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Fact Checking An Article

Post by Neal » November 2nd, 2008, 4:13 pm

I'm working on a piece about the possible return of 2D Disney.

I know you're not editors, however, many of you are really knowledgeable about animation.

I checked my article over and believe all the information is accurate, however I'm looking for a second check-through.

It's in the rough, this is only my first draft, so the grammar needs to be cleaned up.

I'm looking to see if the facts are correct and any comments/suggestions over what I wrote.

Only help if you're interested/have the time.

Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help me out!

Here's the article:


Disney Movies Of Old To Make Triumphant Return

No matter who you are, it's pretty likely that Disney movies were a part of your childhood. Even if they weren't, you know the characters all too well. Tinker Bell, Jiminy Cricket, Mickey Mouse and Cinderella - these characters have become some of the most beloved and iconic figures of the American childhood. Sine 1937, when "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premiered in theaters, the artists of Disney's animation studio have produced a new animated movie nearly every year. Whether you’re talking to children or adults, when you bring up nostalgic memories of youth, these films are as common of a bond between people as summer baseball, holidays and trips to our grandparent's house. “Bambi”, “Dumbo” and “Mulan” have become household names. However, as computers became more prevalent, it became less and less practical to draw these films by hand.
Disney's first computer generated image animated film, or 'CGI' film was 2000's "Dinosaur". However, it wasn't until 2004, after a series of traditionally hand-drawn or ‘2D’ animated films failed to make back their production costs that Disney phased out their traditional animation unit entirely. It re-trained its entire staff to use computers and decided to produce only CGI films from there-on-out. "Chicken Little" was released in 2005 and "Meet the Robinsons" came to theaters last year. This Thanksgiving, "Bolt" starring Miley Cyrus and John Travolta will be Disney's big ticket movie. In that film, Travolta stars as Bolt, an American White Shepherd who stars in an action thriller TV show. When he gets lost in the real world, he has to accept the fact that he's not the super-dog he thinks he is as he tries to find his way home.
Even though these films have fared well at the box office and done their job entertaining children, animation enthusiasts argue there's just something indescribable missing from these computer-animated films. Perhaps the hours and hours it took to draw each scene by hand during the earlier Disney days added a certain magic, warmth and heart to the films that computers fail to replicate. The problem was Disney's executives in the early 2000's weren't worried about how much soul these movies had, they cared about the bottom line. When films such as "Treasure Planet", "Atlantis", and "Home on the Range" which incidentally is Disney's last traditionally animated film to date lost them millions of dollars, but CGI films like DreamWorks’ "Shrek" or any of the Pixar movies ("Finding Nemo", "Monster’s Inc.") made millions of dollars, they saw it as time for a revolution. While children hardly noticed anything had changed – the characters were still lovable and that was all that mattered - animation aficionados wanted to see the return of the traditional days.
Ironically, it was some of the most loathed products coming out of the Disney Company that kept the ‘tradition’ alive – the direct-to-DVD features. “Pochantas II”, “The Lion King 1½”, “Cinderella II” and many others – these follow-ups to the Disney classics were being pumped out at dizzying speeds. Reprehensibly called ‘dreck-to-video’ films or ‘cheapquels’ by animation buffs, they were considered shameful insults to Walt Disney’s unrivaled film catalog and commitment to quality. Generally made only with potential profit in mind, not as artistic endeavors, these follow-ups included prequels, sequels, and even midquels (films treated as scenes missing from the middle of the originals) that showed the characters so out-of-character from their original forms they were said to be tarnishing Walt Disney’s legacy out of greed. Even so, they were ‘carrying the torch’ as it were, being traditionally animated films in a time when Disney’s theatrical releases had gone purely CGI. Pixar Animation Studios, the creators of CGI who many say sounded the death knell for 2D, became a Disney-owned studio in 2004 following a 7.4 billion dollar acquisition. Up until that time, Pixar films were merely distributed by Disney. Following the acquisition, Pixar president Johhn Lasseter (also director of “A Bug’s Life”, the Toy Story films and “Cars”) became the creative director of Walt Disney’s Animation Studio, given reign over all their ‘classic’ films and follw-ups. With his new position, John Lasseter seemed to have put the final nail in the 2D Disney coffin in June of 2007 when he announced that Disney was no longer going to produce the follow-up films to their classics. Despite making reportedly billions of dollars, Lasseter ended the lucrative features feeling the films were embarrassing to the Disney image. The last of the line to be traditionally animated was “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning” which released this past summer – however, a few spin-off type follow-ups would still be released, but in CGI.
