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I thought for the longest time that I would be able to live my entire life without seeing a remake of Mel Brooks' genius 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles. Sadly, new developments have made it apparent that won't be the case - but the weird twist that comes with this story is that what's being made is far from a standard remake. This version will not only be animated, but feature dogs, cats and samurais.
Deadline has picked up news that Open Road Films has acquired a new project called Blazing Samurai that is said to be "loosely based on the iconic 1974 film Blazing Saddles." Helmed by first-time feature directors Chris Bailey (who served as an animation supervisor on the first two Alvin and the Chipmunks movies) and Mark Koetsier (a story artist on Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon), the new family film is said to center on a dog named Hank living in a town called Kakamucho. For an unidentified reason, he is the one put front and center in a fight against a "nefarious feline warlord," and must find a way to save his town, becoming a samurai in the process.
If we're trying to connect the dots between Blazing Samurai and Blazing Saddles, it would seem that Hank is the substitute for Cleavon Little's Bart - the first black sheriff in the west - while the feline warlord is a stand-in for Harvey Korman's shrewd business-centric Hedley Lamarr. Without anymore details it's difficult to make any more comparisons - but one has to wonder exactly how this "remake" will work. In addition to being incredibly funny, Mel Brooks' film was also a piece of incredibly sharp satire that took the subject of race head on in between fart jokes. Presumably most of this biting commentary will be axed from Blazing Samurai in order to make the narrative a bit more family friendly, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if we eventually see an animated version of this famous scene:
Open Road has had some big success with animation in the past, with 2014's The Nut Job opening with the best numbers ever for an independent animated feature, and it will be interesting to see if they can continue that success with Blazing Samurai. That being said, it's going to be a while before we find out, as the film won't be opening in theaters until April 14, 2017. In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye on this one.