According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount and director Neil Burger (The Illusionist) are in talks to bring the classic children’s tale Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH to the big screen. The film is expected to be a combination of live action and CGI, similar to the recent live-action adaptation of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
For those unfamiliar with Robert C. O’Brien’s original book, which received the 1972 Newbery medal, Rats of NIMH revolves around the titular character of Mrs. Frisby and her efforts to move her sick son to safety before the farmer begins his spring plowing. To help her son, Mrs. Frisby brings him to a sophisticated community of former lab rats from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
At one point in my life, I’m pretty sure I read this book. Unfortunately, years of television and video games must have taken my memories of it. However, I do recall Don Bluth’s 1982 film The Secret of NIMH, which, though often overlooked in comparison to Disney’s animated films, is now considered something of a classic. By the way, if you feel like watching The Secret of NIMH, you can check it out here at Hulu.
I’m interested to see how fans of the original book, as well as the Don Bluth film, will react to this new version of the story. The one thing that I remember the most about NIMH is that, although it is a children’s story, it is definitely not cutesy. In fact, the more I think about Bluth’s 1982 film, the more I feel that a live-action/CGI hybrid could take away some of the emotional depth that made the story so successful. I’m sure that it can be done – it seems like there’s a new advance in CGI everyday – I’m just not sure that it should be done.
What do you think? Would you like to see a new version of NIMH, or should Paramount have left this story alone?