Sep 9, 2010

The Newt That Wasn't

There are many Pixar films coming in out in the next few years, but the one that I had been most excited about was to be called Newt, summarized thusly (courtesy of aintitcool):

Set to be released in Summer of 2011, directed by Gary Rydstrom, who is famous for working sound design for Cameron, Lucas and Spielberg as well as directing the great Pixar short LIFTED.

Rydstrom came out wheeling a complicated 9 part Newt mating ritual chart, like you’d find in a science lab or biology class.

Rydstrom says the film is about the last two blue footed newts on this earth, a male and a female, who are thrown together by science and can’t stand each other.

Newt, our lead, has been in captivity since he was a tadpole. He’s lonely. His only friend is a lifeless sock puppet. He can see the mating ritual chart from his cage and practices day in and day out, getting ready for scientists to capture him a girlfriend. “And who can’t relate to that?” asks Rydstrom.

Unfortunately, the 9th and final step is obscured by a Mr. Coffee, so he doesn’t know how the ritual ends. “It’s the way of life. You wanna know step 9 and there’s a Mr. Coffee in front of it.”

Brook is the name of the last female Blue-Footed Newt. She is in the wild and has no idea she’s the last female of her species. She escapes all sorts of dangers in her day to day life, including being evasive of these crazy biologists who are always chasing her. Rydstrom describes her evasive capabilities as making her an “amphibious Errol Flynn.”

One day they catch her and bring her back to the lab and present her to Newt. They have “the world’s worst first date” before through circumstance they both end up in the wild. Newt is worthless out here, but Brook gets him through the trials.

They meet a character named Eddie, a giant Hellbender Salamander, who is a ladies man and passes along his incredibly shallow ideas of love to Newt. Of course, they predictably don’t work.

“Newt is a movie about how finding a mate never goes as you expect even, make that especially, if you only have one choice.”

Looked cute enough, but I didn’t really see enough to really feel strongly one way or the other. I loved what Rydstrom did with LIFTED, so I’m game to see him take on this project.

This was going to be great. It would be classic Pixar--taking on serious subjects in a meaningful but lighthearted way. Think of Toy Story and friendship/jealousy, Finding Nemo and being a good parent, Cars and controlling one's ego, or Ratatouille and finding value in seemingly valueless places. Each story isn't only beautiful in a visual sense, but also substantive in its story. Newt was going to take on love--what a great subject for Pixar to tackle!

Unfortunately, they cancelled the project. Perhaps it will be resurrected sometime in the future, like the 27th Amendment, but I'm not banking on it. The company did, however, release a bunch of the concept art on its facebook page last week. Below are a few of my favorites, but I'd encourage you to take a look at all of them!

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