No more hand-drawn films for DISNEY?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jon-C, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Jon-C

    Jon-C Stunt Coordinator

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  2. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    Bad movie on Eisner's part to shut down their traditional animation studios. It's what the company was built upon!

    Walt would be rolling in his grave. [​IMG]

    This is probably discussed already in some "Disney sucks!" or whatever thread. [​IMG]

    This makes me wonder what'll happen to the familiar faces we know from all those DVD extras. [​IMG]
     
  3. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    this is a tuff subject. I dont think 2D traditional animation is dead per say, but it definately out of vogue at the moment. There was a lot of fat within Disney, with top animators making millions, and storylines and creative impulses crushed by corporate focus groups and marketing concerns. Does anyone really care wether 2d continued to exist at disney just so they could pull a lever and crank out anouther brother bear, or treasure planet. If nothing else it may at least alow new blood and risk taking within the company. I guess its like they say, somtimes you have to hit rock bottom before turning it all around. I do feel for all the talented artists pushed out of work possible unnessisarily, however. I have a feeling their first couple CG features will suffer from the same problem all their recent product has, and will do substantially less buissiness then pixar or even dreamworks stuff.
     
  4. Ben_@

    Ben_@ Stunt Coordinator

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    it is rather sad, but I have a feeling that hand drawn animation may not be gone forever from Disney (if Roy has anything to say about it). And saying that Disney won't be strong in animated films without Pixar is probably not an accurate prediction either, IMO. After all, Disney has had a flair for story and character without them.

    The Animation Show is proof that hand drawn 2D animation is not dead! It is worth checking out (DVD is coming soon). Lots of very good independant animated shorts. the website is animationshow.com
     
  5. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    There is reason to believe that 3D animation may replace 2D animation for the majority of future animated films. 3D animation has a sense of realism that not even the best 2D animation could ever attain. It may seem a negative statement for 2D animation, but not all films need to be realistic.

    Disney may be seriously underestimating how hard it will be to change from 2D to 3D. It may take years and several movies before Disney becomes equal to established 3D studios such as Pixar and PDI. Changing to 3D may not be a bad idea, but firing your 2D animators and closing down entire 2D animation studios wasn't smart. A gradual change would have been far better than a sudden and complete change to 3D animation.
     
  6. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Has it been 3D's realism that has propelled it to its current revered state? Have the popular 3D animated feature films really been particularly realistic-looking? Do fish really look like they do in Finding Nemo? Is Shrek a particularly convincing replication of reality?

    3D technology surely has the potential to heighten realism, but it doesn't seem to me that that has been much of a contributing factor in its success in the field of animated features thus far.

    DJ
     
  7. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    It's funny...prior to the last few years, no one referred to traditional hand-drawn animation as "2-D" animation. I still don't. If I have to make a distinction, I always say "hand-drawn", not "2-D". Calling hand-drawn animation "2-D animation" makes it seem like it's missing something, like a tricycle with only two wheels. Can you imagine Walt Disney introducing Pinocchio as "our second 2-D animated film, Pinocchio"? Pixar makes five movies, now everyone on the net is referring to hand-drawn animation as "2-D"...and that verbage is spilling over into the quality commentators. Roger Ebert used it last week in his review for Home on the Range.

    "There is reason to believe that 3D animation may replace 2D animation for the majority of future animated films. 3D animation has a sense of realism that not even the best 2D animation could ever attain."

    Hand-drawn animated films are *inherently* unreal, that's part of their magic and their charm. They have always been unreal. They are representational of the real world, they do not attempt to replicate it -- that's what live-action cameras are for. Final Fantasy is probably the height of visual realism within an animated context, and the film bombed. At the end of the day, it's not the medium, it's the story and the screenplay, and Disney has been sucking wind in the both of those categories for a while now. Pixar, on the other hand, has had two of their films nominated for screenwriting Oscars (Toy Story and Finding Nemo). THAT'S why their films are doing so well and why Disney's films are struggling. Disney's Dinosaur was CGI, and it, too, was a disaster in the screenwriting department, and it, too, was a disappointment at the box office.

