Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who Killed Bambi 2?


Slate.com has a very thoughtful and lovely article about how John Lasseter is being short-sighted in killing the Disney D2DVD sequels.

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And unlike the current crop of animated features, Disney's direct-to-DVD sequels tell their stories simply, without a constant barrage of slapstick and winking pop-culture references. All three films I watched were entirely free of crotch-kicking, and the only fart joke belonged, appropriately, to a skunk. Instead, the jokes tend to be quiet, the action gripping if only occasional, and the entire pace of the movie enjoyably slower than you're likely to see onscreen these days. How much slower? Lady and the Tramp II and Cinderella III even make time for character-defining songs, the way animated movies used to.

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I couldn't agree more with writer Dan Kois. If Lasseter's main objection is the fact that he doesn't like the Disney D2DVD sequels -- then make them better. The fact is that there are only a few places left to do quality 2-D hand drawn animation anymore - most of those places are in China or India. Hand drawn animation is a skillset that is in rapid decline and to me it would be a tragedy for that skillset to disappear from the company founded by an animator.

3 comments:

Shawna said...

IMO, D2DVD animated features at Disney is NOT dead...possibly just shelved for a bit.

The problem here is quality control. Yes, they may be fine for viewing for kids, but Disney (the company and the long since dead founders of the company) has always been about providing a quality experience in storytelling. Part of the quality was getting away from them with the D2DVD features -- almost everyone I know to a person at Disney who doesn't work in that area HATES THEM. It dillutes the brand.

Now, Lasseter salvaged Toy Story 3 from D2DVD for a big screen release. I expect some of the other project may find life there if they are good enough. If not...well, it's for the best.

Don't think Disney doesn't know what it's doing here. The lifeblood of the Studio division is DVD sales. I highly doubt that there will be a long moratorium on these types of releases...only long enough for the current projects to be evaluated and some of them re-imagineered (Disney word) to be a higher quality product that an entire family will watch and watch often. And provide further synergy opportunities in consumer products...

Bill Cunningham said...

As I said earlier, if there's a problem with them, make them better.

Thanks for the insider assessment.

Gregory said...

There actually WAS a Bambi II, and a lot of people loved it.

I wrote an article on the big shake-up at Disney a few weeks ago, and from what I've been told, Disney D2DVD isn't dead. Little Mermaid III will be the last sequel we'll see for a very long time, but character spin-offs may still occur.