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If you spent more time than was healthy for you in arcades in the '80s then you remember Dragon’s Lair. The game was created by legendary animation director Don Bluth and was totally unique for its time. If you’ve ever thought that Dragon’s Lair would have made a fantastic animated feature, you’re not alone, and now the people behind the original game are trying to make that movie happen.
These days, if you want to make a passion project happen there’s really only one place to do it, Kickstarter. Bluth and the original, producer, long-time Bluth collaborator Gary Goldman, have come together to try and make a feature film a reality. However, since animated movies can be quite expensive, the team is actually proposing a two-step process. The $550,000 they are currently asking for is not to create the film itself, but rather a 10-minute short to act as a teaser for an eventual feature. They then plan to use this teaser to promote the film to studios in order to get the financing to make the whole thing. The promotional video on the Kickstarter page estimates the finished product will cost $70 million. That’s even out of the range of Kickstarter.
Dragon's Lair used Bluth’s original animation style from films like The Secret of NIMH and An American Tale to create a fantasy setting where Dirk the Daring (who has an awesome name) attempts to rescue Princess Daphne from an evil dragon. The controls were some of the earliest examples of quick time events, where progression was made by simply moving the control in a particular direction at the right moment. The game was written onto a laserdisc, which allowed for the full motion animation, which was completely unique in an era where video game graphics were still rudimentary and pixelated. The title has become so popular that it’s been released for nearly every game system and mobile device. The simple controls even make it playable on DVD and Blu-ray players.
As is the standard with Kickstarter projects, the rewards available to backers run the gamut from cool swag for fans to some really amazing items. While you can get cool postcards or a Dirk lapel pin, the higher end rewards might make the right person swoon. If you’re an aspiring animator, a $5,000 contribution will get you access to a limited-seating, 5-day masterclass in animation taught by Don Bluth himself. There’s even online access available at a lower tier. You can also get your own image, in Don Bluth style of course, added to the short film for the low, low price of $2,500. These may not be options that fit into every budget, but we bet there are lots of people checking their bank accounts right now.
So, if you’ve always wanted to see how Dragon’s Lair ended, because damn that game was hard, check out the Kickstarter for the movie. The campaign has currently raised over $58,000 of their goal, but with 29 days left, they have plenty of time.