Back in 2003 Disney had a brainstorm: “What if we started to make movies based on our most popular theme park rides?” The results were The Haunted Mansion, a movie that wasn’t good enough for anybody to really remember, but not bad enough to sink the proposition outright, and The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a movie that was so successful it pretty much guaranteed we hadn’t reached the end of the movies based on theme park rides experiment. And heck, these days we’re basing big budget summer releases on board games, so getting a movie about something as kinetic and visual as a theme park ride almost sounds refreshing.
That’s why Disney is going back to the well once again, by taking a crack at Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. For those not in the know, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is one of the first rides that debuted at Disneyland, all the way back in 1955. It straps riders into a little car that moves along a track through a building full of animatronic craziness that’s all based off of the Disney film adaptation of the classic children’s novel “The Wind in the Willows.” First published in 1908, author Kenneth Grahame’s story follows a frustrated mole as he journeys through the countryside. His travels bring him in contact with an eclectic cast of characters, not the least of which is a rich and indulgent Toad who has developed an obsession with traveling by motor car.
In order to bring their new cinematic take on this material to life, Disney has hired Pete Candeland, an animator and director of music videos who plans to mix both live action footage and CG animation to achieve his vision of what Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride would look like if it was adapted to the big screen. Which, uh…apparently will look different from what The Wind in the Willows looked like on the big screen, which was only the inspiration for the inspiration and not what this new movie is going to be an adaptation of. Or something. This time we might have fallen into a rabbit hole of remakes, reboots, and reimaginings so deep that we’ll never get out.
Hopefully Candeland will be the guy who’s able to make it all make sense, though. He already has experience turning a rap group into a cast of cartoon characters with his music video work for The Gorillaz, so it’s possible that he’s just the twisted sort of freak this material needs. [Deadline Main Street U.S.A.]