Saturday, July 11, 2015

Disney Plans On Bringing My Childhood Nightmare To Life

I realized, in the recent round-up list of live-action movies Disney is working on to-date, that I'd left one off, since I was unable to blog when the news broke, and being more folklore than fairy tale, it ended up further and further down my catch-up list... apologies!

At the beginning of June it was announced that Disney would now be bringing a sequence from the original Fantasia to life.

*collective ooh and bright eyes*

Yes, that was my reaction too, until I read the words: Night On Bald Mountain.

*mass hysteria and uncontrollable sobbing on behalf of my five year old self*

Yes. I am not joking. This is the sequence where the giant GIGANTIC demon Chernabog, complete with a slew of ghoulish specters raised from the grave and howling witches (I'm talking the worst and most feared stereotype) that bring every form of fear to a small town at a midnight hour with demonic revels.

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Disney is conjuring up a live-action movie based on the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence from the studio's animated classic  Fantasia. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless will write the script for the project — which is in early development at the studio — based on the 1940's animated film. The hot writing duo is also executive producing the film. 
The "Night on Bald Mountain" section of Fantasia centered on a dark winged creature who raised spirits from the dead. They dance, fly through the air and enjoy an night of mayhem until they fade away as the night ends and the sun begins to rise. 

Sources say the live-action take will be similar to what Disney did with Maleficent... 
Sazama and Sharpless are a good fit for a dark fantasy tale as they've been building up a solid career based on work that fits into this genre, and have recently grown into a go-to team for this sort of world creation. The duo wrote the script for Universal's Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans, which hit theaters in October. Along with Cory Goodman, they wrote the screenplay for The Last Witch Hunter...
This sequence (which may come close to one of the most nightmarish animation sequences put on film of all time - or at least the most nightmarish kids would see) was followed by another sequence which I will also never forget: Ave Maria. In the rays of dawn, Chernabog and all the forces of hell are beaten back by the light and eventually banished as some pious (and to my young mind, very brave) monks, walk in procession trough the cathedral of trees, singing Ave Maria.

It's a brilliant, brilliant pair of sequences and the animation for each still holds up as stunning and remains impossible to forget. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look (though you may want to keep small children, five and under, otherwise occupied while you watch (sorry it's split into the two parts - I couldn't find a seamless video):
As you can see for yourself, despite this concept's brilliance, it is, indeed, the stuff of nightmares, and I have zero desire to see this nightmare brought to life.

And Once Upon A Time's recent 'guest appearance' by a live action Chernabog only amplifies that zero, with an added, heaping dose of cringe.

(See image at right. > > > > > >)

I know the fan forums seemed to love the idea and wanted more but this was not the Chernabog of lifelong nightmares. In fact it was sort of embarrassing. :/ And kind of disrespectful to the original achievements in both storytelling and art on film.

Perhaps the final product will be so far 'left' of the original that the two won't be compared (which is sort of how I feel about Maleficent - it's more it's own film and story with an homage to Disney's animated Sleeping Beauty than a remake of the original). I don't know. Reading the rest of the announcement feels like being set-up for a B-movie, unless it's done seriously and extremely well. Once again, it's difficult to predict.

There hasn't been any further official news on the project but if we hear some, we'll pass it on.

No comments:

Post a Comment