If, back when children enjoyed the likes of Chutes and Ladders and Uncle Wiggly, and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, you found yourself playing a rousing game of Candy Land and thought, “Hey, this would make a terrific movie,” you probably should’ve become a studio executive. Because, like Clue, Battleship, Monopoly and Ouija, the Hasbro-owned game is winding its way toward the big screen. But that’s old news. The new news is what kind of movie Candy Land might be.
Candy Land, you see, is a fairly basic racing board game, with young players moving plastic gingerbread men along a winding, multicolored path on a nominal quest to find a lost king. On the way to the Candy Castle they try to avoid penalty spaces bearing names like “Lost in the Lollipop Woods” and “Stuck in the Molasses Swamp” while hoping to land on one of the two shortcuts, “Rainbow Trail” and “Gumdrop Pass.” Throw in some colorfully named characters like Lord Licorice and the Duke of Swirl, and voila! Hey, it’s for children ages 3 to 7.
So how might that premise translate to film? Think epic fantasy. Now think an Academy Award-winning epic fantasy. Oh, all right, think The Lord of the Rings! Really!
“We envision it as Lord of The Rings, but set in a world of candy,” screenwriter Jonathan Aibel, who co-wrote Kung Fu Panda 2 with Glenn Berger, tells Entertainment Weekly. See? Really. “We don’t see it as a movie based on a board game,” adds Berger, “although it has characters from that world and takes the idea of people finding themselves in a world that happens to be made entirely of candy where there are huge battles going on. We are going for real comedy, real action, and real emotions at stake.”
It sounds ridiculously high-concept and more than a little Sid and Marty Krofft — I’m thinking Lidsville, for some reason — but if Peter Berg can reimagine the guessing game Battleship as some kind of alien-invasion war movie, there’s little stopping Aibel, Berger & Co. from replicating Mordor using candy canes and gumdrops.
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