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New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

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New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby aerostarmonk » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:55 am

More exciting news from out of Dreamworks

It seems they're planning their first musical since Prince of Egypt. It's called Monkeys of Bollywood and as /film states...

/Film wrote:We had heard rumblings that DreamWorks Animation was developing a computer animated Bollywood movie, but had not heard much in terms of details until now. The company has announced via Variety that they have hired composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours), Broadway lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Enchanted, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas) and husband-and-wife producing team Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges (Bend It Like Beckham, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging) to work on the animation studio’s first animated feature musical.


More can be found here.

I'm pretty excited by the news of Dreamworks branching out lately. It seems they're headed for even bigger and risky things. I'm almost certain that the del Toro stuff will net them their first PG-13. And it's nice to see other cultures on display in a very white and/or Christian dominated medium. No offense to members who are white and/or Christian.
Last edited by aerostarmonk on Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ellie-jessie-eve » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:41 am

Stephen Schwartz? Sweet, I'm glad to see he's on board for this!

I like all aspects of this film, besides it's title. It's inspiration sounds fantastic, it's a musical, and I appriciate Indian culture. I'm glad to see movie featuring it (you can't really count The Jungle Book too much on the native Culture part of India)

I personally feel that there's a lot of animated films out there that aren't a part of "white Christian media". A lot of animated films borrow from other cultures (Some examples that come to mind are the Jazz music in Princess and the Frog, the Inuit mythology in Brother Bear, and Documenteries with animated segments like Saludos Amigos).
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Postby thedriveintheatre » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:25 am

Cool! I love diverse cultures being represented in films.

But I'm concerned that some Indians might take offense at the title. I mean seriously... monkeys? Couldn't they have chosen another animal instead?
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Postby ellie-jessie-eve » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:41 am

thedriveintheatre wrote:But I'm concerned that some Indians might take offense at the title. I mean seriously... monkeys? Couldn't they have chosen another animal instead?


That's an interesting point, I hope no one gets too upset about it. Maybe the title will be changed for the Indian version, but I'm sure someone in India would find out what the original title is.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby JustSteve » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:49 am

aerostarmonk wrote:I'm pretty excited by the news of Dreamworks branching out lately. It seems they're headed for even bigger and risky things.


Ditto! This is excellent news, thanks for posting.

thedriveintheatre wrote:I'm concerned that some Indians might take offense at the title. I mean seriously... monkeys? Couldn't they have chosen another animal instead?


Monkeys are revered in India. There's a connection to Hanuman (the ape-god) in there somewhere.
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Postby thedriveintheatre » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:04 am

Hmmm.. I guess I jumped too quickly to a conclusion, JustSteve. But like EJE said, hopefully all Asian-Indians understand the title and take it in context. Dreamworks has to really choose its title words carefully lest it incur the wrath of sensitive fans (Exhibit A: Tangled).

I'm really proud that Dreamworks is really pushing the boundaries, especially after they've taken on so many different cultures and settings like China (Kung Fu Panda, their best work yet that plays equally as a homage and parody of Chinese culture), Scandinavia (HTTYD), and Africa (Madagascar 2, though mostly in setting and not much of the culture sadly). And of course, there's their earlier traditionally-animated films like Spirit, Road to El Dorado and Prince of Egypt that portrays Native American, Latin American, and Middle Eastern influences respectively.

Pixar is starting to do this now with Cars 2 and Brave, but most of its movies (especially Cars) is distinctly set in America or if it is a fantasy location, has American influences (like Monsters Inc and The Incredibles). Finding Nemo has been their most 'overseas' film to date.

Anyway, to get back on-topic: Monkeys+Bollywood+Ramayana Epic=Awesum.
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Postby Basil » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:01 am

>New Dreamworks Musical!
Oh boy, I loved The Prince of Egypt! I hope they're doing something goo-
>"Monkeys of Bollywood"
Oh god, they're gonna drive themselves into the ground with that title, aren't th-
>Stephen Schwartz
YES!
>AR Rahman
NO!
>Bollywood story about the Ramayana with monkeys
MAYBE!

Not sure if want.
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Controversy Already Becomes An Issue

Postby aerostarmonk » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:42 pm

Ain't It Cool News wrote:Hindus concerned about DreamWorks’ “Monkeys of Bollywood”




Expressing concern at the recently announced animated musical “Monkeys of Bollywood”, Hindus have urged its proposed maker DreamWorks Animation to be careful in handling Hindu concepts and terminology.



Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that since the reported movie announcement claimed it to be “inspired” by timeless epic Ramayan and Ramayan being a highly revered scripture of Hinduism, film should stay true to the story and the spirit of Ramayan. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes results in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.



More can be found here. TDIT totally called it on this one and even underestimated the reaction.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby ellie-jessie-eve » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:30 am

Well, at least it's getting attention so far away!

I do hope they treat the story with respect. But when you do stories off of legends or religious text that are important to a culture, there will be controversy, none the less.

