The Weinstein Company’s animated Leap! just hit theaters a couple weeks ago, but already the company has quietly released another animated feature film on Netflix.
Called The Guardian Brothers, the Chinese-animated film came out on Netflix last Friday, September 1st. It marks the debut production of Bejing’s Light Chaser Animation studio and aims to set a higher bar for Chinese-produced animation. The film was written and directed by Light Chaser owner Gary Wang.
The Guardian Brothers was originally released in China at the beginning of 2016 under the name Little Door Gods. The new Netflix release features a full English cast including Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Edward Norton, Mel Brooks, Dan Fogler, Mike Birbiglia, Bella Thorne, and Randall Park. Also of note is that the new, 86-minute film is approximately 15-20 minutes shorter than the Chinese version, having been significantly edited for pacing issues.
The Guardian Brothers tells the story of two guardian spirits, Yu Lei (voiced by Norton) and Shen Tu (voiced by Fogler) who leave their retirement in the spirit world to help a mother and daughter whose restaurant business is being threatened by a competitor.
Although the animation crew for The Guardian Brothers is primarily Chinese, Light Chaser did have some help from lead artists with a U.S.-background, such as Colin Brady (of Pixar and Pixomondo) and Han Lei (of Dreamworks).
The Guardian Brothers is the second film to be released under The Weinstein Company’s new animation label Mizchief, the theatrically released Leap! being the first. TWC and Mizchief are currently developing animated adaptations of the novel The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and the children’s book The Cricket in Times Square. Light Chaser Animation is working on its second feature-length film, titled Tea Pets.
The Mizchief label may be new, but The Weinstein Company has had its hand in animation before with 2006’s Hoodwinked and 2013’s Escape from Planet Earth.
What are your thoughts on The Guardian Brothers? Do you think you’ll be checking it out on Netflix? Watch the trailer below, and then let us know in the comments section!
Amber is an imaginative storyteller and visual artist whose greatest ambition is to tell meaningful stories that resonate with people. Since she was young, Amber has enjoyed escaping to faraway worlds through animation, and has continued to follow animation into adulthood because of its limitless storytelling possibilities. Picking favorites is nearly impossible, but Amber would say her top animated films include The Little Mermaid, The Incredibles, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Frozen. She graduated with a B.A. in Interactive Media/Graphic Design and a minor in Journalism, and is currently working as an advertising designer. When she’s not at her day job, Amber can be found working on digital illustrations and photo edits, drafting a new fiction story, or crafting a new cosplay. Send her a tweet at @amber_ld.