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Toon Tuesday: "We're heading in the wrong direction. Let's turn around"

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Toon Tuesday: "We're heading in the wrong direction. Let's turn around"

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First the bad news: Yes, the rumors you've heard are true. Chris Sanders -- the man who wrote & directed "Lilo & Stitch," Disney's traditionally animated smash from the summer of 2002 -- was forced off of his follow-up project, "American Dog." Which was originally supposed to be WDFA's big release for 2008.

Now the worse news: Given what a huge talent Chris is, how highly this man is thought of by the rest of the crew at Disney Feature Animation ... Sanders being pulled off of his own picture this past Wednesday -- coupled with those 166 staffers that were laid off last Friday -- has caused morale to sink to an all-time low at WDFA .

Which I know isn't exactly the hopeful sort of story that people like to read around Christmas. So how's about this: What if I were to tell you the real reason that John Lasseter & Ed Catmull pulled Chris Sanders off of "American Dog" ?

But before I can do that ... You first have to take a few steps back ... I mean w-a-a-a-y back. Take in the view from a thousand feet back.

I mean, sure. From six inches away, Sanders being forced off of the film that he himself wrote, featuring characters that Chris helped create .... That seems like a real tragedy. A true injustice.

Copyright 2005 Disney Enterprises

But -- from where Ed & John are sitting -- there are bigger problems to deal with right now besides the fate of one piddly little animated feature. Like what the hell sort of movies should Disney Feature Animation be making these days anyway?

Pixar? They do CG well. Very, very well, in fact. And -- for a while there -- that Emeryville-based operation pretty much had a lock on the whole computer animation field. But now Pixar faces increasing competition in the CG arena. I mean, it's not just DreamWorks Animation that's turning out popular computed animated movies anymore. There's also Blue Sky Studios & Sony Animation & Warners & Nickelodeon ... As well as Disney Feature Animation.

You see, that's the really tough part of the situation that Catmull & Lasseter now find themselves in. These guys are running two animation studios that are -- in effect -- in direct competition with one another. Think about it. If Pixar's making CG films and WDFA is also producing computer animated features, doesn't that basically mean that these two studios are now competing for the same customers? That they're both lusting after the same dollars?

That doesn't seem like a very smart business plan to me. Competing directly with yourself.

Wouldn't it be smarter (in the long run, anyway) to create a way that consumers could differentiate between these animation studios? So that they'd know to associate a certain sort of film with Pixar and an entirely different type of production with Walt Disney Feature Animation?

Well, that's the way that Catmull & Lasseter are thinking these days. Which is why they've begun applying the brakes over at WDFA. Shifting that animation studio's production schedule over from a one-new-film-every-year routine to a slower paced one-new-film-every-18-months production schedule. So that they can then buy themselves a little more time before the next Disney Feature Animation production after "Meet the Robinsons" is due to hit the screen.

Now -- as to the real reason that Ed & John pulled Chris off of "American Dog" ... Sanders deliberately designed that film to be a CG feature. And Catmull & Lasseter ... Well, they don't really want Disney Feature Animation to be in the computer animation business as of 2008.

Copyright 2005 Disney Enterprises

"Wait a minute ..., " you sputter. "You don't mean ... You can't mean ..."

Yep. Following the release of "Meet the Robinsons," Ed & John would like WDFA to go back into the traditional animation business. Full-time. With their battle plan being that -- from here on in -- Pixar would do all of the CG features while Disney Feature Animation would then become a strictly traditional operation.

Obviously, this is a pretty bold plan. One that (given the $100-million-plus that WDFA spent over the past three years to retrain that studio's staff as well as to change Disney Feature Animation into a start-of-the-art CG operation) Bob Iger reportedly hasn't entirely embraced yet. The way that I hear it, Disney's new CEO wants to see how well "Enchanted" does at the box office next November as well as how the story reels for "The Frog Princess" turn out before he officially commits to Catmull & Lasseter's new scheme.

So again ... When you take in the view from a thousand feet back ... And you realize that animated features are like ocean liners. In that they both take years to build & then launch ... If Disney Feature Animation really is going to get back into the traditional animation business ... Well, that means that -- at some point -- WDFA actually has to stop working on those CG-only projects that it already has in its development pipeline.

