Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Russia's CG-Animated 'Magic Land' Adaptation Now Has a Poster, Trailer, & Release Date

Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers (Урфин Джюс и его деревянные солдаты), a CG-animated feature film adaptation of the second book of Alexander Volkov's Magic Land series (which itself is a loose translation/adaptation of the original Oz books), seems to have hit some bumps in the road since I first heard about the production, but we now have a trailer and a release date – well, Russia does, at least.

The film was produced in Russia by Rossiya, CTB Film Company, and Melnitsa Animation Studio, and will be released there on April 20, 2017 (which happens to be my birthday). Even though it's a Russian production, it's pretty common nowadays for foreign films, especially animated films, to be dubbed over in English and eventually released in the U.S. and elsewhere. This is the case with the Indian/Mexican animated film Guardians of Oz (Guardianes de Oz), which has been dubbed in English and picked up by Lionsgate for a home video release in the U.S. next month. (You can read more about that film and its release by clicking here.)

I do hope that Urfin Jus is released in the U.S. at some point, even if not dubbed, because it looks pretty good to me. The animation looks nice, the characters are generally well-designed, and it looks overall like a fun and interesting take on Oz, very different from something like Legends of Oz or even Amazon's just-launched Lost in Oz series. Check out the trailer, synopsis, character posters, and some of the newly released stills below, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on it!


The cunning and wicked Urfin Jus decides to become ruler of the Wonderful Land of Oz, take over the Emerald City with his Wooden Soldiers, and rename it to Urfinville. He is all but ready to celebrate victory, when his plans are ruined by Elly — an ordinary girl who ends up in Oz just at the right time. She must return home, but not before she helps her friends — the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion — defeat Urfin. But before they can defeat him, they must find out who he really is.

Update: It looks like the film has already been dubbed in English and is being sold as Fantastic Journey to Oz, a title that could very well change by the time the film reaches us. Animation Magazine's got stills, a trailer, and some more nuggets of information about the film that you can peruse by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

And don't forget the book (along with the first one) is available in English translation on Amazon.com!

Anonymous said...

There was also a stop motion version of the story (along with books 1 and 3) in 1973-74.

Eric said...

Oh, this looks great. I think the Russians have learned how to make animated movies (or at least their trailers) from Pixar and the current Disney stuff. I was a little taken aback by their portrayal of Elli, but I think she's already grown on me. I knew there was a good reason I've started learning Russian.