose that doesn’t fit the character at all. Anything for… well, not a laugh. Anything for a possible half smile if somebody’s in a good mood.

    And that made me sad, but that was HORTON HEARS A WHO. THE LORAX is a story ENTIRELY about a guy who stands up against a corporation destroying the earth’s resources by making useless products and marketing them to mindless consumers. It’s just not ethical or acceptable to take that story and market the shit out of it. If they can tell us right now that they won’t do any merchandising for the movie then maybe Dr. Seuss’s ashes won’t fly out of their urn and choke them in their sleep. MAYBE.

  • Matt

    Why has originality almost completely disappeared these days?
    Stupid Hollywood.

  • Gobo

    Keep in mind, folks, that the proposed CG NIMH movie is not a remake of the Bluth film. It’s a new adaptation of “The Rats of NIMH”, the original novel, which the Bluth film didn’t follow all that closely in parts. I think it’s a boneheaded idea, personally, given the movie’s classic status and that it’s already had a craptastic sequel… would you want to do a new, ‘serious’ “Land Before Time”? But if they go ahead with this, hopefully the new film can differentiate itself enough.

  • Dave

    Oh, great , another Seuss story ruined. (I’m sorry, but Horton is not the shining example of how to adapt Seuss to the big screen. By comparison Horton didn’t suck as bad as garbage like Ron Howard’s The Grinch or that Cat in the Hat fiasco , but it wasn’t actually good.)

    What is this madness where they try to pad out these delightful short stories to feature length franchise movies ? (even a 25-minute tv special of something like The Lorax or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is getting close to stretching the material pretty thin) . And aside from the clever word play (which is watered-down or totally lost in most film adaptations ) the appeal of Dr. Seuss’s work is the wonky drawings. Those could be beautifully animated … by hand with pencil on paper , retaining all the charming little quirks and inconsistencies that are in the original drawings. But that’s probably too much work.

    As far as the NIMH film , I don’t get the feeling that it’s in any way intended as a “remake” of the Don Bluth version , but rather is a new take on the original book “Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH” . That’s nice . More CG talking mice. Whatever. So when does Disney announce the CG remake of “The Rescuer’s” ?

  • http://wingedelfgirl.blogspot.com/ Lauren R

    it’s hollywood, and hollywood may somewhat acknowledge the merits of films like UP, but…

    oh, but movies like UP are so HAAARRRD to make! and they take so LONG! YEARS!!! let’s all just copy off the easy ones that make money fast. I know! let’s take an old TV show or movie and UPDATE it with CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY!

    ok, I’m getting a little depressed now.

  • uncle wayne

    And i thought SURE that the logical next-one (Seussically speaking) was to be “Horton Hatches the Egg!” The first one, CGI, was absolutely a treasure!!

  • K.

    The only thing worse than Hollywood re-making these films (probably terribly considering the grim track record of re-makes) is knowing that people will be willing to work on them.

  • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com/ Sara

    My impression is that the connection between”G-Force” and “NIMH” especially has largely been a creation of entertainment reporters looking to connect their story of a future project with something that’s big right now. If we’re starting to hear about it now, I’m guessing Paramount was looking at doing a movie based on “Mrs. Frsby and the Rats of NIMH” well before “G-Force” was a factor. I don’t know whether the feeling that there is a market for rodent movies had any effect on the decision, but I’m guessing not. If I’m remembering right, Walden Media is also attached to the project and they do seem to have a genuine interest in bringing classics of children’s literature to the big screen, not just following whatever Hollywood thinks is the latest trend. Since Bluth’s “Secret of NIMH” takes a lot of liberties with the story, I think it could actually be pretty interesting to see a movie that is more faithful to the original book.

    “The Lorax I’m more worried about. I’m not confident that these characters will translate well to 3D or that the book can be expanded to fill out a feature length film without feeling needlessly padded or severely altered.

  • http://www.commanderkitty.com Scotty A

    Eventually, it’ll come full circle, and they’ll be doing 2D remakes of 3D classics.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I would like to see every Disney film ever made reimagined as a CG project.

  • http://clownalley.net Pat Cashin

    The Lorax is one of the few Seuss stories that I feel COULD be expanded to a feature length film. How about all future Seuss CG adaptions (and there WILL be more) be anthology films?

    As Mr. Moffitt stated, Seuss stories are EXTREMELY well suited to short subjects, but Hollywood (outside of Pixar) has no use for short subjects. Why not make a faithful, creative series of anthology adaptions that could be shown as features as well as used in classrooms to inspire children to read?

    Or would that be keeping too firmly in line with Theodore Geisel and the entire point of his life’s work?

  • Kris

    I was actually delighted to hear that there was a new “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” in the works, precisely because Bluth’s version didn’t keep the spirit of the book. The rats are wizards and have sparkly magic? Please. Don’t get me wrong, I like the film, but there’s a reason it’s called “The Secret of NIMH” rather than using the original title.