It was just the luck of the draw that Chris Sanders' "American Dog" wound up being the film that was about to be greenlit, that was officially about to be put into production when Ed & John decided "Let's not do this anymore."

Oh, sure. There'll be some talk now about about assigning a new director & story team to "American Dog." But the very first thing that Catmull & Lasseter will be asking these folks to do is re-imagine this film as a traditionally animated feature.

Copyright 2005 Disney Enterprises

And remember how Ed & John reportedly had a conversation with Glen Keane earlier this year about possibly doing "Rapunzel" as a traditionally animated feature? And how that master animator supposedly told the new ubermeisters of WDFA that he wanted to stick with CG? Well, I would imagine that -- after the first of the year -- Catmull, Lasseter & Keane are going to have another conversation. And if Glen knows what's good for him, he'll quickly agree to turn "Rapunzel" into a traditionally animated feature.

So -- yes -- while I am sorry to see the Chris Sanders version of "American Dog" being put to sleep (Based on the concept paintings, story sketches and test animation sequences that I've already seen for this film, it looked like it was going to a very cute little picture) ... The very idea that the Sleeping Beauty that is traditional animation at Walt Disney Studios may soon be awakening from her three-year-long snooze ... Not just for an occasional feature or a handful of shorts ... But for now and for always ... That's one hell of a Christmas present, don't you think?

So while you may be feeling sorry for Chris Sanders & all of the other folks who were working on his version of "American Dog," please keep your eye on the bigger picture here. That -- because John Lasseter & Ed Catmull finally had the courage to hit the brakes and say: "We're heading in the wrong direction. Let's turn around" ... We may now see the return of full-blown full-time traditional animation at Walt Disney Studios years ahead of schedule.

Again, I want to stress here that this is NOT a done deal. Iger still needs a lot of convincing. And a lot of people within the company are going to be furious when this agenda is finally revealed. Given the sheer waste that's going to be involved here.

I mean, just think of the deliberately-designed-to-be-CG WDFA projects like "Joe Jump" that are now going to have to be junked. Swept away as WDFA moves as quickly as possible to return to its traditional animation roots.

But -- in the long run -- don't you think that the cost & the pain involved here will be worth it?

Your thoughts?

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  • I'm sorry. I have to say this..

    If anyone is reading this page, especially anyone from the Disney lot. haha, if for some random reason John Lassetter is in here. Let me please say this:

    My name is Joe, I'm 16, and I've been a fan of Disney for the longest time, since I was very little. And well... Disney has not been doing very well for the past few couple of years. And well, lately, I'm extremely glad Mr. Lassetter & Mr. Catmull pulled the breaks... Maybe it should be time, for them to stop and reconsider.... Look at an even BIGGER PICTURE.

    Around a few months back, I read that supposedly, a Director, story writer, etc. had say in a movie, it was THEIR vision. Not yours, lasseter, or eds. None of yours. I have to admit, I WAS EXTREMELY excited about American Dog. Lilo & Stitch is on my top list of Disney films. I love em. You seriously have to think about what your doing, the film had great potential.

    As for Rapunzel. Glen Keane is a wonderful animator. His vision for Rapunzel was a new type of CG, while I understand that Pixar is supposed to be the uppermost in computer animation. Is it Glen's fault Pixar didn't think of making "Rapunzel" in such a glorious type of new CG its being made?

    Seriously folks, I'm starting to get a little sick. What John & Ed are doing is basically doing whats best for Pixar. PIXAR, Meet the Robinsons, was well way into production, for it was not ceased, apparently. American Dog, was a wonderful film. I loved it. Wanted to see it, wanted to see what Sander's wonderful mind could create, such a great film it would have been I assume. He worked on freakin "The Lion King" for gosh sakes. I doubt even Lasseter can top The Lion King.

    What I think this here is happenin. is John has been getting a little over his head. He's beginning to feel like a big shot. in the leagues of computer animation, while he has been, he's lettin it get to his head a little bit tooooo much. Let me just say, a Rapunzel, which was another than it was not meant to be, I wil not watch. I love Glen and know he can make great films. I could easily see Lasssetter taking "Rapunzel" and tagging pixar on it, just for the heck of it, shoot, he'd just say he's in charge.

