After a brief promotional teaser for Weta’s new Wind in the Willows adaptation was unveiled last week (providing us with a quick glimpse of Mr. Toad), the official Weta website has revealed the designs for the rest of the main cast, via a set of wonderfully-crafted bookend models. Hit the break for a look at these, as well as the promo teaser.
The teaser seems to suggest an almost Tim Burton-esque approach to the story, with Toad portrayed mysteriously, perhaps villain-like. Back when the movie was first announced, a description of the script also went on to imply that the film may be headed in a darker direction than the book:
…the animals join forces to save their land from a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the uneasy truce between the peaceful animals of the Willows and what remains of Mankind.
While this sounded like it could go the way of other family-friendly, yet still “dark” fairytales, the actual designs for the four main characters seem much more traditional.
Here’s Ratty and Mole:
And here’s Badger and Mr. Toad:
Peter at /Film also snagged some images of further models on the Comic-Con show floor today.
The models themselves are fantastic, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to be too different to the way the characters have looked in the large number of previous adaptations of Kenneth Grahame’s novel. While I wasn’t majorly impressed with the style of animation that was present in the teaser trailer, I’m still intrigued to see where this is headed. On the one hand, it could be too similar to the almost cosy, familiar atmosphere of past films and the book itself. But on the other, it might veer too far off in a direction that doesn’t suit the characters. It seems like it might aim for a middle-ground, straying at least a bit from the novel, but not quite to the extremity of something like American McGee’s Alice (obviously). That said, I’d like to see something to suggest that it has enough to separate it from versions such as Dave Unwin’s brilliant 1995 adaptation.
This new Wind in the Willows is being directed by Ray Griggs from a script by Bill Marsilii (Deja Vu). It’s due out in Spring 2012.