Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I know this news report is a few weeks old now but there's no time like the present to talk about it!

Two years ago Disney closed down their Florida and Burbank Feature Animation Studios. Hundreds of employees were laid off. They sold all their light tables and threw out their animation paper and replaced it all with computers for their new shiny CG department.

Upon the success of Pixar's 3D movies (Finding Nemo, Toy Story) and the unsuccess of their own movies (Brother Bear, Home on the Range), Disney decided that it would be the smart move to switch over to the world of 3D. After all, that's the way the world is going, isn't it? It sure seems that way with the plethora of CG movies out this year.

Disney has always been the ones on the cutting edge of animation having developed many of the techniques used in the medium today. But over all, Disney had captivating stories and the animation was just a means to tell them. If Disney put this much effort into their storytelling they would still be competitors in the market! Let's take a look at Pixar: Why are their movies so good? Sure, they look fantastic but they have well-written, meaningful stories and that is the key element!

Back in March, it was announced that Disney would be buying Pixar and would be making Pixar President John Lasseter the President of Walt Disney Feature Animation. This was a smart move as far as I'm concerned. I have complete faith that Lasseter will make a new name for Disney as he did with Pixar. Although he may have to spend the next few years cleaning up the mess, I'm sure we will be seeing a Disney revival.

Anyway, two weeks ago Lasseter announced that he is bringing the traditional animation department back to Disney! And not this cheap Flash garbage either! I'm talking pencil and paper, ink and paint, 2D animation!

The first feature will be called the Frog Princess and will be developed by Ron Clements and John Musker (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Treasure Planet) and rumour has it that this film will also bring back the Broadway-style musical numbers! Composer Alan Menken is reported to be on board!

This is an exciting time and know that with Lasseter in charge we will see a good film.


Stagenoise said...

That's great to hear. While I think CGI is quite marvelous, some of the recent crap its given birth to has been less than worth watching in my opinion. So this is great

Good post!

Katie said...

Disney actually planned on shutting down their 2D department before Brother Bear and Home on the Range were released. The only reason those were still released was because they were in production at the time. Disney's decision to can 2D was not based on the lack of money brought in by those two movies. Lion King brought in the most money of any of their movies, and after that they expected *all* their features to bring in that much (when in reality animated features don't typically bring in as much as live action, which is okay because they're still cheaper to produce). So once their numbers failed to match up with Lion King's they decided it wasn't worth it.

I'm totally excited to hear about Alan Menken and the directors. I hope people don't think it's pathetic that Lasseter is trying to "recapture" that Little Mermaid/Aladdin feel. Hopefully he'll put his own twist on it (which I have a good amount of faith that he will).

This is seriously exciting... my 2D teacher was friggin stoked when I told him about it. Now I don't feel so dumb for going into 2D animation.

Zak said...

Kurtis, you kick ass. your stuff is never a boring read. keep'em coming man, they always put a smile on my face.

coolshades said...

This is what I was babbling about in one of my other comments...although I didn't know about bringing back the musical numbers. I remember the "good old days" when the Disney 2D films *always* won the Oscar for best original song and best original score. It would be cool to see that happening again.

Chip Chief said...

its really perfect timing. now 2D is going to be the novelty in an oversaturated market of CG animation. If The Frog Princess is good (which it sounds like it should be) then this could be a big hit.

j said...

Sounds like great news to me. I miss the great stories and great music.

Zeero302 said...

YESS! I'm SOO HAPPY ABOUT THIS! Now i can stop boycotting current CG Disney movies. :P
But i wouldn't see them anyway..it was like when they got rid of 2D they got rid of their muse. Again...GLORIOUS NEWS!! ^_^

A/T said...

Geez. So, I'm like months late. But still, I had no idea about any of this. This means they probably shut down the Magic of Disney Animation walkthrough at Disney World for a while, doesn't it?

Man, that totally sucked. They'd better reopen it.