    John & Ed... Please, don't be bozo's, don't let Disney miss out on such great films, Pixar aint good for only one film a year anyway. And "Cars" was good, but you lost your grip on it, it was too long, and not entertaining enough. It basically sucked. Ratatouille though I have to say, shows great promise, I look forward to it.

    The Pixar name proceeds with high glory. While Disney gets gipped of great movies.. Especially how beautiful Rapunzel was supposed to be...

    I'm pissed

  • John isn't here, but I'll step in (and I'm out of high school):  One of my complaints with the momentary "auteur" rush for "Mark will save the company!..Chris will save the company!" is that you're putting a LOT of faith in one film.  One.  Single.   Film.   (And I liked TENG for what it was at the time, but thought Lilo & Stitch was six cute characters in search of a focused plot.)   And more imporantly, a story idea that's in the head of One.  Single.  Guy.  

    That's a lot of money to put on one very shaky and untested roulette wheel, especially for John & Ed, who were faced with rebuilding the studio from the ground up.  Maybe "Dog" was as "sweet" and "lovable" as insiders claim it was, but I don't work at WDFA-- I'm one of the great unwashed that has to buy the tickets once it's released, and it STILL looks too danged weird and self-indulgent.  For J&E, the bigger-bigger-BIGGER picture dates back farther than "CGI or not CGI?", and all the way back to their first executive decision regarding "Gnomeo & Juliet" as a WDFA project--And that decision was, quote..."Why are we making this?"

    And as to "Dog", well, good question:  Why -are- they making it?--Because anything that comes out of Chris Sanders' saintly genius head is golden and will save the company, regardless of story focus or early rushes?  I trust that John & Ed have seen more actual footage of this film than I have, and have, like "Meet the Robinsons", decided that a project needs an emotion rather than a "name" or a "deal", that someone else besides One Guy needs to figure out what the heck this story is about, and figure out fast.  Which is how most good Disney movies work in the first place.

    And as for "directorial visions" vs. the group effort of the story department, go ahead, just off the top of your head, tell us who directed "Snow White".  No peeking at IMDb.

  • >>"And remember how Ed & John reportedly had a conversation with Glen Keane earlier this year about possibly doing "Rapunzel" as a traditionally animated feature? And how that master animator supposedly told the new ubermeisters of WDFA that he wanted to stick with CG? Well, I would imagine that -- after the first of the year -- Catmull, Lasseter & Keane are going to have another conversation. And if Glen knows what's good for him, he'll quickly agree to turn "Rapunzel" into a traditionally animated feature."<<

    Or, what, they'll rough him up with brass knuckles? <lol> ;)  Seriously, what will likely happen is that Keane will make an in-house pitch for how well his hybrid "2-Digital" style works, and a compromise will be reached that wins out in favor of Keane.  

    There doesn't seem to be as much "Disney vs. Pixar", now that it's all coming out of the same house--J&E don't want -future- CGI movies to be made in Eisner/Stainton's vision of "CGI for CGI's sake", if they're not strong in stories or visuals, but they're also not crazy about wasting money or production:  We were earlier speculating that John would eliminate Bowler Hat from "Robinsons" singlehandedly, and that didn't happen...What we got instead was a compromise that let them use the earlier film while improving the tone and strengthening the story.  (And from the new trailer, it seems to have worked.)

    New director for "Dog"?--Possibly.  Computer storyboards in the trash and back to the drawing boards with pen and ink?--Not as likely (unless you're paranoid):  One of John's strengths demonstrated so far (and which the old admin. didn't have) has been listening to animators and seeing whether or not they really do have something to say.  And if they don't, a director can get replaced, or see his project booted down the schedule.  

  • Derek... you seemed even more passionate about this than Joe (if that's possible)!

    Personally, I'm glad Disney is going back to traditional animation. I was pretty upset when they closed down Florida Feature Animation (the Studio tour has never been the same). I can't tell you how excited I am that Disney is getting back into Short Subjects; and the fact that American Dog has been essentially canned is even more exciting.  I prefer when Disney sticks with tried and true classics.  Sure, they have their Dumbo and Lilo & Stitch and Lion King type movies that make it big... but Disney's biggest smash hits have all been tales that have lasted the test of time.

    Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty & the Beast, Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty... all undeniably HUGE! Also, undeniably similar. They all revolve around the central plot of a princess in trouble who is saved by her prince charming. I can't wait to see the direction they will go with Rapunzel and Frog Prince (and I actually liked the CG renders of Rapunzel... as much as I liked Matchstick Girl).

    As far as one single guy making all of the artistic calls at Disney... that's not entirely new to this studio. Ever heard of Walt? Now, before I get royally flamed, I am in no way equating Chris Sanders to Walt Disney. I am simply pointing out that one person's artistic guidence can be a good thing. Not everything needs a committee.

    And the director of Snow White was an uncredited David Hand (and I think he directed Bambi, too).

  • If John and Ed are truly halting American Dog, and forcing Keane to switch from his hybrid to 2D, and wasting all those production costs, just because Disney might step on Pixar's toes for a few years... well, then I think it's going to be some bumpy years. All that proves is that Pixar is and will continue to be number one in their minds. Of course, transitions are often rough times, but that is just a poor excuse: That Disney *has* to be 2D and Pixar *has* to be 3D. I can see a time where animators switch between the studios based on the project and it's medium. However, that time is far from soon.

    This similarly goes in hand with what John is doing in Imagineering. His focus remains strictly on Pixar. It's a shortsighted move on his part. The only way he will ever be this saviour we have all been hoping for is if he can broaden his mindset. He know works for *Disney*. I just don't think he's currently going down the right path.

    But, as with Imagineering, we have some more wait-and-see time ahead of us to truly understand what's going on at WDFA and what the repercussions in coming years will be.

  • I want to see Disney go back to traditional animation, but I don't think computer animation should be ignored, either. I do NOT want to see Rapunzel become a traditionally animated feature--the idea behind the animation in that movie was truely groundbreaking. Disney animation has always been about pushing the envelope of what's possible with animation and creating new technology and techniques while keeping the films artistically beautiful. Rapunzel's experiments with computer animation really continue that legacy that's been sadly missing in recent Disney films.

    I don't know if Pixar really has that same legacy. Sure, they're VERY good at creating new ways to make computer animation exciting--but besides The Incredibles, their films don't have a *unique* artistry to them. They're far more technical than artistic (not that they aren't art, but they just don't have the same flair as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Lion King).

  • Just to reality-check, people:  J&E have not -ACTUALLY- gone yet to Keane and told him point-blank to change "Rapunzel" to traditional 2-D.  Nobody's yet said they have or would.  So far, that event has only happened in Jim's speculative imagination, because he believes that J&E want to play Oliver Cromwell and behead all non-Pixar WDFA CGI projects to bring in the new 2-D Age, period, end of story.  Which isn't quite getting the point:

    J&E don't want to eliminate CGI, what they want to eliminate are - David Stainton - CGI WDFA pictures...You remember, the ones like Chicken Little and Robinsons v1.0, that were supposed to pull out their bag of Shrek tricks and develop WDFA as "more popular" than Pixar?  Well, in a word, glad that's over.  In fact, they're making it too clear they don't want David Stainton ANYTHING, and if you, like Sanders, are stuck working on a project David liked while he was there, you'd now better prove your story/artistic case, or you'd better run--The new Quality Sherriffs are in town.  With the sale now, there's almost no border left between Pixar and WDFA, as long as John's in charge of both and Steve Jobs still gets the money--It's just a question of preserving brand image, and John wants Pixar to do good CGI and Disney to tell good Disney stories, -especially- 2-D ones if possible but not exclusively.  They can show "Robinsons" in March and "Ratatouille" in summer; all that now matters is that audiences like both, aren't overglutted with product, and are perfectly aware of whose movies look like whose.

    And if Keane proves he can do a Good Disney Movie even if it's on a computer (and looks pretty darn well like he can), J&E are going to be the first ones to tell him to do it.

  • B A D.. Lassater is yet again pushing every inch of good ideas and good projects out of WDFA.. I know it was a decision they HAD to make, but damn. They need to take some managerial classes. ".. morale to sink to an all-time low at WDFA", AGAIN?! AGAIN because of Lassater and Catmull. AGAIN?!

