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Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Variety broke the story that Jeff Stockwell will be writing a live-action adaptation of Miyazaki’s classic KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE for Disney. Personally, I hold this particular film dear because it was the first Miyazaki film I saw, and it was such a completely mind-blowing introduction to the work of this gentle artistic giant. I also think it has, hands-down, the best flying scenes in any film, animated or otherwise. There’s something so persuasive about the tactile details that Miyazaki makes sure to get right. When I met Miyazaki, I was supposed to be interviewing him about PRINCESS MONONOKE, but I'll confess that I kept steering things back to this film just because of how much it moved me, and how fresh it was in my mind.

I understand why Disney would want to do this. Eiko Kadano's books are just now being published in English, and they certainly stand a chance of tapping into the same sort of potent fantasy for kids that HARRY POTTER does. When Miyazaki made his film, he used the character to make some beautiful points about finding your place in this world and discovering what your potential is, then living up to it. It’s one of the only films I’ve ever seen for kids that really seems to be about instilling a work ethic, an unusual idea to say the least. Having not read the original novels, I’m not sure if that’s part of the books or something Miyazaki chose to add to them. I hope that producers Don Murphy, Susan Montford, and Mark Gordon take this new adaptation in a whole new direction, so we don’t spend time or energy trying to compare one version with another. Miyazaki’s film is a classic, not just out of his filmography but in terms of animation from anywhere in the world. This is a huge challenge for the creative team, but right now, Disney’s serious about tapping into these beloved properties like HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE and NARNIA and bringing them to life.

Best of luck on this one. Do it right, and it could be magical. And no matter what, I can always watch the animated version, so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that this honors the spirit of such an amazing character and introduces her to an even wider audience.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 4, 2005, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Another bad idea from Disney

    by Boxclocke

    Oh, and First

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 3:27 a.m. CST

    ...starring Dakota Fanning as Kiki

    by solowcx

    You know they will do it too, or some other person not right for the character at all.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 3:58 a.m. CST

    no need

    by Demosthenes2

    I love the movie, it's perfect, I don't want this at all, the animation is its beauty, I don't want to see it in live action, that's entirely uninteresting... Especially since a live-action wouldn't be as quiet as the original. That's what I found lovely was how quiet it could be, it didn't need to be the ADDness that is Disney corporate animation. I love how simple the animation looked, it really helped define the emotions for me, I don't need dimension to it, no no and no.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 4:11 a.m. CST

    This could be bad...

    by Andy_Christ

    But imagine a porno version.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 4:32 a.m. CST

    Oh, I just did imagine it!

    by Andy_Christ

    Her seating position on that broom would be different.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 5:15 a.m. CST

    It'll be americanized and modernized

    by SleepingCat

    Set either in New York, LA, or Boston. The boy will talk in hip hop. The zeppelin will be a Goodyear blimp during the Super Bowl. Oh dear!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 5:35 a.m. CST


    by theoneofblood

    Ok, this is just a blatantly stupid idea.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 6:29 a.m. CST

    I hate that "japanimation" stuff

    by numberface

    Learn to draw eyes, you bastards!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:08 a.m. CST

    it's being produced by the pussy Don Murphy

    by BurlIvesLeftNut

    Not only is he the only guy I know to suffer a yeast infection, but he drinks Lite beer.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:10 a.m. CST


    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    Strange as it may seem the reason Japanese animation has the eyes so BIG is because of american of the most well known animators after WWII was influenced by comics he read during the occupation of Japan unfortunately a lot of other artists copied him and the style is still used today

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:25 a.m. CST

    With THAT title...

    by Voice O. Reason

    ...I thought this was an article about porn.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:49 a.m. CST

    sweet effing lord

    by Shigeru

    this is a fucking terrible idea. please, you have raped miyazaki enough, Disney, STOP IT!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Wyrdy the Gerbil

    by numberface

    I was just being a jackass. but thanks for your kind and informative post. BTW, I know it's not "japanimation", I was just being silly. Maybe I should have left my comments off. But you know how it is when you think you're funny. Anyhow, thanks...

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 9:03 a.m. CST

    You know, that actually doesn't sound bad...

    by Anna Valerious

    And they could prolly get Janene Garofelo and Debbie Reynolds to reprise their roles from the dub. :)

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 9:15 a.m. CST

    yea, someone needs to red-light this, pronto

    by imageburn13

    Are there no original ideas any more? it seems like everyone is adapt and re-make and reap and pillage. They could re-issue a candy coated DVD of the myazaki classic and hype the shit out of it, that would be ok, becuase YOU JUST CANT TOUCH A CLASSIC. Not like this.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 9:25 a.m. CST

    I was thinking "this could be okay"...

    by kiddae

    ...until I realised that SleepingCat is 100% correct. Fuck.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 10:16 a.m. CST


    by Hatter

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Son of a....

    by Hatter

    This is the worst thing I've ever heard. Those scumbags at Disney... have they no shame? Miyazaki certainly would never authorize this... since when was the option to make cheapquels in the Disney-Tokuma deal?!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 11 a.m. CST

    Based off the book?


    Remember? Its a book first miyazaki film second. Yeah I think this is a bad idea...but how does it tarnish miyazakis film? Miyazakis kiks delivery service will always be there.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Article Contains Useful Details...

    by ll1234

    Like the fact that Miyazaki's film is based off a series of books just like this live-action adaptation. It won't be a "cheapquel" since 1) Not animated and 2) the storyline is another take on the original source material. Miyazaki's authorization isn't necessary since there's no connection.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 11:35 a.m. CST

    yeah I bet.

    by Shigeru

    Yeah I am completely positive that the Disney shitbags that ok'ed this were thinking "It won't be anything like the Miyazaki version, we are going strictly by the novel and ignoring the animated version." Riiiight. Bad enough that we get crap Miyazaki dvd releases with two discs just so we can get james van der beek commenting on how radical this cartoon thingy is. Wow I am feeling venomous today.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 12:24 p.m. CST

    No Phil Hartman for the voice of the cat, I suppose

    by Ye Not Guilty

    Will the cat even talk?

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by morGoth

    ...sadly, Phil Hartmann is quite, y'know, dead. Sigh...his voice will be missed.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 12:42 p.m. CST

    I've got a GREAT idea!...

    by Stan the Bat

    I think they should have Jennifer Love Hewitt play Kiki. Then her cat could be Garfield! And instead of rooming in a bakery, they could live in a lasagne store. Then Garfield could be constantly- get this- EATING THE LASAGNE!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 12:44 p.m. CST

    No, but seriously...

    by Stan the Bat

    ...why settle for merely making a shitty, lifeless, awful movie when you COULD be making a shitty, lifeless, awful VERSION of a movie that already exists in a nearly-perfect form? That way your movie can suffer by comparison, AND besmirch the memory of the original- all while creating a generation of moviegoers who only know the movie in its shittier, McCulture incarnation! It's like killing two birds that are the last mated pair of an endangered species with one stone!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 2:26 p.m. CST

    What's all this "Shame on Disney" bullshit?

    by Wee Willie

    Yeah, How dare they be in the business of making movies and entertainment? Where do they get off acquiring properties and turning them into films! You guys are a bunch of whiners. I remmeber when they were going to do 3-D animation versions of all the classics, you fags were all "Disney is raping my childhood!" Shut up already. Fuck! The Disney versions won't diminish the originals, unless of course you're a fat hypersensitive loser who lives in his Mom's basement watching DVD's all day. And I can say that because I'm fat(ish). More just soft in the middle. But at least I own my own place. Losers! Gah!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 2:28 p.m. CST

    That's it! I have had it with Di$ney!

    by mbaker

    All these bastards know how to do is make sequles, and remakes! Do they have the slightest idea of what an original idea is?! Do they honestly think that we're stupid enough to think that the endless string of sequles (read 'video babysitters') are just as great as their classics?, And do they really think that we'll see the latest derivitive, formulaic crap that they shove down our throats? (And i'm still waiting for 'DuckTales' episodes to arrive on DVD!) WAKE THE FUCK UP, DI$NEY! Your movies are becoming tired, and sophmoric! Grow some balls, and do something groundbreaking for a change!

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Wee Willie

    by Shigeru

    I think we stopped listening when you pulled the whole "living in your Mom's basement" thing... give me a break, bringing out that tired cliche...