    A live action/CG mix actually might be exceptionally well-suited to telling this tale. It’s a realistic science fiction story. We’ll have to see how they adapt it, but I’m hoping it’s toward the darker end of the spectrum, like the original story. Maybe I can finally have the NIMH film I’ve wanted since I was a child.

  • Scott

    “intellectually complelling?”

    HA! Only if you live in Bellvue. It was a childish film, hardly intellectual (not a bad thing), but NEVER compelling. I can admire the effort of the film, but the efforts were in all the wrong places. Adding warts, twinkles, shines weird animation does not make a story. The story and characters, as in all of bluth’s film, are cardboard cutouts and cliche beyond belief.

  • Katella Gate

    Why a new “Secret of NIMH”?

    Wasn’t “Secret 2:Timmy to the Rescue” desecration enough?

  • http://theanimationinquirer.blogspot.com/ Richard

    First “Hong Kong Phooey”, then “NIMH” and now “The Lorax”? WHAT’S NEXT!?!

  • http://www.cataroo.com John Cawley

    Just blame it on Walt. The guy never had an original animated feature in his life. Snow White, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians and such. Just adaptations of already existing books… several which had already been done in live action. Even when he moved into live action it was just one adaptation after another – Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Mary Poppins. etc. (And again, many had previously been done by others in live action.) One should not prejudge a future production based solely on its source.

  • Mandy

    Hollywood doesn’t want to spend money to hire anymore writers. So they have the same ones who have aparently run out of ideas. Anyone remember the “beautiful” 3D remake of Prince of Egypt?

  • Brad

    BT: “This time no magic powers for Nicodemus, please.”

    Heck with that, no magic powers for Mrs. “Brisby,” turning her into Jean Grey/Phoenix. What I liked about the original story was its detailed description of how the rats built their society, learning to read, to use electricity, and so on. I realize Bluth exchanged magic for science as a kind of shorthand, but I felt shortchanged.

    Pat Cashin: “As Mr. Moffitt stated, Seuss stories are EXTREMELY well suited to short subjects, but Hollywood (outside of Pixar) has no use for short subjects. Why not make a faithful, creative series of anthology adaptions that could be shown as features as well as used in classrooms to inspire children to read?”

    What happened to those anthology films Disney used to do? “Make Mine Music,” “Fun and Fancy Free,” “Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” even “Saludos Amigos”… Let the material determine the length of the story, and then either show the whole compilation or break it up for TV.

    Actually, now that I think of it, the anthologies came about because Disney felt they had to release something, anything. These days they’d just reissue something. Do you think a new compilation would fly?

  • Ethan

    The article never claimed it was a remake of Bluth’s version, so please stop panicking. It states that it is a re-adaptation of the book.

    I think it is good idea only if this time they remain faithful to the source material. If I correctly perceived the themes in “The Illusionist”, I’m 100% sure Neil Burger will be going with detailed science over magic, he’s absolutely the perfect guy for the job.

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    Neil Burger’s attachment has me interested. Especially if it’s a faithful adaption of the original book. I loved Bluth’s animated version but agree it is not true to the book so there is room for something new with live action and CGI. Just don’t try to make the Rats breakdance or whatever.

  • MattSullivan

    Sometimes “the sprit of the book” is boring.

  • Inkan1969

    I wish the NIMH movie’s makers the best of luck. Actually, a faithful adaptation of the O’Brien novel, both in plot and tone, might make for an entertaining movie. Something like “Bridge to Terabithia” in tone. That sounds like a good idea on its own merit, and it would be distinct from Bluth’s version.

    That said, I still maintain that “The Secret of NIMH” is the best animated feature ever made. Better than anything Disney, Pixarl, or Ghibli ever put out. The movie may deviate a lot from the novel and add in the amulet from left-field. But I think the film’s makers were actually able to make that idea work, because they used it as a cornerstone to build a mysterious and supernatural tone around the rats. The rats had a scientific origin, but the supernatural style to their appearance and powers made me wonder if they had somehow gone beyond the plane of ordinary reality. I found that possibly compelling; I wanted to learn more. So I felt a strong build up to Mrs. Brisby’s eventual use of the amulet. Breathtaking climax.

    Too bad Bluth apparently had only one truly great movie in him. :-( (“An American Tail”, “Anastasia” and “The Land Before Time” were OK, though. And “Rock-a-Doodle”‘s a guilty pleasure.)

  • acetate

    So is it official yet? Has Hollywood really run out of original ideas for films? If so, I know alot of folks who post on this site including myself who have plenty of original material. Lets do lunch everyone !

  • TheMix

    Go Hollywood! Yeah!!

    Keep raping our childhoods! Keep destroying every last legacy that we hold dear from our memories of better days!

    Keep it up, and you’ll eventually be sitting on a mountain of money after sacrificing the dreams and memories of every last person, and turning it into fuel for your empire!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Re:
    –Actually, The Lorax animated special was made by DePatie-Freleng and directed by Hawley Pratt.–

    Damn! I should have looked it up. Haven’t seen it in years. In my memory, Jones did it.

