Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Wind in the Willows (1983)
This is no more a children's film than is Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, another excellent and intelligently-crafted claymation adventure. It's a beautiful story about friendship, honor, courage, reckless driving, outsmarting evil-doers, and the ins and outs of the human/animal penal system. One thing I love about this kind of animation is that even today you know that they can't fake it with high-tech tricks. These characters really existed in the physical world and to make them come to life like this in a feature-length film was truly a labor of love. One interesting bit of trivia is that Guillermo del Toro was slated to make an updated live-action/CGI version of the film, but things went sour when he realized the studio execs just didn't get it: "It was a beautiful book, and then I went to meet with the executives and they said, 'Could you give Toad a skateboard and make him say, 'radical dude' things,' and that's when I said, 'It's been a pleasure...'"