Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Michael Landon Jr. returns with The Velveteen Rabbit

Courtsey of Jeffery Overstreet's twitter, we have the latest from Michael Landon Jr.  You remember him of course from such classics as The Last Sin Eater.  Now he brings us a combo live-action and animation version of The Velveteen Rabbit.  It seems to depart greatly from the book, most noticeably by making the boy the viewpoint character instead of the rabbit.  There is also the addition of the cast of Charlotte's Web as supporting characters in an animated magic kingdom.  Uh, what?

The summary from the film's website describes it thusly: 

"Toby Morgan is a young boy, but feels the loneliness of his strict grandmother and increasingly distant father. His discovery of the “magic attic” offers a safe haven where he finds a stuffed rabbit his mom (Jane Seymour) left him before she passed-away. His tears transform the rabbit into a playful animated Rabbit and his amazing animated adventures begin. Rabbit’s one wish is become a real rabbit someday, and Toby’s wish is to have a happy, supportive family again. Through lessons learned with the help of a Swan (Ellen Burstyn) and Horse (Tom Skerritt), and the transforming power of love, both wishes come true." 

The Dove foundation is ready for its release with this perplexing quote:  "A hare-raising adventure for the whole family!"  Not sure what that means, unless the movie is more of a thriller than the trailer lets on.

I am glad to see that the old mix of live action and animation isn't dead, but I'm not too excited by the great changes to the classic story that seem evident.  If you need a primer on the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, you can watch this short version on Youtube. This version, narrated by Meryl Streep with music by George Winston, is the colored-pencil stills version that I know from my childhood.  I wonder if the profound sadness from the original book will make its way into this movie version. 

You can view the trailer for Michael Landon Jr.'s film below:

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