Reminds me of Pocahontas, the modern Powhatan people are not impressed with Disney's version at all.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby Czarine » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:58 pm

Hmmm, I'm not sure what to think of this. I feel silly for being skeptic about this while all I know is at the moment is the title. I hope Dreamworks manages to prove me wrong once more. :)

@TDIT, I don't see how you could be offended as an Indian.I f you look at it that way, you can feel offended by any anthropomorphic character they could come up with. Monkeys are our closest relatives when it comes to species. :)

I didn't hear black protests against the Lion King because all the 'evil hyenas' were voiced by black people. Their voice simply suited the characters more, Disney would be the last company to try to portray a race as evil or inferior with their movies.

I guess what matters is how they portray them in the movie, not which animal species they chose to represent them. :)
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby mentalguru » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:21 pm

Czarine wrote: Disney would be the last company to try to portray a race as evil or inferior with their movies.



Uuuuuuuh. Well not so much in modern times (at least not delibrately in any case), but um, in their old pieces they were exceedingly controversial. Like in the original Fantasia... well, look up their Centaur controversey.

Walt himself was also apparently pretty racist himself in general.

Also their WW2 films? Oh good grief.

Of course we're supposed to know better these days. But racially advanced Disney hasn't ever been compared to the rest of the world. At best they at times reflected the general attitudes at the time or at least what Walt or the writers held. Which wasn't really always PC. Disney is not at the forefront of racial rights and never has been. They're just better now because while not perfect American society is better in that respect.

But I'll just assume you more or less mean nowadays.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby thedriveintheatre » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:27 pm

Ohohoho... here comes the pain, Dreamworks. :) Thanks for the link, aerostarmonk.

This is a potential minefield here, as AICN illustrated, it's like taking fables from the Bible and replacing the characters with animals. Personally, I'm okay with anthropomorphic renditions of folktales (I view the Ramayana as something like Journey to the West, more of a fable than a sacred religious text). And Dreamworks has always paid respect to foreign cultures and sensitivities (again, Kung Fu Panda is a prime example).

There will always be people who are easily offended, or have different sensibilities. Dreamworks is really walking the tightrope here, but I have confidence it'll pull it off (unless the teaser is extremely insulting or something).

I didn't hear black protests against the Lion King because all the 'evil hyenas' were voiced by black people.

Actually, only one (Shenzi) was voiced by a black person (Whoopi Goldberg). The rest were voiced by a Latino (Cheech Marin) and white guy (Jim Cummings). :P

That's not to say there have been peculiar conspiracy theories about Disney being racist or anti-whatevers, but I won't bother elaborating that here.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby mentalguru » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:08 pm

He did definitly state however he didn't want African Americans working in Disney land thinking it would 'spoil the illusion'.

So not exactly a conspiracy at all, and there is a basis for it not to mention of course some of his cartoons, a few have been edited of course. Sometimes things are overblown, sometimes not. With cartoons which protrayed the Japanese were redicously offensive- like pretty much all WW2 cartoons. It wasn't anything particulary special in that department at the time, since everyone was doing it really- so Disney gets undue attention for this really since well, WB did the exact same thing at the time and we don't see they rung out as much for it for some reason (maybe because Disney is supposed to be more 'moral' or something IDEK.). So did probably anyone producing cartoons at the time given the way society seemed to be or go for. But is it still racist? Of course it is. It's not really characters like the Dumbo crows but actually say Sunflower, the removed aspect of Fantasia I have issue with. Of course by 1960 they tried to forget that character even existed so they were starting to learn and Walt too I guess since he was alive. But the idea that there has never been racial intolerance in Disney is a fallacy.

In any case, Disney was about as racially advanced as society was at the time, which wasn't really very at all. Walt himself was an entertainer. There are various groups who hated him and loved him. It's not to say he eventually changed his mind about certain aspects, but overall he did have racist points and aspects in his life which cannot be denied.

In the end of course the company only got better because society didn't reflect those ideas as acceptable. It's a feedback loop however in the end- the media consumed can in effect reflect the ideas of the society but in effect media can sometimes affect society too.
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Re:

Postby Spirit of Adventure » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:16 pm

thedriveintheatre wrote:But I'm concerned that some Indians might take offense at the title. I mean seriously... monkeys? Couldn't they have chosen another animal instead?


Monkeys are very important on the Indian culture, so it's a appropriate chose, i guess.
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Re: New Musical From Dreamworks Animation Announced

Postby Czarine » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:39 pm

Even if Dreamworks ridicules them, it's their right. As Hans Teeuwen (a Dutch comedian) would say:
"Everything that has some kind of status also has a kind of power. And my one condition for power is that it has to be able to be ridiculed for the sake of humor. When you can't do that anymore, you'll get scary situations like censorship, prosecutions, or even terrorist attacks or assassinations. That's a world I wouldn't want to live in..."

Even if you see your beliefs as sacred or holy, you must be able to take a joke. :) But I trust Dreamworks will treat their culture with respect anyway.
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