Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Romeo and Juliet ... as a Disney(*) Cartoon!

(*) sort of

I've said before, many times, that I think The Tempest is ripe for Disney picking.  Little girl living with her Dad (note no mother figure?) on an island with her playmates, a sprite name Ariel (have to change that to avoid Mermaid confusion) and the mischievous sea monster Caliban.  Enter Prince Ferdinand, with whom she falls madly in love.  Throw in a couple of bad guys Stephano and Trinculo, in league with Caliban, who are easily dispatched, a few other bumbling cast of characters to round it out.  Little girl learns that she's actually a princess (or close enough, she's whatever she is when she's the daughter of the Duke of Milan) and everybody sails home for a wedding and a happy ending.  Perfect.

Until I get that, be sure to check out Sealed with a Kiss, a new animation by former Disney guy Phil Nibbelink (Fox and the Hound, Black Cauldron...).  He's done his own thing here, a 2D Flash animation with hand drawn art that depicts Romeo and Juliet as...seals.  Get it? 

The big downside is that it's a highly limited release, strictly in a few California theatres.  If you're in the neighborhood, though, go see it and tell us how it is!  This is the sort of thing that the second it appears on video, I'm getting it for my kids.  Disney should do more Shakespeare.  Yes, yes, I know it's not Disney doing it, but I'm sure he'll keep the flavor and style that we all know and love.

More Animated Shakespeare...


Duane said...

The reviews, by the way, are 100% horrible for this. Apparently the liberties taken with Shakespeare are so bad as to be unforgiveable. Such as picking random lines from any Shakespeare play including Hamlet. And of course the ending is changed, which I expected since it's a little kids' play. See my earlier note about Tempest and happy endings :).

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, guys, but...you are joking, of course? Nothing this horrible can surely, surely be allowed?

Duane said...

:) I'm sure that we'll never hear Nibbelink up there with Zeffirelli and Luhrman, Anna. But if there's a way to get Shakespeare in front of my 4 and 2 year olds, even just the barest essence of it, I'm willing to look into it. When I posted the original article I had no idea that the movie itself apparently butchered Romeo and Juliet unmercifully. Oh well. Maybe I'll write my screenplay for The Tempest one of these days. After all, apparently this Nibbelink guy did the entire movie on his own computer in Flash, supplying the voices himself.

Duane said...

And by the way, keep an eye out for "Gnomeo and Juliet", a Miramax animated feature about garden gnomes, coming in 2008. That one has the likes of Elton John, Tim Rice, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet attached.

Alan K.Farrar said...

You do know of the Animated Shakespeare?


Really great adaptations with top notch voice overs and sometimes stunning Russian animators.

The script was Leon Garfield's work - all words spoken, original Shakey.

Duane said...

Hi Alan!

Yes, I've seen some of the Animated Shakespeare stuff. Right now my kids are 4 and 2, though (not counting my 6month old who can't pay attention to things like movies yet) so I'm more on the lookout for Disney style, G rated entertainment that is just borderline Shakespeare enough to sit in the back of their brains until they get older and can experience it a little bit more directly. Kind of like how people say The Lion King is based on Hamlet. Only...more than that :).