Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » May 4th, 2020, 3:00 pm

There was never an "estrangement"? Roy stuck with Walt all through everything and briefly took on duties when Walt passed, although there was a transactional time between Walt and Ron Miller, when Card Walker kept things going for a few weeks/months, but that’s not usually counted, just as Roy isn’t.
Oh OK, I understand now...for some reason I always thought that the whole Walt-side vs. Roy O. side family conflict was because they had a falling out. I assume it was more because of a clash in ideas of how the company should be run (and of course nephew Roy E. Disney unceremoniously working to remove his cousin Diane Disney Miller’s husband Ron Miller from his long-time position as CEO)?

In terms of CEOs, there are just the five you mentioned, but I wonder if they’re including Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg in there? When the three came in in 1984 they were widely trumpeted as a team, although Eisner held the reigns. That’s the only thing I can think of that would get us up to a seventh...?
They might possibly have been thinking about Wells since his name gets tossed around a lot these days as “the one who really ran the company instead of Eisner.” So maybe they were confused by that.* Or maybe they were thinking of Mike Ovitz since a lot of his story at Disney has been seen as being mainly how he was supposed to be the most likely candidate for CEO when Eisner would eventually pass the torch.

The problem is that many journalists now are simply too young to have covered Disney during the 80s or even the 90s. (Not blaming them, it’s just the way it is). In order to truly, fully understand modern Disney history during these decades (in my opinion) the best way to learn is to hunt down books like Storming the Magic Kingdom, The Keys to the Kingdom, The Disney Touch and Prince of the Magic Kingdom. Also, tracking down old Hollywood-centered articles from this era would involve subscribing to quite a few (now on-line) publications. (Or you could just use Lexus-Nexus or JSTOR, but, once again, quite pricey. :?). And all of the books listed above are out of print and can really only be found in libraries, a place that, let’s face it, many of us have not set foot in for a long time.

So the source that most often gets consulted nowadays is James B. Stewart’s book DisneyWar, which was released in 2005. I won’t once more get into why I overwhelmingly despise this book—all I’m going to say is that it wasn’t written with much clarity and even brilliant, seasoned animation producer Don Hahn has commented that much of its information (specifically referring to animation) is suspect at best. Hahn’s own much-lauded documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty was, he’s said in a few interviews, a response to it.

*Frank Wells was a VITAL part of resurrecting the company from 1984 through 1994, his financial and managerial skills were extraordinary, but he was one of THREE people who miraculously brought Walt’s nearly impossible-to-measure contributions back into the public eye.
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » August 5th, 2020, 1:15 am

Wasn’t quite sure where to put this; it basically recounts the making of Duck Tales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp from 1990. Also how it fits into Disney animation history in relation to today.

I don’t want to sound mean or anything, but I’ve never seen an article on Disney or Hollywood in general get so much so wrong before. Too much to list here. Honestly...this one takes the cake. :?

https://collider.com/ducktales-treasure ... ed-disney/


Also just wanted to emphasize that I do understand about the ethnic stereotypes in the film possibly being an issue for some, but it was a different time and there was never anything really malicious about them—at least in my opinion. The writer also doesn’t seem to realize that ethnic caricatures were definitely in the actual DuckTales series, (in addition to Hollywood in general.). Even Little Mermaid, which he describes in glowing terms, had a gently “stereotypical” Jamaican crab, but Sebastian goes unmentioned.


From the article:
After Disney bought Pixar (a deal actualized by Bob Iger, Michael Eisner’s replacement as CEO), it installed Pixar executive John Lasseter in charge of the entire creative side of the company, where he oversaw Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studio. He immediately halted production on the direct-to-video sequels but kept DisneyToon Studio alive. The studio eventually made a series of CGI Tinker Bell movies and a pair of Planes movies set “in the world above Cars.” DisneyToon had its own mini-renaissance. But by 2018 the studio was shut down and last year Lasseter left the company after allegations of sexual misconduct.


And that’s the true legacy of DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Sure, it paved the way for movies like Toy Story and The Nightmare Before Christmas, loosening the standards so that movies not produced by the main Disney Animation unit could be released by the company. But more than that, it created the infrastructure and appetite for the wave of Disney direct-to-video sequels that flooded the market in the 1990s. While DuckTales The Movie is charming (and definitely has developed a cult following), it unfortunately led to movement that flooded video store shelves and helped contribute to the over-saturation and eventual death of the traditionally animated market. If we came across a magic lamp, we might wish for this movie to have taken a different path.


