Fox Animation and ‘Trolls’ Director Making a ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ Movie
Dragons seem to be one of pop cultures fantasy mainstays: How to Train Your Dragon was so popular it got a sequel and is getting another, Peter Jackson’t Hobbit movies brought a motion-capture Smaug to the big-screen, and this year’s heartwarming Pete’s Dragon made our list of the best summer movies of 2016. With a lull in dragon content before HTTYD 3 arrives, Fox Animation announced today that it has acquired the film rights to what is arguably the saddest song in the whole world: Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon.”
The ’60s folk standard is a pretty loose basis for a film, telling the story of a dragon who lives the ocean in a place called Honalee, who befriends a young boy who’s very shy. The boy eventually grows up and, spoiler alert, forgets about poor Puff, who is so upset he sheds his scales and retreats back into his cave. Deadline reports that the director of Trolls, Mike Mitchell, is taking on the project, so we’re hopeful that he can come up with a better ending, since Trolls was the most unabashedly happy movie of this year. Puff will be a combination CGI-live-action hybrid.
The song inspired a couple of short made-for-TV cartoons in the late ’70s that taught kids about lying and being shy, so there’s plenty of story potential here. Although there might also be a danger of it being a bit too much like Pete’s Dragon — boy meets dragon, boy and dragon have adventures, boy comes of age and leaves dragon, etc. Then again, Mitchell did manage to create a whole feature film based on a fluffy-haired toy, so hopefully there’s enough creativity involved here to make an original story out of this. Maybe it’s time for a girl to meet a dragon for a change.