Published at: Feb. 4, 2005, 3:07 a.m. CST by staff
Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Variety broke the story that Jeff Stockwell will be writing a live-action adaptation of Miyazaki’s classic KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE for Disney. Personally, I hold this particular film dear because it was the first Miyazaki film I saw, and it was such a completely mind-blowing introduction to the work of this gentle artistic giant. I also think it has, hands-down, the best flying scenes in any film, animated or otherwise. There’s something so persuasive about the tactile details that Miyazaki makes sure to get right. When I met Miyazaki, I was supposed to be interviewing him about PRINCESS MONONOKE, but I'll confess that I kept steering things back to this film just because of how much it moved me, and how fresh it was in my mind.
I understand why Disney would want to do this. Eiko Kadano's books are just now being published in English, and they certainly stand a chance of tapping into the same sort of potent fantasy for kids that HARRY POTTER does. When Miyazaki made his film, he used the character to make some beautiful points about finding your place in this world and discovering what your potential is, then living up to it. It’s one of the only films I’ve ever seen for kids that really seems to be about instilling a work ethic, an unusual idea to say the least. Having not read the original novels, I’m not sure if that’s part of the books or something Miyazaki chose to add to them. I hope that producers Don Murphy, Susan Montford, and Mark Gordon take this new adaptation in a whole new direction, so we don’t spend time or energy trying to compare one version with another. Miyazaki’s film is a classic, not just out of his filmography but in terms of animation from anywhere in the world. This is a huge challenge for the creative team, but right now, Disney’s serious about tapping into these beloved properties like HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE and NARNIA and bringing them to life.
Best of luck on this one. Do it right, and it could be magical. And no matter what, I can always watch the animated version, so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that this honors the spirit of such an amazing character and introduces her to an even wider audience.