    "I have a feeling their first couple CG features will suffer from the same problem all their recent product has, and will do substantially less business then pixar or even dreamworks stuff."

    I agree completely, 100%, especially since the trailer for Chicken Little on the Brother Bear DVD is flat-out repellant.
     
  8. Jon Mahoney

    Jon Mahoney Stunt Coordinator

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    This is such a horrible idea. As stated above, Disney's problem isn't hand drawn vs computer generated cartoons, it's that their stories suck. They've used up a lot of the easy fairy tales and have simply run out of ideas. The other thing I've heard is that even if one of the screenwriters/artists have a good idea, it's usually shot down by someone on the marketing/corporate side. Pixar films and Shrek have had great stories that make them appealing, not just that they're done on a computer.


    Eisner's days at Disney are numbered anyways, he's already been stripped of one of his titles. He's majorly screwed up the Pixar deal. Instead of giving Pixar what they want, which is more of the profits and Disney still distributing them, Disney now has nothing. Instead of a smaller profit on each Pixar release, Disney will get $0. Other studios seem to be willing to give in to Pixar and give them a fair deal, considering that Pixar makes everything themselves and just needs it distributed. One last thing, Disney sucks for putting Toy Story in their "vault" for the next 10 years, it's not even their movie!
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    Would 'Finding Nemo' have flopped if it were 2D?

    Would 'Brother Bear' be a hit in CGI?
     
  10. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Are you sure Disney doesn't finance Pixar's movies, at the very least?

    Also, it's kind of disingenuous to say Toy Story isn't even Disney's movie. By the same logic, The Matrix isn't Warner's and E.T. isn't Universal's. It may have been produced by another company, but Disney paid for the production and retains the copyright. That Pixar is looking to own their own films makes them exceptional, putting them in the same category as a scant few large-scale filmmakers (basically, Lucas and Spielberg, and maybe Francis Coppola).
     
  11. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "I don't know that they would have gone to the other extreme, but I think that (a) the use of different tools from the outset would have resulted in different movies being made from the same stories, and that (b) the general audience does have a real preference for digital animation over hand-drawn. Adults I talk to will go to a Pixar movie or the likes of Shrek or Ice Age, but pay no attention whatsoever to hand-drawn movies, no matter how much I tell them that The Iron Giant is the best animated movie in years, that Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis is perfect, that The Triplets of Belleville is brilliant, or that Treasure Planet is utterly beautiful."

    So who bought all those tickets for Lilo and Stitch?

    "That Pixar is looking to own their own films makes them exceptional, putting them in the same category as a scant few large-scale filmmakers (basically, Lucas and Spielberg, and maybe Francis Coppola)."

    And Walt Disney.
     
  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Kids, mainly. But that's just one data point, something of an outlier. I wasn't saying that hand-drawn films can't be successful, just that there was a preference for digital ones. Just because you can find an occasional counter-example to a trend doesn't invalidate the trend.
     
  13. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "Kids, mainly. But that's just one data point, something of an outlier. I wasn't saying that hand-drawn films can't be successful, just that there was a preference for digital ones. Just because you can find an occasional counter-example to a trend doesn't invalidate the trend."

    It's not the technology - Atlantis, Spirit,
    Treasure Planet, Sinbad and Brother Bear were not well-written or engaging. Lilo was. Final Fantasy and Dinosaur were both CGI, but were not well-written or engaging, and they both failed.

    The preference isn't for CGI - the preference is for good movies. Pixar has two Academy Award nominations for screenwriting under their belt, DreamWorks earned one for Shrek -- Disney has zero. Funny how the hit CGI films have great screenplays and do great business, while the hand-drawn animated movies with weak stories and bad screenplays fail at the box office. If there is a trend here, that's the trend. Notice how when Disney does something fresh and original, like Lilo - they outgross Minority Report. They release a poor film like Brother Bear, they struggle.

    That's the trend...the good movies succeed, the bad movies fail...regardless of the technology.
     
