ShadZ (shadzane) wrote,

I read "The King of the Elves"

Like I promised, I read Phillip K. Dick's "The King of the Elves" to see if it could make a Disney animated film. I was bemused to find that it is based in Colorado (where I live), and the hero's name is Shadrach (which is pretty close to my name)! Here's a synopsis that I stole from someone else, because it's pretty good:
"'The King Of The Elves' tells the tale of a lonely old gas station owner in a Colorado town on the edge of wilderness, whose kindness towards some late-night traveling elves is rewarded. The old man, who thought life had already dealt him its last surprise, winds up joining the elves in a huge battle, holding off most of a troll army armed only with a barrel stave."
Some of my thoughts:
  • I was surprised at the elderly protagonist, because there is already talk that Pixar's Up may run into problems with its older hero, so it's odd that they would plan to do it again.
  • The story doesn't have a surprise ending (unlike many Dick stories), which is good because Hollywood likes to leave those out anyway.
  • The story deals with Dick's favorite questions of identity and reality. In this case, you are not sure thru most of the story if Shadrach has actually become the King of the Elves, or if he is slipping into dementia. In fact, it isn't 100% settled at the end, but it's about 85 or 90% in the elves' favor. The end of the story isn't even about the elves' existence -- it's about Shadrach's final decision to stay as their king or return to his mundane life. So I'd say we are supposed to think they do exist -- also, if they don't exist, then Shadrach has done a terrible thing...
  • The story can be expanded some, but I don't think it can be successfully expanded to feature length. But the story could do very well as the first half or third of a movie, with the rest of the film going forward from the story's end with original material.

And to wrap things up, heres a speech that Dick wrote in 1978 about Disneyland (among other topics)...
Tags: disney, disneyland, phillip k dick, pixar, starfest, the king of the elves, up
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