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We're going to discuss two animated films by Bluth that never came into being: "Beauty and the Beast" and "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."
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Gotta say, Bluth's Human!Beast looks a hell of a lot more interesting than Disney's Human!Beast. Poor Disney!Beast, stuck with a generic prince human form. If Bluth's Beauty and the Beast retained the dark elements like the 1946 film, instead of turning into something like Thumbelina (more on that one later), this would've been cool.I will begin with a very special heroine. Let’s say that this heroine is a princess who is actually not only quite unknown but ,above all ,who has never come to exist. Indeed, Beauty is in reality "Belle" in Beauty and the Beast. To understand the story, we must go back to 1984, when Don Bluth and his team had just released the stunning success of Dragon's Lair (a video game that also offers scenes of very good quality animation produced by Bluth who was overtaken by the technology that was offered in video games but who nevertheless intended to animate scenes that appear in Dragon's Lair.) Following the success of the game as well as his first feature film,The secret of N.I.H.M, he began to develop some stories to adapt on screen. His choice was later focused on two stories including Beauty and the Beast. He began working on a screenplay and also suggested a storyboard and some new artistic concepts but a budget for this project was lacking. Even if incomes provided by Dragon's Lair and Brisby were amazing (especially at that time when there was very poor animation), producers were afraid to finance a fairy tale story because it was no longer a mode of the time (the last one being "The Sleeping Beauty" by Disney Studios twenty five years earlier).
Don Bluth nevertheless continued to further his project, but he also focused more on a second video game Space Ace (which met with a more honorable yet a less dazzling success than that of Dragon's Lair). He then decided to make two films for Spielberg who agreed to finance both of them on condition that he himself was to decide which stories would be told to the public. At that time, since this producer was not interested in the world of Beauty and the Beast, he proposed other scenarios such as The Land Before Time and An american Tail . Both films met with a public and critical success thus allowing Don to resume his work on Beauty and the Beast. It was too late , however, since Disney studios were already preparing their version taking advantage of Bluth’s lack of time and budget .Since he could not face competition with such huge studios ,he cancelled the project and gave it up entirely forever. It is equally ironical that Don Bluth had (at the same time) the desire to adapt Aladin ( and not Aladdin) which was also taken up by Disney right after Beauty and the Beast.
Regarding character development, we know very little about it except that Don Bluth had in mind a very different idea from that of Disney. It even seems that he wanted to make a version that was very close to the one of the 1946 film that he adored. We also know that his film was also going to include the witch Queen Livia, who, being jealous of the beast, would have attempted to manipulate Beauty in her sleep so she would leave the castle and let the prince die.
Here's some fanart: http://dimitrikjr.deviantart.com/art/It ... -377549118
http://didouchafik.deviantart.com/art/D ... -381681677
http://insanepurin.deviantart.com/#/art ... 89965?hf=1
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EotS,WotM was cancelled back in 1982 due to financial problems. Which makes me weep because it's one of my favorite fairy tales and I would've loved to see Bluth's take on it. And I love the heroine's design! Then again, I'm a sucker for long braids. I imagine this movie would've been like Dragon's Lair, except this time, it's the girl saving her prince. This film would've been awesome and filled with old*sk00l adventure goodness and waaaaaah.
http://insanepurin.deviantart.com/art/D ... -313584596
Eventually, Don Bluth got to make a fairy-tale movie after all, with mixed results.
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Bluth had fun making the film, but admitted that he "couldn’t understand how he made it so silly and so unexciting." The push for marketing was also an issue.
That pretty much sums up the flaws of the movie in a nutshell (that, and Thumbelina is Too Dumb to Live. Seriously, she doesn't notice the thorn sticking out of the Annoying Bird Sidekick until she's told it's there? And the bastard never bothers to fly her home). Despite that, I don't hate the movie. It's got gorgeous animation and it has its charm, and I loved "Soon" and "Let Me Be Your Wings." While the rest of the music isn't memorable, I've heard way worse songs in other animated films than "Marry the Mole," including other Bluth films.In Thumbelina, everything is flat, everything is fine, and everything is nice. There are no real issues; we all know beforehand that she will find her home and family and that she will end up being happy . I feel that it is precisely for this reason that we needed to have great villains and great moments of fun for despite the countless villains in the film (Mr. mole, mouse, frogs, beetles, foxes),none of them are terrifying; they only serve to fill the gaps in the story .Apart from that, we never laugh, we never get attached to anyone. So we honestly get the feeling that the film is meant for tvery small children just by looking at the costume of the frog (and even themselves could get bored!). Actually, we don’t feel any worry for the heroine; besides she does so enough for herself since she spends her time complaining. She does not believe in anything and everything is "impossible" for her(If you feel you're about to fall asleep during the projection, have fun counting the number of times the heroine uses that word).
Still, I think about how much better Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun, West of the Moon would have been if they were made. Until someone makes a machine that lets us visit alternate dimensions...