There are so many Disney theme park attraction-based movies in some stage of development right now that it’s difficult to keep tabs on them all. Besides Jon Favreau’s Magic Kingdom project and the Guillermo del Toro-supervised Haunted Mansion reboot (you read that correctly), there’s also Jungle Cruise with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen loosely attached to star – and a cinematic take on the Mouse House’s abandoned Museum of the Weird.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is now joining the ranks of other Disney park rides headed for the big screen. That film version of the long-running Disneyland staple – which is partially based on the Mouse House’s famous “Wind in the Willows” animated short adaptation that served as one-half of the 1949 release The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – will be directed by commercial/music video helmer Pete Candeland (no joke).
Candeland began his filmmaking career at Disney, working as an animator on TV cartoon fare like Bonkers and the Aladdin television spinoff series – along with such direct-to-video features as The Return of Jafar and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. He moved on to provide animation for titles ranging from the ‘toon sequel All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 to the Tank Girl movie, before collaborating with The Gorillaz on a few of their music videos.
That’s all to say: Candeland was clearly recruited for the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride movie because of his experience as a visual artist (rather than a storyteller), similar to how production designer Robert Stromberg was hired on to direct Disney’s Maleficent project. Deadline says that Disney hasn’t even found a screenwriter for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride yet – preferring to instead get going first on the look for the live-action/CGI hybrid flick.
Curiously enough, the “plot” (if you can call it that) of the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride… ride is actually pretty straight-forward – and not just a direct rehash of the storyline for Wind in the Willows. Instead, it follows the ill-behaved Mr. Toad on an variety of hair-brained ventures which eventually (literally) land him in Hell. Whether or not the film version will feature quite so bold and darkly whimsical a plot twist, well, there’s good reason to wonder about that.
All the same, that Disney would move ahead with a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride movie next is kind of unexpected – especially when there are other rides that seem to lend themselves more readily to a cinematic interpretation (ex. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as a western/adventure). Of course, many people will probably be too busy shaking their heads in disbelief upon hearing this news to think about such issues, but still…
What are your thoughts/feelings about a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride movie? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.