The Hollywood Reporter is telling us that Paramount is developing a new big-screen adaptation of the 1971 children’s book “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.”
I’ve never read the book, but I sure did wear out a VHS of the 1982 Don Bluth directed movie based on the story. The Secret of NIMH was a childhood favorite of mine–one of the rare non-Disney animated movies that was able to capture the tone of a classic children’s story.
Neil Burger, the writer behind The Illusionist, is set to write the screenplay, and Cary Granat will produce the tale of Mrs. Frisby, a mouse who must race to relocate and save her sick son before the farmer’s plow comes. Along the way, she discovers amazing secrets about a group of lab rats running a highly evolved society.
It looks like the movie will be a live-action/CGI hybrid, and, having grown up on the Bluth film, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine that. The first movie is dark and magical and doesn’t contain a hint of pop-cultural wackiness, which seems to be what the live-action movies about talking animals are all like nowadays.
I suppose it’s time to hold judgment about this one. I’m one of the few that really enjoyed The Illusionist, and, oddly enough, that film’s tone is actually pretty similar to some elements in the original 1982 movie. Maybe they’re taking the talking animals genre and doing something totally interesting and original with it? I doubt it but will hold out hope regardless.