Interesting. So the 15-year mixed bag of DTVs (many of which were quite entertaining, all profitable) somehow helped kill 2d Animation, but then Lasetter’s immediate halting of traditionally animated DTV’s combined with replacing them with cheap CGI like Planes and a (talking) CGI Tinkerbell didn’t?

Also, I love how all of the CGI live-action remakes of the classic Renaissance films he refers to are not mentioned once. Even though Dis has been releasing them for more than half a decade now. :roll:
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Ben » August 5th, 2020, 5:27 am

I haven’t looked at the link yet, but just going on those extracts, this reads like a fanboy article. This isn’t a "real" writer writing this...

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Farerb » August 5th, 2020, 6:09 am

I think he might suggest that the DTV helped shape people's mind that hand drawn animation is cheap which might led to people not having an interest in them anymore.
Lasseter might have had a hand in their death, but Michael Eisner was the one who decided that Disney would no longer do hand drawn theatrical films in mid 2000's.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Ben » August 5th, 2020, 8:41 am

Although Bob Iger made the final decision after Pooh's underperformance, even if that film was thrown to the dogs anyway. :(

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » August 5th, 2020, 9:51 am

Princess too... Lasetter had a very big hand in that film’s production and development, as well as the marketing. (Both of which were considerably lackluster.). Iger had pretty big expectations for it, but as he saw it, Lasetter failed to deliver the goods. So bye-bye 2D. (As far as we know, Lasetter raised no objections. So funny how one day Santa Claus/21st century Walt was singing Traditional’s praises but after Princess and Pooh underperformed, 2D was never heard from again. :cry: :cry: :cry:)

Also, no one FORCED Pixar to ONLY make CGI movies. I’m sure if they truly wanted to try out a 2D film in the 2000s (whether under Jobs/Eisner or Iger/Lasetter), they would have had that opportunity. CGI was always their reason for being, it was who they were. Their choice. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But then they should at least take SOME responsibility for the eventual eradication of 2D-animated feature films.

They didn’t intend to stamp out 2D of course, but they DID have a hand in it. As did Brad Bird who made the switch when he signed on to direct Incredibles after Iron Giant flopped. Not to mention every other Hollywood/animation studio that jumped on the CGI bandwagon (DreamWorks SKG, 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky, Paramount/Nickelodeon, etc...). Eisner didn’t blackmail those studios to abandon 2D, did he?? Oh, and I’ve always found it interesting how this almost NEVER gets mentioned: Eisner/then-Walt Disney Feature Animation held on to Traditional FAR LONGER THAN ANY OTHER STUDIO INCLUDING DREAMWORKS! Home on the Range, the very last one, came out halfway through 2004. And the 2D DTV’s were still very much on the market. By then every other studio was LONG-finished with this art form.


Funny how Lasetter got so much praise for supposedly “getting behind” only two classically animated projects; and then almost no flack for completely abandoning them, at least in spirit, just because they “underperformed” (I totally agree about Iger having the final say of course: I’m guessing he was pretty *****’d off, but still. Because at the time, I definitely do believe that Lasetter felt threatened by the possibility of WDAS making glorious animated classics again that might outshine Pixar’s films. So I doubt he raised too many objections when Iger did away with Traditional. So basically, both Iger AND definitely Lasetter had a hand in destroying Traditional Disney Animation during the last two decades. Sad, but in my opinion 100% true.)
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Farerb » August 5th, 2020, 9:59 am

But wouldn't he be worried about WDAS making glorious animated classics in CGI, which they actually did this last decade while Pixar's offerings were not that great?

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » August 5th, 2020, 10:10 am

Probably yeah...but I think WDAS making Traditional classics again worried him more because THE EXPERIENCE of watching a 2D film (at least in my opinion) is so very different than watching a CGI. (Not better, just different.)

Pixar’s early films like TS2, Bug’s Life, Monsters and Nemo all came out when Disney Animation proper was floundering. Of course those early Pixar films were spectacular, but it DEFINITELY didn’t hurt that instead of competing with Lion King they were competing with films like Dinosaur and Atlantis. (Not to say those are bad, they just weren’t smash hits.) If WDAS started releasing Traditional films in the caliber of Aladdin or Mermaid or Pocahontas....Pixar certainly wouldn’t have looked WORSE, but they wouldn’t have seemed quite the same to audiences. Not “bad”....just different.