Now all that was left were some 2D TV shows on the Disney channel such as “The Emperor’s New School”, which was a TV-show format prequel to another classic Disney film “The Emperor’s New Groove”. Even the Disney channel has seen a shift towards CGI. Disney’s mascot Mickey Mouse been subject to the switchover – his 2D show “House of Mouse” ended in 2002 and was replaced by the CGI “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” in 2006. It seemed as if 2D couldn’t survive in today’s world where CGI films were faster and easier to produce and were more flashy and appealing to kids.
There’s wonderful news for all those nostalgic of the days when Disney characters were drawn by hand and painted – all the purists who don’t consider the recent CGI films ‘true Disney’ – the return of Disney’s old ways is coming. Disney’s twist on “The Frog Prince” – the classic tale of the prince turned frog - will be debuting in theaters Christmas 2009. Titled “The Princess and the Frog”, it will be Disney’s first Broadway-style musical, fairy-tale princess film since 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast”.
The story features the first leading role in a Disney film for an African American. It follows Tiana, a girl from New Orleans who woos middle-eastern Prince Naveen when he comes to America during the 1920’s jazz age to learn more about our soulful music. However, the devious villain, Dr. Facilier turns them into frogs and they wind up lost in the bayous of Lousiana, trying to become human again. The film will star Anika Noni Rose of “Dreamgirls” as Tiana, Oprah Winfrey as her mother, Jenifer Lewis as her voodoo practicing ‘fairy-godmother’ and John Goodman.
Disney isn’t sure of how successful the film may turn out to be. Their insecurity is not because of quality. In fact, in the talent department it has everything going for it. It will be directed by the same duo behind “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid” and is being animated by many of the same artists from the Disney renaissance of the 90’s – the same people who brought “Pocahontas”, “Aladdin”, “Hercules”, and “Mulan” to life. Their fear is that 2D is too outdated to make a comeback. With 2004’s “Home on the Range” being the last of their classic films to premiere in theaters, and 2005’s “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie”, a direct-to-DVD feature that got a limited theatrical run being the last 2D Disney movie in theaters overall, it will have been four years without a 2D Disney film in theaters by the time “The Princess and the Frog” premiers.
A lot is riding on it. If it is successful, Disney will explore the option of fully returning to 2D and letting Pixar handle the CGI. Currently, they are so unsure they don’t even have another 2D film on the immediate slate. Their 2010 feature is going to be “Rapunzel” but it’s CGI. In 2012 Disney will release “King of the Elves” – a film about a man who saves a group of elves and is named their king – but it, too, is CGI. So why are they willing to take a risk with “The Princess and the Frog”?
The very man animation purists claim killed 2D at Disney – Disney’s creative director and Pixar’s president John Lasseter – is in full support of the return to 2D and in fact, even argued with the director of “Rapunzel” to make it a 2D film but the director refused. Despite pioneering the CGI format through Pixar, his love for animation is rooted firmly in the 2D style. “The Sword in the Stone” was the film that absolutely convinced him he had to work at Disney one day and he animated a key sequence in “The Fox and the Hound”. Despite shutting down many in-production 2D sequels including “The Aristocats II”, “Dumbo II”, and a prequel to Snow White called “Disney’s Dwarves” (it told the story of their lives) he wants to see 2D return to prominence as much as any traditionalist, only in a form as enchanting and timeless as the tales Walt himself used to tell.
With only one 2D film on the horizon for Disney, the 2D direct-to-DVD follow-ups dead (only the five CGI “Peter Pan” spin-off films featuring Tinker Bell remain – the first hit shelves last week), and the Disney channel shifting towards CGI, it’s up to you to help the traditional, beloved style of the Disney of old return. Since Disney is waiting to see how well “The Princess and the Frog” fares before green lighting any more 2D films, it needs all the support it can get. When Christmas rolls around next year, remember the Disney of your childhood – how beautiful those hand-drawn, painted scenes were – the inexpressible magic of a 2D Disney film. Take your children to see a classic Disney fairy tale on the big screen the way you most likely once saw them, go see it for yourself to remember what made our childhoods so special. If you do, you may just be helping restore the legacy Walt Disney created.

