Planning Disney’s Comeback

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 4, 2007 in Animation |

John Lasseter

There’s a great article in the New York Times on John Lasseter’s comeback plans for animation at Walt Disney:

He Runs That Mickey Mouse Outfit

“A Hollywood outsider whose independent shop popularized computer animation, Mr. Lasseter, 50, might seem an odd fit for a studio built on old-school cartoons and the mythology of Snow White and Cinderella. But since Pixar was acquired, Mr. Lasseter has been heralded as a latter-day Walt Disney, a cultural arbiter who can rekindle the spirit of Disney’s famous animation at its theme parks, on store shelves and in a theater near you.

Since the days of the 1928 Mickey Mouse classic “Steamboat Willie,” animation was Disney’s undisputed long suit. But after a recent decade-long parade of disappointments, most famously the 2002 bomb “Treasure Planet,” the studio was desperate for a change of fortune. It abandoned its hand-drawn tradition in favor of computer-generated fare. In the process the keepers of the Magic Kingdom lost much of their cultural cachet.

Enter Mr. Lasseter who, along with a close team of handpicked animators had made Pixar this generation’s premier storyteller with an unbroken string of hits including “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles.” The first filmmaker to run Disney’s animation operations since Walt Disney died in 1966, he said he wants to reclaim the studio’s golden era.”

…What I like about the article is that Lasseter seems to understand what makes Disney special is traditional 2D animation, so he’s not trying to make it Pixar. I also love the fact that John respects the idea of “the story” above all. And if I had to bet, my thinking is that we’ll be seeing some nice animation coming from the magic kingdom in the next few months.

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