    I suppose I should expect Barbaloot Accelerator Suits in the CG movie version.

  • http://ateliervaloron.blogspot.com Bernhard C. Moffitt

    Mandy, I think the remake you’re refering to was the CGI remake of the Charleton Heston movie The Ten Commandments. As far as I can remember, Prince of Egypt has not been remade.

    And maybe I should clear up what I meant by intellectually compelling: I’m speaking about how it could be challenging to the target audience, kids, especially given that the version I grew up on, and remember most fondly, was the German version.

    I remember how the story explored themes I had not yet encountered as a child, and how it made me think about the issues of theft versus self-sufficience, overcoming fear and timidity, and the issue of human cruelty to animals. These were new concepts for me when I saw it the first time, and the fact that it made me think about them proves that it was intellectually stimulating.

    As for the magic and changes to the story, I never read the original book, so I accepted the movie as its own thing, rather than as a copy of the original story. Point of fact, that’s why I like Miyazaki’s take on Howl’s Moving Castle; it is very much a different story, but it still is fascinating to see these characters reinterpreted in a way that keeps them fairly consistent with their original selves.

    So for me, The Secret of NIMH is a treasured childhood film, which is why I dislike the idea of there being even the remote possibility of there being a remake of it.

  • http://christianscartooncorner.blogspot.com Christian

    “How about all future Seuss CG adaptions (and there WILL be more) be anthology films?”

    That could actually be the best idea. An hour and a half film w/ 15 – 25 minute adaptations of, say, The Lorax, The Cat in the Hat (done right), The Sneetches, and Green Eggs and Ham. And made by Blue Sky.

  • http://jazimated.blogspot.com Janelle Smith

    Noooo. The original is good as it is; it doesn’t need to be remade! It’s not even that old of a movie, for goodness’ sake. Even if it wasn’t in 3D, I’d still quiver in fear at the thought.

  • Sylvain

    It’s NOT a remake, it’s just a different adaptation of the book.

    Is Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings a remake of Bakshi’s? Let’s express how much we hate Hollywood for that, and let’s not forget to repeat how much we love Disney/Pixar… no wait…

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > And that made me sad, but that was HORTON HEARS A WHO. THE LORAX is a story ENTIRELY about a guy who stands up against a corporation destroying the earth’s resources by making useless products and marketing them to mindless consumers. It’s just not ethical or acceptable to take that story and market the shit out of it. If they can tell us right now that they won’t do any merchandising for the movie then maybe Dr. Seuss’s ashes won’t fly out of their urn and choke them in their sleep. MAYBE.

    I want that to happen personally! Everything that has been done with Geisel’s creations after his death have been unacceptable and lacking of what made those stories work in the first place. You’re looking at someone who actually cried at the end of the animated Lorax special because I felt too deeply what the message was in the first place. But we have to see the tragedy play out until it finally comes full circle and then it’s all over. I don’t know how they’re going to convey all of that in a movie unless they end up padding in stuff that isn’t Dr. Seuss at all.

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    I love the Lorax story…I just hope they can depict what’s in my brain.

  • Lionel Michaux

    Well, though I generally like The Secret of Nimh (the only watchable Bluth film, for me), there’s room for more than one screen version. I don’t really understand what the problem could be : for those who enjoy it, Bluth’s film is on DVD, and will probably always be available in the future, wether on Blu-Ray, VOD or whatever format still to be invented.

    The only thing that probably can’t be topped is Jerry Goldsmith’s extraordinary score for the movie.

  • shouldbeworking

    As already cited, I think the NIMH adaptation is fair if it is not a remake with 3d Bluth Designs.
    All the Seuss features were bad. How does anyone think they can make Dr. Seuss better? He was the master. That’s why the TV specials and Bob Clampett’s short are superior, sticking largely to the narrative.
    Lorax is a slightly longer read but I suspect the kick the Seuss out of this onen too. If anything, it better end on the sombre yet hopeful note of the book…no big happy musical numbers. I look forward to the new Lorax generating tons of plastic toy tie-ins for this ecologocally themed story.

  • Erin Siegel

    As a fan of both the original NIMH and Bluth’s remake, I’m actually incredibly excited by this remake. It’s been a long time coming; that great book was (as much as I love much of his work) obliterated in Bluth’s interpretation. Very little of the original spirit was left and the original purpose, questioning the frontiers of science, the ethics and the bad that may come with the good as well as speculating on the nature of a society of creatures with a different psychological makeup than humans, was abandoned in favor of a psuedo-religious story of faith and triumph over adversity. Mrs. Frisby (and it was Frisby, not Brisby) was our window into this spec world.
    Maybe if the remake does well, they’ll do movies out of the book’s sequels. They go into more detail on the rats’ culture and discoveries. Would be refreshing after the train-wreck that was the Bluth-based sequel. You ever want to watch some terrible, terrible movie, go find this in your local Blockbuster: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171725/

  • adem

    i hope disney will do a live action adaptation of the chronicles of prydain..seeing they let narnia slip away….