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Post by Daniel » November 2nd, 2008, 6:53 pm

The ending sounded, how do I say, a tad preachy. I can see what you were going for, though.
Neal wrote:(only the five CGI “Peter Pan” spin-off films featuring Tinker Bell remain – the first hit shelves last week)
You might want to change this to October, or the actual release date October 28th, 2008. It just isn't done and if you turned it in after this week, it would be dated and incorrect, no? ;)
Neal wrote:and a prequel to Snow White called “Disney’s Dwarves”
I can't believe you mentioned this, even after what Ben said in another thread. I think it would be OK if you mentioned how rumors started after the fact a website pulled a joke, but the way you have it, like it was always in offing, I wouldn't include it.
Neal wrote:Now all that was left were some 2D TV shows on the Disney channel such as “The Emperor’s New School”, which was a TV-show format prequel to another classic Disney film “The Emperor’s New Groove”.
Not a prequel, it takes place after the events of the original. Though how it fits in with Kronk's New Groove is another matter. The show has made a few references - quite funny if I may add - and Pacha and Chicha have three kids. :)

School's series finale is this month, by the way.

Might also want to change "Pochantas II", "Atlantis" and "Cinderella II" to their full names - "Pochantas II: Journey to a New World" "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" respectfully.
Neal wrote: “Bambi”, “Dumbo” and “Mulan” have become household names.
The Lion King would fit better, personally.

"Dumbo II" - that's more down to story problems then being halted.
Neal wrote:Even the Disney channel has seen a shift towards CGI.
Less we forget the recent debut of a 2D show entitled Phineas and Ferb. ;)

There's some of my suggestions, all which I don't expect to be followed through with, but there you go. :) There is more, but it's really down to how I would write it and what I would want to be taken away from it.

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Post by Neal » November 2nd, 2008, 10:54 pm

I was going for preachy. :wink: However, I'll work on it.

Good idea, no need to date the article before it gets published.

No, no, "Disney's Dwarves" was real - Jim Hill said he saw concept art and actually liked it. It felt like a Lord of the Rings type fantasy. It was to be the male-geared counterpart to "Disney's Fairies".

Oh, Emperor's New School is a sequel? Weird. I've only seen it a few times but I thought it was about how he went to school prior to becoming emperor. Guess not. Hey, it's ending... maybe that gives more credibility to my article.

Changing to full names is fine... I originally thought that myself.

So you want me to drop "Mulan" for "The Lion King"?

Is there another 2D sequel that got halted, then?

Yes, but it seems like besides Phineas and Ferb there's been a quiet move towards a more CGI-centric channel. But with the switch to XD it won't really even matter.

You can share the 'there is more' - I'm open to all suggestions. I'm making most of the ones you've already made.

Thanks for the help! :D
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Post by Ben » November 3rd, 2008, 1:24 am

Gee, Neal, can't you do anything yourself? I know you're just asking for ideas and input, but, man...I remember having to do all this from books and interviews when I did my dissertation on the Disney company in the late 1980s. :(

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Post by Neal » November 3rd, 2008, 10:13 am

...? I did do all the research... I gathered this information from multiple interviews with Lasseter, a few of those backstage Disney DVD bonus features, "To Infinity and Beyond: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios", and some various other articles ranging from such places as Time Magazine to Jim Hill.

I'm just looking for some peer review. I'm sure the vast majority is accurate - I was only looking for some opinions on it and any small errors that might have slipped through.

You always seem to interpret everything I do as laziness. I just thought you all seemed like the type of people who'd know about this... I'm not asking for grammar, spelling, punctuation... I was just wanting to make sure I wasn't wrong on any facts. As I've already cited my sources, I doubt I am/was but I'm the OCD perfectionist... I wanted to make absolute sure, despite my research.
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Post by GeorgeC » November 3rd, 2008, 10:14 am

deleted for high level of annoyance

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