Willaims yes, Sanders no.
Well, that's the thing, I don't think were suppose "get" anything. Things didn't work out, and now its different. Not a bad thing, and certanly not unusual.
I get what you're saying Dan, and sure, it's not unusual for a film to get "re-shaped" like Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast were. But Bolt is not American Dog re-done, or "American Dog after story problems were handled." American Dog was canceled. Bolt is the new film. A producer or executive or "creative" giving notes, advice, input is not the same as firing a director and canceling his film.
(Case in point: Emperor's New Groove is not Kingdom of the Sun after story problems were tackled. Why did an otherwise promising film like KOTS get reworked the way it did? Because of major, major problems and interference at the executive level, for one. Sound familiar? )
My theory: The far-out quirky original plot was no doubt very much disliked by Lassetter or he would not have canceled the film. He either didn't take to it because he believes all films should be Pixar or--more likely (just my opinion) he felt threatened by Disney going in new directions, things they haven't done before, things Pixar hasn't done before.
If you were Lassetter, wouldn't you rather that Disney stick to commercially successful but also extremely tired formulas that have been making them money but leaving them in the dust creatively for years, while your Robot movie is the only "bold new animated film" to come out in 2008? I could just see the reviews of Bolt now:
"While the film has some charming moments and humor, the tired plot and wise-cracking CGI animal characters drag it down. Despite the fast pace and snappy punchlines, this film is further proof that while Pixar pursues bold new ideas such as this year's stunning WALL-E, Disney is still in a creative funk from which it might not ever emerge."
Of course, this is only my theory. I don't know how Lassetter really feels about Walt Disney Feature Animation. I only know what I've seen of his actions so far. Other than the whole American Dog thing, his nearly 24-7 cheerleading of Ratatouille in contrast to his silence towards Meet the Robinsons is the biggest indicator. John Lassetter LOVES Pixar, Pixar is his life, and that's where his priorities lie.
Sure, he took the Disney job, but there were other factors here. What Steve Jobs wanted for one. Steve Jobs wanted the money, period. (Steve Jobs does not care about Disney Feature Animation one iota.) John Lassetter wanted Pixar to stay independent but knew he needed Disney to distribute them. Iger wanted the Pixar name and the status of having "fixed" WDFA by putting them in charge.
All these factors conspired together and somehow Jobs wound up on the board, Lassetter and Catmull at WDFA, and Iger all happy because Disney's stock went up and he bought Pixar because Michael Eisner couldn't. I really don't think there was much thought beyond that, or any thought given to the Walt Disney Feature artists or what they wanted. Like I said, just my theory, but it's also based on what we've seen.