We’ve seen a lot of Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement (arguably the stylistic Ilana to Bret McKenzie’s subtler Abbi) beyond the duo’s performances and former TV show, but Bret McKenzie has been a bit less of a presence in entertainment news. However, the Tracking Board reports that he’s currently writing a fantasy film for Warner Brothers called Moonland, which he’s developing with The Muppets director James Bobin. (McKenzie was the music supervisor for that film, as well as Muppets Most Wanted, as Indiewire notes.)
As fantasy films often do, this follows the usual format of a child discovering a magic object that transports them elsewhere: here, it’s a flying bike that brings an 11-year-old girl to a magical world where she’s put in prison, and on her escape, gets entwined in an adventure with a knight to rescue a princess.
Most refreshingly, in a movie industry climate where even spinoffs start sounding like original ideas — nay, gifts — compared to remakes and sequels, this seems like it’s nothing of the sort. And, it’s not a superhero movie. Yes, that’s right — this could be an actual high-budget studio film whose characters you haven’t already seen in the past.
Sure, from the description, it clearly rehashes tropes. And, McKenzie had, in 2013, mentioned working on a musical fairy tale with James Bobin that drew inspiration from The Princess Bride and Labyrinth and included singing dragons — and this could very well be (and from the sound of it, likely is) some iteration of that. But even with inspirations taken from nostalgic films, it sounds like — given McKenzie’s humor and inventive wit — whatever this is will nonetheless be more original than most of what we’re seeing from big studios.