Dark Horse Entertainment is certainly not a comic book powerhouse to match the likes of Marvel or DC; however, it’s slowly but surely getting more involved in the film adaptation game (besides Hellboy, that is). There’s R.I.P.D. – with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges – on the horizon, and now another unusual supernatural-themed graphic novel-turned-movie, Beasts of Burden.
Andrew Adamson (director of the first two Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia movies) is producing the Beats of Burden adaptation with his Strange Weather Films partner Aron Warner. The project is being planned as an all CG-animated feature.
Eisner Award-winners Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson co-wrote the original Beasts of Burden comic book, which takes place in the seemingly picture-perfect suburban landscape of Burden Hill. In reality, the small town is protected by a gang of dogs and one cat (a.k.a. the Wise Dog Society) who battle sinister supernatural forces such as cannibalistic frogs, tormented specters, a diabolical rat society, and an assortment of witches and ghouls out to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting residents of Burden Hill.
According to Heat Vision, Beasts of Burden will be brought to life via CGI by Real FX Creative Studios. The company was also responsible for the all computer-animated 2007 TMNT movie, and developed digital visuals for films ranging from What Dreams May Come to Spider-Man 2 – not to mention, the effects work on the fifth and sixth season of Joss Whedon’s original Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
Talking animal stories are generally assumed to be all-ages friendly material, but Beasts of Burden very much lends itself to older readers with its combination of darker humor and horror elements. Bringing Real FX onboard to animate the movie adaptation makes all the more sense in that regard, since the company seems to specialize in designing fantastical creatures and beasts that are often both amusing and creepy in appearance.
Adamson’s interest in the project makes more sense in that light as well; his previous directorial efforts were certainly accessible to younger viewers, but the content (see: the risque humor in Shrek or the strong religious overtones in Chronicles of Narnia) was often geared towards older moviegoers. Even though he’ll only be serving as a producer on Beasts of Burden, the project could end up bearing a significant resemblance to Adamson’s other films – with regards to the overall tone.
Beasts of Burden also reads as being a more overtly supernatural and mature variation on the “Howliday Inn” book series by James and Deborah Howe (see: “Bunnicula”). That alone makes the Beasts movie adaptation sound like a potentially fun and entertaining picture – assuming you’re even remotely familiar with either Dorkin and Thompson’s source material, or the Howes’ literature.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Beasts of Burden as more information is released.