    Off course, turning Disney to all traditional animation is a good thing, but please don't limit them to ONLY traditional. When a movies needs to be done in computer animation, it needs to be done in computer animation. And Pixar doesn't hold a monopoly on that, oh please no. They had some groundbreaking movies, they produced one of the best animated movies ever (Finding Nemo), but they are still VERY VERY SMALL when you compare them to WDFA. And WDFA didn't create that history thanks to limitations on how to experiment with animation. And that is exactly what Lassater has done now. Shut down any CGI experiment at WDFA.

    He may be some legend regarding CGI, he's no God. And I think he doesn't know that yet... So if you're reading: YOU ARE NOT.

    (Sorry, got a little too emotional about the whole deal, gehe.)

  • All of the text between the picture with the dog and pirate cat and the car spewing fireworks is just sad.  I've always had mixed feelings about Disney buying Pixar.  I admire John Lasseter.  I really do.  But, not too long ago, he wasn't even a member of the Disney team (besides using Disney as a distributor).  And now he's running some of the most "important" part of the company.  And he doesn't like how Disney is competing with Pixar.  So Disney is now not supposed to make CG movies.  I 100% prefer the look of traditionally animated films, so I'm not sad about that, but just the fact that he thinks that Pixar's movies can't compete with Disney's.  Which is a good fear- I'll take Disney over Pixar any day.  

    Eisner shouldn't have said (it was Eisner, right?) that WDFA would be making exclusively CG movies.  That was just an unsmart business move.  Obviously, when that was said, no one could have expected the overabundance of CG films.  But, saying that Disney would never make a hand-drawn feature film again was just dumb, in my book.  I wish "Enchanted" was going to be a "real" girl going into an animated world, instead of vice-versa.  Sure, it'd take longer, but I think it'd be so much better, at least to watch.  I'd rather watch a Disney animated film than any live action film.

    I know that some animation on "American Dog" has already been done (I saw a clip online over a year ago now I think).  I have no clue how far they have gotten (it could have even been just test footage, I don't know)...if the same animators are working on the film, I hope they don't get discouraged.  And will Chris Sanders ever trust (and work for) Disney again?  I hope so.  Why couldn't HE have stayed on board and re-worked the film?  Why put someone else on it?  That part makes no sense to me.

    "And if Glen knows what's good for him, he'll quickly agree to turn "Rapunzel" into a traditionally animated feature."

    Are you implying that if Mr. Keane doesn't agree to re-work "Rapunzel", then the Pixar gang will fire him (which they can't do, right?), or just stop production on "Rapunzel".  From the get-go, I wanted "Rapunzel" to be traditionally animated...I mean, it's a princess movie...it'll look kind of funny with Snow White, Cinderella, and all the girls, and Claire/Rapunzel/whoever, unless they would draw her picture traditionally on the packaging and in books, etc...  Poor Mr. Keane.  Glen Keane and Andreas Deja have been my favorite animators since I was 4 or 5, and I hate to see anyone mess with them.  I'm proud of Mr. Deja for working on "Bambi II"- he didn't want to rush into CG I guess.  

    The kicker here is that Mr. Keane wanted "Rapunzel" to be traditionally animated, originally.  Then, he was forced to learn the CG tools, and then he spent so much time on it, and I guess liked the process, and decided to make the film CG.  And now, that Pixar gang wants him to change back.  What odacity they have to tell this master animator to re-work his film.  That just breaks my heart.

    "We're heading in the wrong direction. Let's turn around""  They only said that because they don't want Disney competing with Pixar.  Not for any other reason.  So, they lied...they didn't think that they were heading in the wrong direction for any other reason than competition with Pixar... tisk, tisk.

    Yay for the return of Disney traditional feature animation.  One concern I have-> Disney has a lot of competition (DreamWorks, Sony, Blue Sky, etc.), and, once they see that Disney's traditional features are successful, they'll start making some traditional features, too.  You know in the Maelstrom at Epcot, when the trolls say "Disappear, disappear!"?  I wish that would happen to the other studios.  Their quality just isn't anywhere near Disney's.  Even if they try to make traditional features, it won't be nearly as good, in story or artistry, then Disney's.

    JoeHaro07 said: " He worked on freakin "The Lion King" for gosh sakes. I doubt even Lasseter can top The Lion King."  While I agree with what you're saying to a T, you could argue that Jeffrey Katzenberg worked on "The Lion King", and he's not all that and a bag of chips, even though Chris Sanders is.

