Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby Randall » July 16th, 2015, 1:00 am

Absolutely. I love most of those films! (Not Chicken Little, but the rest!)

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby Ben » July 16th, 2015, 3:28 am

Oh, I wasn't saying that I didn't like the films or thought personally that they were in a rut, but objectively speaking in terms of "classics", critical and audience reaction, it can't be argued that the 2000s were a dip in adulation for the Studio's films on the whole, just as the 1970s is viewed as a low point when, in fact, there was a lot to love in that decade, too.

The only previous time Disney could be said to have been at a low was the later 1940s, when the toll of the war took its effect on the artists, stories and commercial success. These were the years of the Package Features, where numerous shorts were compiled to make themed movies instead of full-length features. They kept the Studio going but were hardly "classics" in the true sense of the word.

Again, don't get me wrong: there are many things I actually adore about the Package Features, and this period also brought us some real gems, but one can't honestly say Disney's output has always been top-drawer all the time. I agree that Disney has never ever "been away", but even as an über-fan and defender of some of the most obscure stuff, one has to admit that thee have been some periods of creative dryness, most usually the result of outside forces (war, the death of the company founder, executive meddling)...

Even though the films made during these times *do* have many great merits (even Chicken Little is just dumb stupid fun when viewed the right way), one has to look at the wider picture. I don't think Catmull was necessarily calling out a full 17 years of bad films there, but just commenting that they had four huge hits and then a slide down in quality, which is kind of true, although again I would only point out that it was a five to ten year period, not as long as Catmull surmises.

Were there great films among these times? Youbetcha...but are they true Studio classics, revered as much as the so-called Platinum/Diamond titles? No...in fact there's not one 2000s title in that prestigious line of the most popular Disney films, which says a lot. Personally, I think the rise of Pixar kind of filled that gap for those years and, when those films lost a bit of their luster, we all went back to loving what we loved best about Disney, hence the success of Tangled and so on.

Like any company, Disney has had its dips, but has always remained consistent at turning out a quality product. I love The Emperor's New Groove, but it was the result of a patchwork production that turned whacky as a way to save the film. Is it a very funny, entertaining and enjoyable movie? A big YES! Was it a hit? Moderately so, and certainly surprised the Studio. But despite the love for it, it will always get lumped in that early 2000s list of "underperforming" titles.

I don't agree with that, but I don't agree with Catmull signalling that any kind of dry period went on for as long as it did either.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby EricJ » July 16th, 2015, 4:01 pm

Ben wrote:Oh, I wasn't saying that I didn't like the films or thought personally that they were in a rut, but objectively speaking in terms of "classics", critical and audience reaction, it can't be argued that the 2000s were a dip in adulation for the Studio's films on the whole, just as the 1970s is viewed as a low point when, in fact, there was a lot to love in that decade, too.


The 70's WERE bad, in that Ron Miller didn't know how to make an animated movie that didn't just spin its wheels and try to make the Jungle Book again (more Xerographed talking animals and a Phil Harris bear!), because that was What Walt Would Do.
The 00's, OTOH, were saddled in that What Jeffrey Would Do, namely big musicals with corny villains, had already burned itself out on Hunchback/Hercules, and now they didn't even have that, and they tried slopping together whatever pet projects an animator had on his desk without the benefit of being tossed around in story committee. (Seeing the Zootopia trailer just reminded me of the days when we wondered who even thought we would go to see "Wild Life".)

In both cases, the fan frustration with the studios started turning into mean-spirited childhood-issue jokes about "what Disney films were like"--The 70's, when Disney had the near-monopoly on animation, sparked the Bambi-talks-dirty jokes of Ralph Bakshi, while the 00's picked on happy smiling un-PC princesses who broke into song too easily, and made us think Shrek 1&2 and Enchanted were genius for beating up on them.
Pile on the growing mutiny against Eisner, and fans kept taking their grudges against the 90's tropes right to Eisner's doorstep, which explains the nearly unmotivated kill-frenzies fans displayed against Treasure Planet and Home on the Range.
If you think (ahem) some fans go a little overboard in thinking "Chris Sanders should take over Dreamworks, so they can make Dragon movies night and day!", you shoulda been around when Lilo & Stitch came out. :shock: I was surprised to see just how many good reviews and surprised first-time fans of Treasure Planet there were when it came out on Blu-ray a few years ago, since when it came out in theaters, it was burned at the stake for even daring to make "normal" Disney movies, and standing in the way of what should have been Chris Sanders' destiny to rule the studio...

