It’s no secret the Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most masterful and celebrated film makers of the past century. The Japanese writer/director’s studio, Studio Ghibli, author to contemporary classic like My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke, has helped introduce countless young (and old) people to the beautiful Japanese legends and myths that so frequently form the heart and soul of their movies. They also provide a nice counterpoint to the Hollywood-heavy Disney and Pixar films of today. But not all of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s films are focused on the retelling of Eastern stories. This recently revealed concept art shows what could have been if Studio Ghibli had moved ahead with production on an adaptation of the classic Swedish story of Pippi Longstocking.
Funny enough, io9 reports, “Hayao Miyazaki and [fellow animator] Isao Takahata began preproduction on an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking books, but in the end, were unable to secure Lindgren’s permission.” Looking at Miyazaki’s history as a film maker, it’s difficult to believe that Miyazaki would run into such road blocks, but it’s important to note that in ’71 he was still in the infancy of his career as a film maker, working at Toei Animation. Lucky for us, Miyazaki’s concept art for the film still exists.
By exploring themes of adventure, nurturing love, and family, Miyazaki’s films encourage children and adults alike to remember that there’s magic in the world if they just look for it. With her superhuman strength, adventurous and unconventional personality, it’s no surprise that the master filmmaker was drawn to Pippi Longstocking.
2014 Hugo Award Nominations (ver. 0.5)
So, the Hugo awards have come and gone for 2013. People have blogged widely about it, and all that need saying has already been said (see here for my thoughts on this year’s ‘Best Novel’ winner, Redshirts by John Scalzi, for instance). So, instead of recapping the conversation (which, to be frank, I’m a little behind the curveball in catching up on), I thought it would be more interesting to look ahead at next year’s awards, and start the conversation a little early. This way, I can hopefully convince you to check out some of the year’s best works while there’s still time to enjoy and nominate it.
I’ll work through several of the categories, those which I have any sort of opinion of, and discuss the works that I think are most impactful and important, and will, as of right now, appear on my ballot (until they’re replaced by something even more awesome between now and the time nominations are due.) And then, in the ‘Also/maybe/are these good?’ sections, I’ll list off a few choices that I haven’t read/experienced yet, but feel that they deserve to be in the conversation and will likely be considered when I do get around to them.
I’d also encourage you to join me in the comments. Tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me what you’ve read this year that resonated with you. Because, what’s the point of award season if not to encourage people to discover great new books, films, and every other story of art? Continue reading
According to The Verge, Disney is planning to release a new Star Wars film every summer for five years. This schedule will begin with Episode VII in 2015, VIII in 2017, and IX in 2019. Sandwiched between these releases will be standalone films, presumably starring some of the series’ more popular characters (Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett have all been rumoured.
According to First Things, J.R.R. Tolkien once nixed a film adaptation of his classic novel, Lord of the Rings, by the Beatles. Better yet, the film was to be directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Via Patheos, First Things lays out the original plans:
Once upon a time, the Fab Four—having slain the pop charts—decided to set their sights on the Dark Lord Sauron by making a Lord of the Rings feature, starring themselves. One man dared stand in their way: J.R.R. Tolkien.
According to Peter Jackson, who knows a little something about making Lord of the Rings movies, John Lennon was the Beatle most keen on LOTR back in the ’60s—and he wanted to play Gollum, while Paul McCartney would play Frodo, Ringo Starr would take on Sam and George Harrison would beard it up for Gandalf. And he approached a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick to direct.
More details came from a conversation between Paul McCartney and Peter Jackson, who successfully managed to coerce the Tolkien estate into giving up the film rights to the trilogy (something that Christopher Tolkien still hasn’t lived down):
McCartney told Jackson about the failed scheme when the two bumped into each other at the Academy Awards: “It was something John was driving and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage but he didn’t like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it,” Jackson told the Wellington Evening Post in 2002.
“There probably would’ve been some good songs coming off the album,” said Jackson.
That Tolkien didn’t care for the Beatles will come as no surprise to fans of either one, but Tolkien’s letters give us a hint that his opposition to the Beatles may have had a more personal dimension.
I think the real question, though, is whether the Beatles/Kubrick film would have managed to feel even more like an acid trip than the terribly awesome (or awesomely terrible) Ralph Bakshi adaptation.
Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
Today marks the worldwide release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. To celebrate, I’ve gathered together some of my favourite art, professional and amateur, together to celebrate the wonderful legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s best (yep, best) work.
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.
I will fully admit to nicking most of these images from a post at Tor.com, also celebrating some of the wonderful art created in celebration of The Hobbit. So, have you seen the film? What did you think? And, what are some of your favourite pieces of art from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?