    DerekJ said: "it STILL looks too danged weird and self-indulgent."  One could argue that TENG is "weird".  Everyone can argue that L&S is "weird".  But in a good way.  I think that "American Dog" looked wonderful.

    DerekJ also said: "..."Why are we making this?""

    Well, to be perfectly honest, "American Dog" was first created at Disney, with nothing to do with anyone at Pixar, including Lasseter & Catmull.  So they should say "they" instead of "we"- they're not the ones making it, anyway.

    Boy, this is turning into an "I hate Pixar almost as much as DreamWorks" day...but I still like their movies...

    Original19 said: " was pretty upset when they closed down Florida Feature Animation (the Studio tour has never been the same)."  So true- me too.  

    idealistic_deviant, I agree with all that you said.

    DerekJ, I really don't agree with your last post.  "J&E don't want to eliminate CGI, what they want to eliminate are - David Stainton - CGI WDFA pictures"...exactly the problem- they want to eliminate the competition with WDFA CGI films.  What happens when Disney has a huge hit with a traditionally animated film, and Pixar's previous or following CG film doesn't do as well as that traditional Disney film?  Traditional Disney films will still be in competition with Pixar's CG films.  

    "all that now matters is that audiences like both, aren't overglutted with product, and are perfectly aware of whose movies look like whose."  Well, Disney and Pixar aren't, unfortunately, the only animated filmmakers these days.  Lasseter & Catmull have no say in the overgluttedness of animated films, unless they're planning on buying out the competition.  My parents aren't obsessed with Disney by any means, but they know the difference between Disney films and non-Disney films, even if they don't know the other studios' names.  Many people still think that all animated films are Disney (well, they may be aware of Pixar).  I was at my friend's house yesterday, playing with her kids, and they asked me if I had seen the live-action "Peter Pan" movie- I said that I saw it with my friend and her nephew, since he wanted to go.  And I said it wasn't Disney (which they were shocked at)...some people just don't know.

    empoor, I applaud you.  Yay for saying what you did!

  • Add me to the list of people who are getting a little weary of Jim employing his ever-sputtering second person readership to ask questions that he plans to answer.  Come on, Jim.  We're fairly intelligent people here.  Is it always necessary to give us "lines" that are one step above "Da-hurr, you mean they're gonna do the drawity kind of animating again?"

    I'm not 100% certain that this news is quite the silver lining it's intended to be.  While I'd be really happy to see Disney go back to being a 2D studio, I'm a little concerned that this shift in production, if it does in fact happen, is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  You want to start developing new ideas for 2D films?  Super.  You want to switch projects already in development to 2D?  Maybe not the best idea.  No matter what happens, transitioning the Disney studio back to 2D will take some time.  And if there are some good 3D animated films waiting in the wings while the transition is happening, why not just let them go through?  My initial impression is that Sanders was taken off "American Dog" because the film had story problems.  But this article makes it sound like "American Dog" was a perfectly good 3D film that just happened to come along when Lasseter and Catmull were deciding to go back to 2D.  If it works in 3D, make it in 3D.  If "Rapunzel" is as strong as we've been led to believe on this site, leave it be.  Yes, maybe the guys from Pixar do have bigger concerns than "one piddly little animated feature".  (I know that's Jim's characterization of their thinking and I don't think it's a good one.)  But if the Disney studio is going to turn around, there has to be a renewed focus on how each film can be the best it can be, not just the overall direction of the studio.

    Also, this theory doesn't really explain why it was necessary to take Sanders off the project.  If "American Dog" was going along just fine except for its 3D format, why remove a perfectly good 2D director from his film?  I suspect that the switch to 2D is not the entire story of what's happening with "American Dog".  Things are seldom so simple.

  • If what Jim says is true, it seems that Ed and John are doing is falling into the same defective mindset that Eisner had at the end.  That audiences care whether a film is 2d traditional or 3d computer.  Audiences don't care.  They care about a good story.  

    Sure, in the beginning, Toy Story wow'd us with it's amazing visuals, but the story was fantastic.  And some very good 3d visual work from other studios has gone unwatched at the box office, due to lousy stories.  

    Why can't Disney and Pixar do the same work, good animation, and who cares if it's 2d or 3d.  Just because Pixar is great at it doesn't mean that Disney must be only 2d.  