Like any company, Disney has had its dips, but has always remained consistent at turning out a quality product. I love The Emperor's New Groove, but it was the result of a patchwork production that turned whacky as a way to save the film. Is it a very funny, entertaining and enjoyable movie? A big YES! Was it a hit? Moderately so, and certainly surprised the Studio. But despite the love for it, it will always get lumped in that early 2000s list of "underperforming" titles.


It was a fluke, in that, with Tarzan and Mulan wrapping up the 90's after the Hercules disaster (I mean, I like Hercules, but historically...), it just caught us off guard in that we just didn't expect Disney at the time to have a sense of humor, period.
Pixar was also still relatively unknown--most Pixar fans didn't become aware until TS2, and didn't Come Out as fans until Nemo in '03--so the idea that a Disney movie could have an offbeat sense of humor and some sympathetic-character cuddle-hugs at the end seemed like more of a thunderbolt. Basically, Groove was replaced by people who could do it better than Mark Dindal could, and after Chicken Little, we assumed anybody could do it better than Mark Dindal could. :x
Last edited by EricJ on July 16th, 2015, 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby Ben » July 16th, 2015, 4:10 pm

I had a big long answer ready to go here but something timed out and I had to start from scratch. To say I can't be bothered is an understatement, but I'm still not sure what Eric just brought to the conversation...! ;)

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby EricJ » July 16th, 2015, 4:14 pm

I'm just saying that the 00's were like the 70's, but they weren't like the 40's.
It was only recovering from the war that gave us the 40's package features, not the public wanting to beat up the studio because of some imagined grudge against Dumbo and Bambi.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » November 21st, 2015, 10:11 am

Interesting Q & A with Catmull: according to him none of the sequels Pixar has released (and will release) were "forced" on them from above:

http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/ ... d.html?m=1

The interview TAG links to is extremely informative. I also found it interesting that when discussing how Pixar has to make quality features every time, Catmull says: "The Pixar name means more than any other name." Real great quote considering he just denied that there is any kind of rivalry between Pixar and WDAS. :roll:
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby EricJ » November 21st, 2015, 12:35 pm

ShyViolet wrote:Interesting Q & A with Catmull: according to him none of the sequels Pixar has released (and will release) were "forced" on them from above:

http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/ ... d.html?m=1


Well, that's true in that they didn't refuse to do TS4 or Cars 3 ("We've got a really great idea for it!"), so Iger wasn't exactly twisting arms, even it doesn't sound like one of theirs, and the attempts to clean up the Circle sequels (if they're allowed to talk about C7 on the record) were their own new organic creative attempts to find something to fit the title.
The "some people who don't believe it" tend to be the backstory-clueless fans who think Pixar just wants to be cheap, sell them down the river, and grind out sequels just like other franchise-obsessed studios we could name.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » December 3rd, 2015, 7:41 pm

Interview with Ed Catmull on virtual reality as an art form as well as other subjects:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... ed-catmull
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » March 19th, 2016, 1:51 pm

Another interesting Catmull interview about Pixar, Zootopia, WDAS and how Pixar has been guiding them. (But unfortunately more bashing of then-WDFA back in the early 00's. Ugh. :roll: )

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/re ... 105976bbe6


EDIT: sorry, I don't know why I was able to read it before, but apparently it's for subscribers only. :(

Basically Catmull said stuff like: "When we got to Disney they weren't producing much of anything." Plus the writer of the article called all the early 00's films like Treasure Planet and Brother Bear "bombs." Also, apparently "everyone" thought that Wreck-it Ralph and Tangled were really Pixar films.