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 3:44 p.m. CST

    I love you guys! Wonderful feedback, all.

    by bubcus

    I am kind of liking this Kiki porn idea someone brought up. I could totally picture that... and there goes my mind. ANYWAY!! I agree that this is a bad idea for Disney, or at least it's one that makes me really really skeptical. Personally, I'd love to see the Miyazaki crew do little half hour Totoro cartoons for kids and maybe half hour cartoons of the continuing adventures of Kiki... all as Japanese Anime. That's where these stories truly belong.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 4:44 p.m. CST

    'Wee Willie'- how did you arrive at that user ID, just out of cu

    by Stan the Bat

    Disney has been barfing up the same treacly, gender-stereotyped movie over and over again for 25 years. If you want more of the prechewed food they're serving, then step up to the trough with your nine bucks and eat hearty. For my part, I'll be taking my daughter to see Howl's Moving Castle and the Wallace and Gromit feature this year, because I trust Miyazaki and Nick Park with my money and my kid's time- I know they're going to deliver something masterful, and not just a 90-minute commercial for a line of toys.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 4:58 p.m. CST

    I came by this nickname because I have a tiny weiner

    by Wee Willie

    And I didn't say I liked Disney's stuff, I'm just sick of reading all the whining that goes on months and months bfore they make a film. All that whining is childish, purile. and totally sounds like the opinions of people who don't get out into the "real" world very often. Maybe my description of the whiners was a 'tired cliche'" but it seemed to have struck a nerve...

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Burn Disney, Nina Jacobsen & Don Murphy at the stake. THIS IS SA


    You know, it's bad enough how horribly Disney has mismanaged the entire Miyazaki film catalog without remaking them into more crappy Don Murphy bastardizations. ("LXG", anyone?) KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE is a perfect, classic, timeless masterpiece that's metaphysically impossible to equal, much less improve upon. Letting Disney and Don Murphy remake it is as sick and wrong an idea as making a TOY STORY sequel without Pixar. (Oh, wait...) Goddammit, Disney -- instead of badly remaking Miyazaki masterpieces, why don't you properly market and distribute them? I DESPISE YOU.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 7:50 p.m. CST

    'Gentle' is the word

    by Wild At Heart

    Great description Moriarty. It's exactly the reason that Miyazaki's films are so life-affirming and resonant. I'm tired of the Cult of Attitude that permeates the majority of Western films these days. Miyazaki's films have real soul. They're not aggressively pushing an agenda. They're not trying to subliminally twist the viewer into knots. They are just gentle, sweet parables that speak to the child in all of us - the stuff of a great, timeless filmmaker.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:05 p.m. CST

    As for Disney's plans...

    by Wild At Heart

    the horror, the horror. The whole idea is anal warts.

  • Feb. 4, 2005, 8:44 p.m. CST

    Don't forget,, three new Miyazaki DVDs out this month.

    by tbrosz

    Including Nausicaa!

  • Feb. 5, 2005, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Dear Disney,

    by BV

    NAUSICAA, you stupid FUCKS! it took you 10 years to release the damned thing to DVD, make up for it by growing a pair, ceasing to make crappy musicals, and make a live action film that kicks my ass! Like a live action NAUSICAA! Jesus H. Christ, Disney! At least you're giving us more Pirates.

  • Feb. 5, 2005, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Because anybody cares what I have to say...

    by Ribbons

    ...I think that Disney would be best-off if they didn't try to Anglicize the story too much. Miyazaki's movies, animated though they may be, tap the vein with a Western audience regardless. And 'Spirited Away' took place in a bathhouse, dammit! Granted these are, technically speaking, adaptations of Eiko Kadano's work and not Hayao Miyazaki's, but the fact that his take leaves an imprint on most people who watch it should support the argument to leave well enough alone.

  • Feb. 6, 2005, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Lots of potential

    by turk128

    This could work as long as Disney puts as much effort into it as WB does for Harry Potter. Keep it faithful, pump in alot of nostalgia, and most important, do not set it in a modern urban setting!

  • Feb. 7, 2005, 9:17 a.m. CST

    A Live Action NAUSICAA could be Amazing

    by Drath

    The Manga, much much longer than the movie, could make for a great Lord of the Rings set of movies. Not that I expect it to be done right or anything. Cate Blanchett would be a great Kushana though.