    Come on.  It's the story, stupid.

  • According to Jim Hill, Disney certainly is wishy-washy these days.

    First they close feature animation. Then they outsource all 2-D and Direct 2 video sequels to other countries. Then they buy pixar. Then they start churning out the CG films.

    Now theyve wised up and decided to bring back 2-D full time? And close Disney CG?

    What about the new logo in front of pirates? Are we gonna go back to the synthesized blue screen castle? Throw computers out the window? What about traditionally animated films like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast. They both utilized CG for backgrounds and effects.

    Have they remembered that will traditional animation each scene must be hand drawn and painted? And that, that takes a long time?

    I just dont know who to believe anymore. I used to have trust in this site. But it seems that whenever Jim feels like it, he decides to take a piece of information hes heard and turn it into a feature article with too many elaborations and personal agendas.

    I will believe it when i see it.

    As for the CG vs 2-D argument.

    Lets think for a minute. 2-D doesnt = greatness. Disney has had luck with a lot of their 2-d's becoming popular. And most of them hold a special place in my heart. Is it because theyre 2-d?

    Nope. Its because the storytelling is good. Its because when i was 4 and saw the little mermaid. I wanted to be a mermaid so. bad. I wanted that handsome prince who overcame the obstacles to be with me. Thats what being an adult was gonna be! (nevermind the dissapointement that thats not what being an adult is)

    I watched Pinocchio believing that If i wished on stars my dreams would come true. Watched Peter Pan knowing that if i could just fly, i could get to that second star and straight onto morning and id never have to grow up.

    As an adult. I cry through 'When Somebody loved Me' in Toy Story 2. Because I did that with my dolls. Its heart wrenching.

    People like movies they can identify with. If you grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons I bet you just loved the LOTR movies. (most) Men would love to be in a heist, or have to save the world and a beautiful girl. And get guns, and cool gadgets. Those movies appeal to men.

    (most) Women want crazy, no holds bar romance, ala The Notebook.

    People diferentiate from those pre-conceived notions but you get the idea.

    Kids cant identify with the crap theyre churning out. I liked Lilo and Stitch. and I liked emporer but imo there was more for adults in those movies.

    But Home on the Range? Sorry. I dont identify with cows any better then i identified with A Troll in Central Park (which i HATED as a kid)

    Its doesnt matter if these movies are green screen, 2d, 3d, clay animation or CG. If the story is good, and relateable it will sell.

    People want to be princesses, wizards, and pirates. Things that dont really exist anymore, that are unattaiable.

    So to sum up... The 2D vs CG argument is dumb. Because the animation process doesnt matter. Its the story that makes you walk out of the theatre smiling or crying. Not the medium.

  • Totally agree, randman! The story is always the most important factor in the success of any type of movie (or television show/series).

  • (saw this comment after I posted my last one)

    greenyskp: not everything you say is true. First off all, off course it is the story, but it is just one of the elements of a movie. The Lion King is CG? Oh, god, no. Every story needs a different approach, and that is why WDFA shouldn't be limited to only traditional animation.

    You're right that the story is the most important factor, but it is just one side of a golden coin (Disney) or penny (other studios).

  • First off, this article is yet another ATTEMPT by hack jim hill to stir up a non-existant hornet's nest.  Shame on him.  No wonder he is so looked down upon both in the industry and in the animation community at large.  Shame.

    Lilo Stitch HARDLY a "smash" compared to Disney films of the last 20 years.  It was mildly successful as a film; and a pleasant, if fluffy, surprise.  I, for one, liked most of it.

    "Well, they don't really want Disney Feature Animation to be in the computer animation business as of 2008."  

    This is just a lie.    A LIE.  Just the facts.

    Disney and Pixar are not in "direct competition."  They are both owned by the Walt Disney company.  Any real or percieved conflict of interest regarding this would be snuffed out pronto by the board.  

    Sanders wasn't relieved of directing American Dog because he wanted it to be cg.  It's been in development at Disney for a number of years, and just hasn't come together as a movie.  Frankly, it's been described by Disney employees as quite a mess.

    That doesn't mean it can't be fixed.  Sanders knew Disney owned the project and could do anything they wanted with it.  He may be one of many talented folks at Disney, but he's also just another employee.

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