And that was a “wild card” factor Lasetter did NOT want to have to deal with. Pixar possibly not being at the very top??? Forget it. :roll:
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Farerb » August 5th, 2020, 10:14 am

How much would you say he was involved with later WDAS films? Cause I feel like he was more strict with Pixar than with WDAS (for example Brave vs Frozen) cause I personally felt like Moana felt more Musker and Clements than The Princess and the Frog did.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » August 5th, 2020, 10:22 am

I’m pretty sure that creatively he was less involved with WDAS projects as the years passed, (what with running Pixar, WDAS and Imagineering, he was spreading himself way too thin) so yeah, that definitely makes sense that Moana would feel more like a Musker and Clements film compared to Princess.
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by ShyViolet » August 5th, 2020, 5:24 pm

On his “strictness” towards Pixar vs. WDAS...honestly I don’t know enough about the current situation, especially since it’s been years since Robinsons, Bolt and Princess were “tampered” with, very much suggesting that the original directors were run roughshod by JL. But it’s been like a decade since then, and like you said there’s been some amazing WDAS films like Frozen,Tangled, Zootopia, etc...(although since all three of those films were assigned relatively young, at the time less seasoned directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, some insiders have claimed that they were representative of the less experienced, less combative WDAS artists Lasetter preferred to work with. And NOT to dredge this up again, so I’ll just say two words: Rapunzel, American Dog. OK, I know that’s three. :wink:)


From what I understand, (with the exception of “Brain Trust” directors like Pete Doctor and Andrew Stanton) JL was hard on both Pixar and WDAS. But in comparison, WDAS got the worst of it from John (and Ed Catmull, whom I think is still there) since they weren’t “his” guys like the Pixar artists were. Even with their myriad workplace issues, Pixar animators had much more relative job security and respect, at least compared to WDAS. (Right now I’m not even going to touch the issue represented by the two OTHER words now associated with John’s running of Pixar and WDAS: MeToo.)


Since Lasetter’s now permanently gone from Disney, Pete Docter currently runs Pixar and Jennifer Lee WDAS. Up until now there’s been virtually no info on whether or not things have gotten better/worse at either studio. I truly hope they’re better, but everything’s so crazy at the Disney company in general at this point (Covid, economy, etc...) that I’m not terribly optimistic about current conditions at WDAS or Pixar. :|
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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Farerb » August 5th, 2020, 11:44 pm

Interesting. I know that Ron Clements is writing a book about his time at WDAS so maybe he'll write about all of this.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by EricJ » August 6th, 2020, 1:14 am

Farerb wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 11:44 pm
Interesting. I know that Ron Clements is writing a book about his time at WDAS so maybe he'll write about all of this.
Yeah, he hasn't said anything, but watching Princess & the Frog and especially Moana, I got the really unsettling vibe that Musker & Clements were just on the edge of announcing retirement, and the fact that Ron's writing memoirs doesn't dispel that.

Which is too bad, as they're still the only good Disney Renaissance directors, and the only ones who know how to write good male characters, which we could (ahem) definitely use under the current Jennifer Lee studio.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by Farerb » August 6th, 2020, 1:21 am

Why did Moana give you that vibe?

Did you mean out of the directors that are currently at WDAS or did you mean that non of the Renaissance directors are good? Anyway they're not working at WDAS anymore.

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Re: Disney Renaissance 2/Disney Revival

Post by droosan » August 6th, 2020, 3:26 am

I feel privileged to have paid a visit to both the Orlando feature studio (in 1993, during the production of Pocahontas) and the Burbank feature studio (in 1997, during the production of Tarzan) .. and seeing for myself those massive gold-wooden animation desks everywhere; crammed into every nook and corner of the respective studios .. most of 'em with someone hunched-over and busily drawing away, flipping through sequences, etc. :)

I even got to see the gigantic multiplane camera (at the time, sadly, disused and gathering dust) in its original location within the old animation building on the main Burbank lot .. it was later disassembled and put 'on display' in the lobby of the studio's executive/administrative building; no idea whether it's still there, now.

It was sometime in the mid-00s that I chanced to drive past the new animation building, south of the Disney lot (the one with the 'Sorceror's Apprentice' hat on its front) .. and saw giant piles of those animation desks sitting in the parking lot. :cry: Some of 'em were probably put into studio storage .. but I know a bunch of 'em were later sold at auctions.

Regardless, the symbolism was clear: Disney's management was burning the bridge 'back to 2D animation' behind them. :?

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