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The Movie That Isn’t Ours

posted by Gorebash @ 12:49 PM on Aug 12, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized

This article in Variety talks about a new movie that Disney is looking to produce about gargoyles.

However it’s not about our Gargoyles.

Back in the late 1990s there was a Gargoyles movie being developed that would have been based on the cartoon series. There were at least a few different scripts written that were passed around. The movie would have probably revolved around just Goliath and Elisa with the other gargoyles probably not being in the movie. That project was ultimately left to die.

Now word of a new movie. But the Variety article states up front that it’s not based on the animated series, but is an entirely new and original project. The article goes on to say

Instead, it centers around a world and mythology of the menacing stone statues that the studio was keen to explore

And that’s the only information that’s publicly available about this movie; there’s not much there. Phrases like “world and mythology” seem, in my mind, to fit exactly with the original animated series. “[M]enacing stone statues” certainly fits as well. One of the strongest points of the original series was that as you watched it you learned that the “menacing” tag applied to gargoyles was a misconception on the part of the humans; that the gargoyles were actually protectors. That gave the animated series a very deep message about understanding and respecting different cultures and race. A message more meaningful now than ever before.

I want to be flippant and say that this new movie probably won’t hold the same depth. It won’t even be skin deep. That this will probably be some shallow “Twilight” wannabe film where the entire story is simply that some evil beast and some innocent and naive girl fall in love.

Or worse. That it will be a blatant rip-off of the animated show. Would they care if the new movie was a rip-off? After all they’d just be ripping themselves off. That would be incredibly disrespectful to those who worked to develop the original show as well as to its fans.

However I think we need to be careful to not rush to judgement. We simply do not know enough about this project. Can there be more than one show about gargoyles? Of course. Just like there can be more than one show about superheroes, or vampires, or emergency room doctors. Remember that when Gargoyles came out in 1996, Disney had another project with gargoyles in it called The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

But there is strong emotion from the fans coming out against this project. An emotion whose seeds were planted when Disney canceled the original show. Whose seedlings were invigorated by Disney’s unwillingness to release the rest of the show on DVD. Whose buds were strengthened by the increase in license fees that made further production of the comics cost prohibitive for SLG. Whose strong roots now sense they’re getting the shaft again and have started to dig in deeper.

A Facebook group has been set up that calls on Disney to produce a movie based on the show. It’s also an outlet for the dozens of other frustrations thrust upon Gargoyles fans by Disney. It’s becoming something of a lens through which the fans are focusing their feelings.

Will Disney listen to the fans?

Probably not.

I really wish they would. With each show Greg Wesiman has been involved with he has set the bar higher and higher on quality of writing and character development. He was good 15 years ago. He’s masterful now. Bring him in on a project based on a property he helped develop and has an extremely strong interest in and you’re going to get out of him the best work ever put on screen. The “world and mythology” of Gargoyles is already established and very solid. It hasn’t been left to gather dust these last 15 years, it has been maturing and evolving and becoming even more strong through Greg and the fans.

It’s painfully obvious how good it would be. It’s all the more painful that Disney doesn’t see it. They lack the perspective. And I’m not certain they want to see it that way. How do we, the fans, show them?

Disney, take the lens cap off. You’re missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

2 Comments

  1. This is one movie I will NEVER even think about seeing or even renting! I’ve been a die hard Gargoyles fan since I was 12 years old! I’m 26 now. Gargoyles was a show I grew up with and was a place I learned many of lifes lessons from, as sad as that sounds. That show taught me what it is to hope, to try, and to overcome adversary. To take an show that was that important to even one person is beyond a lack of respect, especially to the creator. In high school I wrote a few short stories using Greg Weisman’s characters and now Ilve finished my first novel carrying the story of Goliath, Elisa, Angela, Broadway, Brooklyn, Hudson, Bronx, and everyone else on and I hope to someday be able to publish it. To be so disrespectful to every Gargoyle fan by refusing to carry on the series, to release the rest of season two and all of season three, and then to release news of a “Gargoyles” movie then tell us it has nothing to do with Greg Weisman’s creations…. Disney, you just lost at least one fan.

    Comment by Sgt Burtan Lafleur — August 26, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  2. You mention that “Gargoyles” came out at the same time as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1996. This info is erroneous as “Gargoyles” debuted on October 24, 1994 and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” didn’t come out until June 21, 1996. There really is no connection between the two other than the fact that both are properties owned by Disney and both featured characters that were gargoyles.

    However, you raise an interesting point.
    Disney holds the rights to numerous fantasy properties, “Gargoyles” among them, and it seems odd that at this time when the fantasy genre is so popular that Disney has failed to honor the show as it deserves to be honored. While a motion picture adaptation (or continuation) of the series has a great deal of potential, can we really expect Disney to do the series justice when they don’t have faith in it now and they didn’t back when it was on the air? Personally, I would be content to see Disney keep the distribution rights of the show, release the entire series in a remastered DVD set supervised by the show’s producers, and then give Greg Weisman the rights back to do with them as he sees fit. But in all probability, this won’t happen. Disney has a history of holding on to the rights of a franchise long after it ceased to be profitable for them. I mean, how long now have they held the rights to Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and failed to make a live-action film series out of that?

    Comment by Count Orlok '22 — September 1, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

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