The unsuccessful Legend of Zelda CG movie pitch from Imagi Animation

Imagi Animation Studios, best known for their work on the theatrical TMNT and Astro Boy, once pitched a CG film based on the world of The Legend of Zelda.

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Imagi Animation Studios, best known for their work on the theatrical TMNT and Astro Boy, once pitched a CG film based on the world of The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo didn't pick it up.

Superannation (via Kotaku) discovered the clip in an animator's portfolio. The pitch came in 2007, and is a rather big-budget look at what could have been.

From The Chatty
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    August 2, 2013 10:35 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, The unsuccessful Legend of Zelda CG movie pitch from Imagi Animation.

    Imagi Animation Studios, best known for their work on the theatrical TMNT and Astro Boy, once pitched a CG film based on the world of The Legend of Zelda.

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      August 2, 2013 10:48 AM

      Pretty darn slick for a mock-up. I'd love to see a Zelda movie on the big screen, even knowing how videogame movies turn out. Who cares, really. Laugh at or love the film, then go back to enjoying your favorite games.

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      August 2, 2013 11:55 AM

      that'd be an amazing saturday cartoon show

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      August 2, 2013 11:56 AM

      Hands up if all you were waiting for link to say : "Well excuuuUUuuuuuUUuuse me princess."

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        August 2, 2013 12:30 PM

        /me raises both of his antenna(s/e) up. ;)

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      August 2, 2013 12:12 PM

      This shows that the Zelda world is generic and bland. They're fantastic games but there isn't much interesting about the fiction itself. Princess, sword wielding hero, etc.

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        August 2, 2013 12:40 PM

        Well, it is a mockup video. It exists as a sort of proof of concept that Imagi wanted to show to Nintendo or whoever. Second, the Zelda universe is anything but bland. Some of the individual games come across that way, but that's mostly due to technological limitations. Also, traveling and most major events in fantasy worlds take place in wide-open plains, mountains, rivers, and so on. Characters venture into more populated areas on occasion, then head back out into the wild. Zelda's no different.

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          August 2, 2013 12:42 PM

          Also, keep in mind that Imagi would have fleshed out the world considerably if Nintendo had given the film the green light. Movies, unlike games, are built around talking and character interaction, so the movie would have featured much more lore, races, and locations than we see in the games.

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            August 2, 2013 2:42 PM

            What would have been in the movie that would be uniquely Zelda?

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              August 2, 2013 3:45 PM

              Octoroks! Tektites! Maybe even some Like Likes if we were lucky

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        August 2, 2013 12:41 PM

        Yeah, no. That post just shows that you're not familiar with the fiction.

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          August 2, 2013 2:41 PM

          Ok I'm willing to admit that if you can describe what they could put in that trailer that would be unique to the Zelda most people know and would not be yet another generic fantasy universe?

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            August 2, 2013 4:05 PM

            You can claim that about anything that has a guy with a sword. Once you start talking about the legend of the triforce, the powers and how the world is set up that is the story.

            But if you want to be so general then yes legend of zelda=lord of the rings=conan=princess bride.

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              August 2, 2013 4:39 PM

              No way! At the very least, LOTR has a very unconventional hero in Frodo being a non combat oriented underdog. Or Princess Bride's unconventional humor or Conan's wanton uncouth nature. They all have interesting takes on either character or universe or tone or something. Link is a blank protagonist and the Zelda universes is largely constructed for the sake of good level design rather than unique thematic elements, at least the older iconic ones were. I think you could make a case for Twilight Princess or Wind Wakef having a more unique palate to work with

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                August 2, 2013 4:44 PM

                You're arguing for a favorite, not making any real argument here.

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                  August 2, 2013 5:37 PM

                  Sorry, I think my point wasn't clear because you misunderstood it. Those other stories have unique interesting qualities baked into their protagonist or tone or setting. Canonical Zelda does not. Take that trailer and swap out costumes, and you would not even recognize it remotely as Zelda.

                  I think you are right in that the later titles have far more going for them. The trouble I think is that people's nostalgia thinks of Zelda as the NES and SNES titles. I think you could make a fantastic movie out of Skyward Sword or Wind Waker, but people expect the original or maybe Kink to the Past

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                    August 2, 2013 6:44 PM

                    No, I understood it fine. I just think it's fatuous.

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                August 2, 2013 5:37 PM

                There are tons of fantasy with a non combat type main character, and they are all underdogs, and what fantasy series doesn't have the conan type barbarian? all very much stereo types. I'm not saying they are bad. I love most of those examples, but they are all fantasy stereo types.

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                  August 2, 2013 5:51 PM

                  Can you name any that are household names? Frodo is probably a prototypical underdog, since his hero trait is his incorruptibility and maybe his friendship with others. Are there many other major works make a main hero out of that kind of character?

