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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Disney animation woes

"The studio argues the decision was necessary because of the disappointing performance of such recent traditional animation projects as Treasure Planet and Home On The Range and because of the staggering success of CG projects such as Toy Story and from rival studios Shrek and Ice Age."
Jamie Portman
The Ottawa Citizen

Hmmm...the answer to the argument is: though you traditionally animate crap, it is still crap.

Disney's insistence on departing from its historic templates to indulge in politically correct, culturally with-it storytelling is largely to blame for the current problems.

A computer is a tool, as is a pen. I have seen Fred's traditional animation, as well as his CG work. I like both. The issue, then, is not HOW you bounce the photons off of our retinas. The issue is STORY.

My favorite TV series I had as a child was a Sci Fi marionette show called Supercar. There is a small but rabid cadre of fans to be found here.

Let's face it. Though Supercar's visual artistry is less than perfect, the characters we know and love so well endure because of the story, the writing. (Take a bow, Messrs. Woodhouse) More recently, Kez Wilson and Michael Wolfe have collaborated on a graphic novel approach. Rather than treat us to gargoylesque pictures, with bulging eyes and craggy chins (grant me my polemic, here) Kez chose to "pretty up" the characters in his excellent comic art. This did not decrease our enjoyment of them (I thought he said he was a conservative?!), because they BEHAVED like Mike and crew, sans wires. Ditto Michael's work with the current serialised story on BlackRock1. Heck, we don't need puppets or pictures at all any more. We SEE them performing in the Theatre of the Mind.

The upshot: Disney should come up with better stories, period.
(Or at least STEAL better stories, as they did with Lion King -Kimba the White Lion, and Atlantis -another anime, Nadia, Secret of Blue Water.)
T.Hee did amazing animation with sponges and art erasers. Story is all. Animation is the vehicle. Yugo or Mercedes. You'll still get there.

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