Disney turns away from hand-drawn animation
What a saddening article.
Let me start off by saying I don't dislike 3D animated features. They're good, often quirky, usually funny. But I think they have a personality that is very different to a 2D hand-drawn film.
I was born in the mid-80s so I grew up smack-bang in the middle of the Disney Renaissance - just when Disney was having a resurgence of popular animated movies and enjoying time at the top.
I remember my uncle giving me a copy of The Little Mermaid on VHS – still have that too, despite my lack of VHS player. I remember seeing The Lion King and Aladdin at the movies. I re-watched Pocahontas just today and realised, hey – I knew at least two of those songs word for word and I didn’t even have a copy of Pocahontas as a kid. The same phenomenon occurred when I re-watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Epic soundtrack to that one.So, what was it about these 2D hand-drawn animated movies that I love so much? Why do I prefer them over the 3D films?
For a while, I thought I may be recapturing a sense of my childhood when I watched Disney, especially the ones I grew up with. But, hell, it’s not just me. The Lion King is the highest grossing hand-drawn animated movie ever.It can’t be the storylines. The films under the banner of “Disney Renaissance” don’t exactly follow the same formula.
Hercules, for instance, is a comedy. It’s filled with comedic antagonists, an oddly unfitting motown score and chock full of pop culture references.
Pocahontas is a serious story about race clashes and the telling of the fictional love between historic figures John Smith and Pocahontas. It's also one of the only (the only?) Disney movies where the love interests don't end up together at the end. Though I'm not in love with the art in this one, it's a bit flat unless there's neon leaves whisking about.
Mulan is a study on gender equality from a Chinese poem, with the best love story in a Disney movie to date - I mean, she's a "dude" when their love story blossoms.
|He's up for it.|
(p.s. love how wiki categorises this one: "Mulan is a 1998 American animated comedy-drama martial arts musical film")
It's a combination of story, art and soundtrack that made the Disney Renaissance what it was. But that old Disney magic shines brightest through the physical efforts of it's animators. And as much as I like 3D animated movies, I am yet to see them match the feeling evoked by the Disney Renaissance. I'm yet to be convinced it CAN be replicated.
Tangled was Disney's fiftieth animated movie and marked a turning point for the company. I think that turning point was that it was using half 2D half 3D animation and beat Princess and the Frog twofold in box office ticket sales.
And I know that the crinkle of hundreds of millions of dollars is hard to argue against, but I am. There is a place for this, there’s an undeniable charm of 2D hand-drawn Disney.
Hopefully, that charm lies in the future as well, not just the past.