The Animated Films of Don Bluth|
by John Cawley
As Don heads past the half century mark, he continues planning pictures to intrigue audiences. Next to be completed is A TROLL IN CENTRAL PARK, while THUMBELINA has already begun production.
THE TROLL IN CENTRAL PARK
"It has many of the elements that THE LAND BEFORE TIME had. In particular, it deals with children and their relationship with an entity from another world. It's a kind of personality exchange between the three main characters - Stanley, a troll; a two-year old girl named Rosie and her seven-year-old brother Gus."
The current story for the film begins in the Kingdom of Trolls, where there is a problem. It is Stanley, a little troll with a green thumb, who is **nice**. Queen Gnorga doesn't want him to influence the other trolls, so she threatens to turn him into stone with her black thumb. But her wimpish husband, King Llort, suggests an even worse fate for Stanley: banishment to New York City. Gnorga agrees and whisks Stanley away in a flying cocoon. Stanley crashlands in Central Park and, after a harrowing escape from an angry squirrel, a restuarant waiter, a boy on a skateboard and a pack of dogs, he settles down under the bridge. With his green thumb, he creates a world of plant life to comfort him.
Meanwhile, a lawyer husband and his real estate-selling wife leave their children at home under the care of their nanny. 7- year-old Gus and his 2-year-old sister, Rosie, sneak out to Central Park to play with Gus' remote control toy boat. Rosie wanders off and finds Stanley in his cubby hole, where they become fast friends. He entertains her by creating some dancing pansies.
Gnorga checks up on Stanley with her magic viewing glass, and is disturbed that he's happy in Central Park. She also notes that Gus is rash and bad-tempered -- perfect traits for a troll, thus making him eligible to **become** a troll. Thus she and Llort transport themselves to Central Park, in a twister that destroys the Park.
Stanley and the kids try to escape Gnorga in a wagon, but Gnorga manages to seize Rosie. Gus tries to convince Stanley to help him rescue her, but Stanley is frightened of Gnorga's thumb. Gus tries to rescue his sister, but he too is caught. Stanley finally musters the courage to save his friends. Just as Gnorga is turning Gus into a troll, Stanley arrives and saves the kids using Gus's toy boat (enlarged, with leaves to make it fly). But Gnorga casts a spell on Gus, who now also has a black thumb to turn objects to stone. She commands him to press the thumb on Stanley who petrifies into rock. The boat deposits the kids back in their apartment, and Gus reverts back into human form. Gnorga and Llort, triumphant, return to their kingdom.
The next morning, the kids and their parents take the statue of Stanley back to the Park. Rosie kisses Stanley, and Gus touches him with his thumb, which has a greenish tint. As the family leaves the Park, the statue comes to life; Stanley is back to normal. Gnorga and Llort return for a rematch, but Stanley counters her black thumb with his green thumb, and she is consumed with flowers. Soon the Park, and then the city, blossoms with flowers.
Voices for the film include Disney live action veteran Hayley Mills and stage star Jonathan Pryce as the parents. Dom DeLuise voices Stanley, the troll. (Buddy Hackett originally recorded the voice, but was replaced.) Cloris Leachman is the villainous Queen Gnorga, while Charles Nelson Reilly plays King Llort. (Robert Morley recorded the character first, but was replaced early in production.)
The screenplay was written by Stu Krieger. Music will be handled by Robert Folk (ROCK-A-DOODLE).
The voice cast will include Jodie Benson (Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID) and Charo. Songs are being written by Barry Manilow.
IN THE FUTURE...
THE BABY BLUE WHALE
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
As work began on LAND, Don felt that BEAUTY would be his first independent picture. However in late 1986, the Disney Studio announced they were working on a version and by 1989 had begun full production (for a 1991 release). Knowing his version could not be completed before Disney's, Don dropped the project.
A SONG OF THE ICE WHALE
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text and format © John Cawley