                  I will admit that Conan is probably an outdated fiction, since I assume he was a precursor to all these other titles you speak of. Though I guess many would argue that no one is quite like Conan.

                  I suppose what I'm trying to say is that if you consider LOTR to be generic, then Zelda must be super generic.

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                    August 2, 2013 6:00 PM

                    lotr is as generic as you can get, archer elf, ax wielding dwarf, deposed king that has to rise up to thwart evil.

                    I guess it comes down to that you think zelda is generic fantasy, and I am stating that by your definition all fantasy is generic. It's only one you delve into the source material and learn about the world that it becomes less generic.

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                      August 2, 2013 6:10 PM

                      You're right, but it's hard to agree because arguably, LOTR is what started it all. It'd be like saying Citizen Kane is not an innovative movie because all these other movies copied it decades later.

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                        August 2, 2013 6:53 PM

                        On this point, at least, we agree. Hard to overstate LOTR's importance.

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            August 2, 2013 4:25 PM

            Sure. From the odd digital nature that Zelda's gods and magic sometimes take (even down to the Skyward Sword being some weird divine program), the fantastic music, even the cycle of rebirth and challenge between the heroes and Ganon, there's plenty there.

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              August 2, 2013 4:43 PM

              Can you be more specific

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              August 2, 2013 5:34 PM

              The cycle of heroes is a meta idea to tie together products, not a story. It does not ever enter into the mythology in a concrete way, nor does it pose any conflict to the characters. It's hard to say that it's anything you would write a movie around.

              Good music is not story.

              The few times that odd digital nature came about were only in the later Zelda's and not really a major part of the mythology or tone or characters.

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                August 2, 2013 6:25 PM

                The cycle link and zelda's reincarnations was actually referenced quite heavily in wind waker.

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                  August 2, 2013 6:50 PM

                  I played through half that game and don't remember that. Was it a plot point or Easter egg?

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                    August 2, 2013 6:52 PM

                    It was kinda the point behind why the world was even in that flooded state, and was directly referenced by both the King and Ganon.

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                      August 2, 2013 6:55 PM

                      Ok that's pretty rad. Like I said, I think you're right in that Wind Waker and the newer titles could be interesting movies

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                August 2, 2013 6:45 PM

                You're simply wrong as to your first point, and you never specified "story". You simply dismiss anything people bring up that doesn't agree with your original stated point with no real basis; you're not interested in reassessing your initial claim.

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                  August 2, 2013 6:49 PM

                  I mean, fuck, that's literally and directly what Skyward Sword was all about. It was one big explanation as to why that cycle exists and how it started.

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                    August 2, 2013 6:52 PM

                    So the reason why a Zelda movie would be interesting is because there are many Links? Like Neo in the Matrix?

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                      August 2, 2013 6:56 PM

                      There could be drama in that idea, certainly - the weight of living up to that legend and lineage, for example.

                      And of course, I never said that was the reason. It was one possible example of something fairly unique.

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                        August 2, 2013 6:59 PM

                        That would be a nice little character flair. A screenwriter would need to give Link a more central conflict though. Something more than just, oh no I gotta save the world.

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                          August 2, 2013 7:10 PM

                          Oh, sure, but many of the games have that. In Ocarina you've got a Link who finds out he's not what he grew up thinking he was and ends up more or less cut off from the family he grew up with. In Twilight Princess he's initially just trying to lift a curse and then gets pulled into the larger issues of the world. Skyward Sword has the added romance with Zelda, etc.

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                  August 2, 2013 6:49 PM

                  I actually did reassess and say that the later titles could work, up above in your other subthread. You can't even tell when people are agreeing with you!

                  Also I did specify fiction.

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      August 2, 2013 12:13 PM

      I can see why it was canned.

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        August 2, 2013 12:43 PM

        yup. glad it didn't go through.

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      August 2, 2013 12:52 PM

      That looked terrible. It's just proof of concept, but it looked pretty generic. And I didn't like the look of the characters.

      I don't think anyone could ever do Zelda right. Maybe Pixar. I'd be more interested in seeing a Metroid film.

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        August 2, 2013 1:51 PM

        To do it right, it would have to be a really strong (voice-)actress who could carry the entire movie herself. I'm not even entirely convinced it could be done in a way that would attract general audiences. The closest I can think of without going into semi-experimental stuff is I Am Legend or to go with Pixar, WALL-E.

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      August 2, 2013 1:01 PM

      it does look a lot like TMNT, maybe Nintendo wanted something that looked different from previous work.

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      August 2, 2013 2:52 PM

      did anyone mirror it?

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      August 2, 2013 3:19 PM

      That is one smooth looking Ganon.

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      August 2, 2013 4:46 PM

      i hate that dreamworks smirk look.

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      August 3, 2013 3:57 PM

      No way a Zelda movie would work. He's a silent protagonist.