OT: The Death of Disney Animation?



Maybe someone can corroborate this for me...

I've talked to two friends this week who also work in animation. They are on two different coasts, and both said to me, "of course, you've heard that Disney is phasing out animation in their Burbank studio" This floored me. Am I completely out of the loop?! According to both friends, one, a friend of Tom Sito (union president) and the other a friend of John Canemaker (Disney authority at large) Disney is giving traditional 2D the heave ho in favor of a computer animation based studio....largely anticipating Pixar's departure from the Disney family. 2D features will be eventually relegated to the Florida studio....and Don Hahn is likely to be named as the head of feature animation. Has anyone heard this? Read this?

I hope this is a bad dream.


I haven't heard anything about that!! I've always loved traditional animation much more than 3d. In fact, I'd love to be an animator if I had more drawing talent, but I'd only want to be a traditional 2d animator. It just isn't the same the other way, you know what I mean? 3d has it's place, and I'm not saying it's bad at all. It just isn't the same.

But I would LOVE to see Don Hahn become the head of feature animation! I think he's done a great job! Hehe... he's the brother-in-law of someone my mom works with... if only I could get the chance to meet him!! :p

Bill--that's absolutely true! I read exactly what you quoted just last week! I think it was from a link off laughingplace.com(that's one of usual sources)--I just tried to quickly track it down for you, but haven't been able to find it yet--disturbing events, we'll need to hear more--the brief thing that I read didn't have any more details than that. Michael.

David S.

>>I asked him about the demise of the older
rides and he said that if Main Street were built today instead of 1955, it would celebrate the 1950s because that's the period of time that
people are nostalgic about and can remember in their lifetimes. >>

He seems to be contradicting himself. Most of the classic attractions that have closed/are closing were built in the 60's, 70's and 80's and if they can acknowledge that there is still "nostalgia" for 1955, than surely there is a healthy amount of interest in things that came later.

Besides, if he says there is only a 50 year backwards window that should be used for new projects, how then does one explain Liberty Square's 1776 setting and 1971 opening? I don't think anyone who was there in 1971 had nostalgic memories for their life 200 years earlier in 1776! ;)

I hope they don't think that people are so limited that they only have interest in things they can remember from their own lifetimes! Look at the popularity of the STAR WARS films - "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" is a LOT older than the 50's!

As far as the traditional animation goes, that would be really sad to see them attempt to shut it down yet again. It has been at the heart of Disney since SNOW WHITE and the huge resurgence of Disney popularity of the early 90's would not have happened without traditional animated features, of course. I have nothing against computer animation - I enjoyed TOY STORY, A BUGS LIFE, etc. But there should still ALWAYS be room for hand-drawn animated features as an art form.

I agree, David--I've been mulling over the CGI vs. traditional animation issue over the past few years, wondering if computer imaging was going to be the definitive animation medium of the future. And while I certainly am a huge fan of John Lasseter and the other "geniuses" at Pixar(where the Disney "magic" resides these days--in good hands, needless to say), I've decided that it could never replace the beauty of traditional animation--just look at what was achieved by Eyvind Earle and friends in Sleeping Beauty--and in the more recent Disney films of the 90's that you refer to. It should always be the "roots" of Disney animation. Michael.


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I was going to say roughly the same thing a day or so ago, but figured I had written enough "anti-Disney" stuff in the past week or so that I should keep my mouth shut for a little while, lest people think I don't like Disney .



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I guess the bottom line is, when they set out to do something good, they do it GOOD. Could be little things like the new gravestone in the HM cemetary at WDW, or big things like WWTBAM Play It (yes, it's a tie-in but the concept of the game and the "chance of winning" [read: get something for free] is a lot of fun), but they CAN still do quality stuff, stuff that would be on par with what Walt would do. Problem is, those wonderful, magical things are few and far between to the extent that they're vastly overshadowed by the crap they continually pull nowadays.



What scares me is that Disney has made the assumption that because movies like Toy Story, Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Ice Age have fared VERY well, and movies like Atlantis, Emperor's New Groove, Road to El Dorado, Quest for Camelot, etc., have not, that they will place their money on the CG horse. This seems to ignor the basic facts that the CG films mentioned above were BETTER CONCEIVED.

Actually, I don't think the computer animated films have been that great. They just have a style and humor that appeals more to the large audiences (and less to me - I'm still trying to figure out what the heck was so great about Monster's Inc.)
At least in my country, I have noticed that among the teens and grown up moviegoers the CGI films are concidered somehow "cool" and less naive than traditional animation.
So, in a way, technology IS the issue here.


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Yeah, I did say that "Pollyana" looked washed out, but after watching the bonus material of the restoration of the film, I can't complain at all. We could have had "Pollyana" with green eyes and very yellow saturation!

Bill, I'm glad that you let Disney know that they did a good job on the DVD's. How did you go about it? I should do the same thing so that they know when they have a hit product on their hands. Those discs are so much fun to watch! I can't wait for the next round.

Now about the animation subject, I agree with you, Bill, that is seems Disney is not really taking the responsibility for the failure of their traditional animation lately. They are quick to jump on the CGI bandwagon and abandon what made the studio great in the first place. The problem I have with this is that Disney already had a huge CGI feature that didn't do so well... Dinosaur was a big letdown for them and the public, but it certainly wasn't the technology's fault! And Disney is so ass-backwards that they closed down the "secret lab" because of the failure of Dinosaur, but now they want to focus on CGI??? Where's the logic in that?

I'm all for the CGI films, I love all of the Pixar films, and I liked Antz, Shrek, and Ice Age. All of those had good stories to tell, and the CGI was not a gimmick in any of them. Now Final Fantasy, that was all about the technology, and look what happened.

It's just a shame that Disney turns it's back on it's past so frequently now in favor of the latest trend. Disney does not follow trends well... They used to be good at starting trends though!