The future of 2D Animation' Apparently not Disney or Dreamworks... then where'
Published at: Dec. 1, 2003, 5:39 p.m. CST by staff
Hey folks, Harry here... I've had a lot of folks asking me to comment on this whole Roy Disney & Stanley Gold exodus from Eisner's Mouse of Ill Repute, and frankly... it's sad. I look in Roy's face and I see the entire history of DISNEY behind his eyes. I look into Eisner's face and I see the face of a man that seems to not represent those same ideals. DISNEY wasn't meant to be an evil corporation. It has just been drawn that way by current management.
One can only imagine the disgust that Roy must feel as he has seen Disney's animation division laid waste by micro-management, gestapo-esque security measures, test marketing of every minutae and the cut backs that force the very heart and soul of what made DISNEY such a great company... those folks that draw love & soul at 24 frames per second. The Ink & Paint departments. And what's the next Animated Classic to carry Disney's name? TEACHER'S PET! Joy.
Personally, right now I'm hoping that PIXAR just walks away... the same way that Roy and Stanley just walked away. Sometimes if you love something, you have to let it crash and burn on it's own accord, but then return to it when it's ready to be reborn, not based on spreadsheets, but based on ideas, soul and innovation. The very things that made the Disney Animation and the Disney Company so wonderful, for so many years.
Ok, sorry about the soap box... I know, you're curious about the headline... The Future of 2D Animated Film? Well, the odd thing is... the future for this seemingly "dying" form is nestled firmly in the alleged stake that has been so publicly thrust through its chest... PIXAR.
The word is that PIXAR is starting their own 2D Animation Division. A company that will use the PIXAR brand... that name which stands for supreme excellence, innovation and soul in animation today... and putting it behind the form that everyone there loves. 2D Animation.
The first film? Well, Brad Bird, who is wrapping up work on THE INCREDIBLES for Pixar is apparently going to be the goto guy on this to kick it all off. RAY GUNN!!! What is RAY GUNN? Here's what Moriarty gleamed from Brad Bird - 5 Years Ago!
What can you tell me about RAY GUNN, and is there any chance we'll ever see it?
Well, uh, I hope so. I think it could be a really great film. Essentially, for a long time I've believed that there is an audience for animation that Hollywood has been very slow in recognizing is there. The success of SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL say that there is an older audience for animation, but Hollywood tends to be very myopic, and it's change is slow. You can make the arguments for more distinctive, more adult animated projects on TV now, but you've still got all these preconceived notions to overcome trying to get it to features. IRON GIANT basically represents a halfway step for me between what Hollywood can understand about feature length character animation and where I think animation can go. It has enough of the stuff that Hollywood traditionally recognizes as being in a children's film, but hopefully we've been able to kind of squeeze some adult stuff in there in a way that doesn't put kids off. There was so much misinformation about RAY GUNN...
It was one of those projects that I kept hearing the name of over the years, so it's sort of taken on a life of its own if you know the animation community.
Well, it's two things that are hard to sell in Hollywood. Part of it is sort of film noir, even though to me it's only that in the surface details. Really, it's more of an action movie, and it had a substantial amount of comedy in it. I see it as being very mainstream, but Hollywood saw it as being almost experimental, like, "Whoa, what the heck is this?" In animation, you're always fighting against, "Well, that might upset a 5-year-old." My feeling is, "Well, then, the 5-year-old shouldn't go. Come on, can't we make some other things?" RAY GUNN was not it was PG, you know? Maybe PG-13.
This has been one of Brad's Passion Projects for quite some time and now... At the company that is most held responsible for the pronounced "DEATH OF TRADITIONAL ANIMATION" it is looking like it is getting a new lease on life... Odd, given 5 years ago, Steve Jobs apparently told Brad that 2D animation was "basically going the way of the Buggy Whip." Well, things change... PIXAR to me has always been about story, ideas and soul. If RAY GUNN has that, it's gold whether it is rendered, drawn or acted out with sock puppets. DISNEY may not have the spirit, heart or vision to see that, but thankfully everything that was once best about Disney pulses a healthy beat in the chests of everyone at PIXAR! Thanks goes out to "Kirby" for the heads up!