Many of us have seen, or at least have heard of, the 1989 animated film Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (seen above). Based on the groundbreaking comic strip by Winsor McCay, it centers on a young boy and the wild adventures he has in his dreams. Long before its release, the film went through years of development hell and, at one point, was actually being developed by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Ultimately, Miyazaki and his team left the project and it became something very different, but a clip has now surfaced that gives us an idea of what Little Nemo in Dreamland, the Ghibli version of the film, might have been.

Part Peter Pan, part E.T., part Ponyo and part Top Gun, this clip will make you wish this film existed. Check it out after the jump.

Thanks to Comics Alliance (via io9) for the heads up. Here’s the clip which was the Ghibli pitch on how they would have adapted the film.

That clip is just magical, don’t you agree? I honestly don’t remember the original version (which was released in 1989 in Japan and in the U.S. in 1992) except as a clamshell box on a video store shelf but, if you watch clips, the filmmakers were obviously influenced by Ghibli’s treatment. And, as an interesting side note, the screenplay for that film is co-credited to Chris Columbus, the director of Home Alone and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

According to Wikipedia, Miyazaki called the production of this film “the worst experience of his professional career” because of the professional differences he had with the other producers. That’s a shame, because Ghibli’s film that came out around the same time – Kiki’s Delivery Service – is more fondly regarded than the Little Nemo film. Maybe if they’d trusted the man who would become one of the most influential and impressive filmmakers ever, this generation would associate the name “Nemo” as a boy on a bed and not a gimpy clown fish.

Do you have fond memories of Little Nemo? (Maybe you like the Tom Petty version more?) Do you think the Ghibli version would have been superior?

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