  14. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    On the issue of cel animation = 2-D:

    Does Roger Ebert not remember the magnificent, three dimensional, multiplane camera shots in Disney features going all the way back to SNOW WHITE?

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    About those animators fired by Disney:

    I understand many of them were hired by Pixar, Sony, Dreamworks, EA (yes, the computer game company), something called Blue Ice, and other animation firms. A few have started a new cel animation studio called Legacy. A few were transferred to Disney's Burbank studios and trained on the computer.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    On the future of cel animation from Disney:

    There will be a glut of CGI animated features in the next few years. There will be nothing to distinguish Disney's product from the rest of the pack. Once Eisner is out (I believe his contract ends in 2006?) someone at Disney will get the bright idea to do ink & paint again.

    Possibly the biggest obstacle to this is the fact that when the Florida studio was closed, all the equipment (animation tables, etc.) was sold off. Re-buying all the expensive equipment necessary to make a hand-drawn feature may be prohibitively expensive.
     
  15. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    What the Disney board are going to find out once they've invested in CGI versions of Pinocchio and Dumbo or whatever is their own corporate culture is what drags down their product. Everything is done by committee at Disney. Most times they have more than one director on a film - which may make sense logistically but it means there isn't a single vision driving a project. It strikes me that nobody cares about making a good film at Disney, nobody cares about telling a good story. Everything is precisely and scientifically worked out, debated and organised with corporate profits foremost. This might sound like perfectly good working practice, but we're talking about Disney here - Disney as in synonymous with quality, family-friendly entertainment.

    Up to his death in 1966, Walt made 22 features in 29 years. The company has made that many 2-D films since 1991 (13 years). There have been some triumphs and some disasters in that time, but the disasters would have happened whether or not they were 2-D or 3-D.

    The board see little flying cartoon dollar signs over computer animation because of the success of Pixar - who admittedly follow the Disney work ethic but obviously put more care into their product than the suits realise. Shrewdly they want to launch their own Pixar-free computer animation department by ripping off Toy Story. It will be a raging success undoubtedly, but once they've done Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo 2 and Monsters.com, they'll try something - shock, horror "original" - and it will tank big time because they think their customers (your kids and mine) are morons who will watch anything with the Disney logo on it.
     
  16. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I didn't know kids had money and cars nowadays to go to movies. [​IMG]

    I agree Disney's problem is more managerial than anything. There is too much concern with putting out product rather than a good story that everyone wants to see.

    Jason
     
  17. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    And yet Pixar's movies thrived there. November has actually been a pretty good time to release a family movie; you get the Thanksgiving weekend where kids are home from school, and if it does well, you can hang around through Christmas.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    First, is "hand drawn" animation really hand drawn anymore? I thought that even at Disney the cel-animation style was now done on the computer, with perhaps the exception of key frames.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this (and have been grumbling the same thing to my friends for the past few years.) And yet Disney seems to draw the exact opposite conclusion: that it's about the technology. Why is this?

    They had two unique and enjoyable movies, The Emperor's New Groove and Lilo and Stitch, that suggested a new direction for Disney: less emphasis on the animation "wow" but greater attention to the story (compared to the previous decade). But they seem to have been glitches, instead.

    What happened?
     
  19. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Well, it takes years to make one of these things. Lilo & Stitch came out in 2002, by which time Home On The Range (and nothing after it?) was probably already in production. And that and Tarzan have really been the only hits in the past few years.

    That might be okay if these things weren't costing $80M nowadays - that's a pretty substantial risk for something that sells a lot of discount tickets and can get utterly clobbered like Treasure Planet did.
     
  20. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    If I understand correctly, all the frames of animation are still hand drawn, with pencil, onto punched animation paper. The drawings are scanned into a computer ("CAPS" - Computer Aided Painting System?) for ink and paint. The first films to use this were MERMAID and RESCUERS DOWN UNDER.

    All Disney films from 101 DALMATIANS through MERMAID relied on Xerox machines rather than computers. The last hand-inked cels were on SLEEPING BEAUTY.

    I'm just paraphrasing this info from another thread. Our resident film expert Ernest Rister can correct me if I'm wrong.
     

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