First of all, let me just clarify that the already existing Mr Toad's Wild Ride
film is in fact NOT based on the theme park ride. It's a British film from 1996 (I actually saw it when it came out!) that is a direct adaptation of the book, albeit with a couple dozen liberties; in addition to some somewhat forced environmentalism, the climax took place in a weasel-owned dog food factory.
Disney later purchased it for the American market, and re-named it after the theme park ride, the irony being that the Magic Kingdom version was about to close. I enjoyed it as an eight year-old, but I'm not sure I'd like it on account of the aforementioned plot changes.
It would be interesting to see a new take on The Wind in the Willows
, so long as it doesn't turn into some kind of crass kiddy film à la Alvin and the Chipmunks
. I would give the film a more traditional title to distance it from the theme park ride and arguably Disney's previous animated (The Wind in the Willows
or Toad of Toad Hall
would do fine). I would also have it retain a British setting and a British cast for obvious reasons.
I've always felt that Disney's animated take on The Wind in the Willows
was ultimately a bit misbegotten. The animation can be quite crude, and the overall art direction can seem somewhat ordinary. As an adaptation of a novel, the whole thing equally would have definitely been better suited as a feature. Many points in the story are rushed if not omitted, and the characters have hardly any chance to be properly developed. I suppose that's the problem plaguing some Disney featurettes, especially those initially developed as features; there is the risk of producing what is essentially a feature film condensed to half its running time, where characters and plot points don't get a chance to be properly explored.