Whatever. :?
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby EricJ » March 19th, 2016, 2:26 pm

ShyViolet wrote:Another interesting Catmull interview about Pixar, Zootopia, WDAS and how Pixar has been guiding them. (But unfortunately more bashing of then-WDFA back in the early 00's. Ugh. :roll: )

Basically Catmull said stuff like: "When we got to Disney they weren't producing much of anything." Plus the writer of the article called all the early 00's films like Treasure Planet and Brother Bear "bombs." Also, apparently "everyone" thought that Wreck-it Ralph and Tangled were really Pixar films.


Well...a lot of people did. Not just the CGI, either, WIR had the self-aware immersive environment and in-jokes, and with Lasseter overseeing the Reboot, the WDFA/Pixar differences were academic. Before Frozen, it was tough work getting anyone to see a late-00's WDFA movie by telling them it was good, and if it they saw it and it was good, it "must" have been Pixar.
Oddly enough, most normal mainstream people who knew Tangled was a Disney film for being a fairytale musical seemed to remember it being in 2D, just because it "should" have been.

And all the early 00's up to and including Chicken Little were bombs--even Lilo & Stitch wasn't the most disciplined screenplay--if you're whining about financial business, which is the only reason anyone WOULD put Treasure Planet in the same sentence as Brother Bear for anything other than historical reasons.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » March 19th, 2016, 2:32 pm

I'm not "whining," just expressing my opinion. Not all those films bombed (Lilo and Groove were both hits.). And those films do have their fans. For Catmull to make a blanket statement like that is pretty insulting to all the hard working artists who were just doing their jobs the best way they could. :|
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby Ben » March 19th, 2016, 3:20 pm

Yeah, I agree. One could say the same about the lull in the mid-1940s or the long stretches between films in the 1970s, but there are gems in all those titles. After a huge creative burst there are often times of creative drought...as, to be frank, Catmull should be man enough to admit has also happened to Pixar.

Besides, Disney begat Pixar in the way the early films informed their films and style (there are incredible similarities between the first decade of Pixar's films and the 40s and 50s Disney output). That they kind of came back and now run the place doesn't mean it was "broken"...it's just the age-old tale of the apprentice becoming the master (just as the Nine Old Men took over from the likes of Norm Ferguson and the rest of the original Hyperion artists, and were then followed by Keane, Deja, Henn et al).

Disney was never broken. The people there were derailed into a series of not-always great choices imposed by meddling, mediocre executives. All Pixar did was to come in and remove those executives and restore the culture at Disney as it had been in better times. It's telling that, as if to prove the point, there are very few, if any, of the films that have emerged from Disney in recent years that didn't have some kind of their roots in projects that were already in development at the studio.

Pixar should remember a little more about who paid for their early feature film development and what their history was before Disney - yes, Disney - provided the means for them to grow from short films and revolutionise the animated feature medium (and, if we're engaging in a little Lamp-bashing, then arguably not always for the better). For me, their intertwined histories together, the often interchangeable personnel between films, melding of franchises between each banner's releases and mere fact that the films are labelled Disney-Pixar has me lining up the Pixar titles within my Disney library anyway.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » March 20th, 2016, 9:59 pm

Kinda funny, just finished watching Groove on Netflix...can't believe I forgot how funny this movie was! And sweet too. The only thing was, this movie made me incredibly sad...I didn't even realize how much I miss hand drawn animation!! So awesome yet so depressing to see it again. :(.

(Also who'd've thought you could make David Spade work in a Disney animated feature? :P )
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » March 28th, 2016, 5:40 pm

Just FYI, the above Ed Catmull story is now available to read for some reason. It's pretty informative. :)

(Funny, the writer seems to think that Meet the Robinsons was one of WDAS' "bombs," not the first Pixar fixer-upper. He also calls WDFA "Pixar's ugly sibling.")
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Postby ShyViolet » November 24th, 2016, 1:50 pm

Pretty cool re-cap of WDAS' rise after Pixar arrived ten years ago.

I am grateful to Pixar for helping WDAS (then WDFA) become successful again. That's undeniable. But I so wish that they could give job security to the Disney animators and treat them the way Pixar animators are treated. As good as the films are nowadays I think they could be even better with a raise in morale. It just doesn't seem fair to me. Disney animators work just as hard as their Pixar counterparts. :|


http://variety.com/2016/film/features/d ... 201923719/
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