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Animation and Anime

WonderCon: Quint has a brief report on a few tidbits from Disney's 2D animated THE PRINCESS & THE FROG!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a small kick-off to my WonderCon coverage. Today was the first day and fairly light on the movie programming. In fact it was pretty light on most things. The exhibitor hall was only 3/4ths full, with a quarter of the hall just vacant. Guess it’s a sign of the times. The attendance doesn’t seem very high, either, but I’m sure that’ll change tomorrow when we have a day full of big profile movies and celebrities. So, it was a rather relaxing introduction. I wandered the hall, checked up on some original comic art and found some really nice pieces, but horribly out of my price range. We’ll wait for Sunday when everybody’s in their “Oh, fuck… this thing’s over and now I need to pack all this up” sale phase. The only movie related panel today was a panel on 2D animation which featured some clips from Disney’s upcoming return to classic hand-drawn animation THE PRINCESS & THE FROG. A guy by the name of Marlon West ran the panel. He has worked at Disney since THE LION KING, working on effects animation… which is basically everything that isn’t the characters and architecture. For instance, he did all the dust clouds in LION KING.

He started essentially telling us that he had to adapt when the decision was made to kill Disney’s feature animation department and learned how to do his job on a computer for films like CHICKEN LITTLE and MEET THE ROBINSONS. He gave us some examples on the screen, befores and afters on both films… water effects, the spaceship from Chicken Little causing clouds and dust storms, lightning, etc. Then he said about 3 years ago John Lasseter came in and he said he felt like Helen Hunt in CASTAWAY when Lasseter wanted to bring back traditional animation. “I thought you were dead… I have a new wife. Her name is Maya.” The joke, of course, being that Maya is the name of the CG animation program. Anyway, the footage wasn’t much. It was essentially three shots from the movie at different stages. The scene is the Prince going to visit the villain, a Voodoo priest named Dr. Facilier. Three shots: -Prince POV on Facilier behind his desk, doing card tricks with his tarot deck. - Angle on the Prince as Facilier’s magic is worked, the chair’s arms turning into snakes and his transformation to being a frog begins. - