Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Disney eschews animation in favor of continued aesthetic and commercial torpor

There are, of course, supposedly solid business reasons for this; there always are. But for me, as an animation historian, Disney's decision to eliminate hand-drawn animation for its features is sad. It implies on the part of management disrespect for the studio's history and a lamentable lack of flexibility and vision.

Amen to that, Mr. Canemaker (link from ALD). When I consider the successes among Disney's recent cel-animation offerings - Lilo & Stitch, Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove - I can't possibly imagine how these stories could have been better served by CGI. These three movies so successfully integrate the element of surprise (in the Emperor's case, with a devilish, manic genius), their stories are perfectly served by the 2-D medium.

I suppose I'm enough of a latent Catholic to feel some sorrow (and irritability) at an institution's decision to forsake the anima that got it up and running. Still, just because the suits at Eisnerland have forsaken the faith, doesn't mean the spirit is fated to die. Hayao Miyazaki was asked by Entertainment Weekly if he thought CGI was "going to destroy 2-D in the end?" His response: "I'm actually not all that worried. I wouldn't give up on it completely. Once in a while there are strange, rich people who like to invest in odd things. You're going to have people in corners of garages [making 2-D animation] to please themselves. And I'm more interested in the people who hang out in corners of garages than I am in big business."

Artists, to your garages.


Phil said...

Damn, Miyazaki is cool.

Whisky Prajer said...

On the recent Kiki's Delivery Service DVD, there's a clip of Pixar's John Lasseter enthusing over his "discovery" of Miyazaki. The two men are at some sort of industry to-do; Lasseter is bouncing around, while Miyazaki is remains either unimpressed, or stoic. Lasseter lunges toward the camera and gushes, "And now, I'm going to introduce my hero and friend, Miyazaki-san, to the world! World, meet Hayao Miyazaki! Miyazaki-san, what would you like to say to the world?"

Miyazaki blinks once, then says, "Hi."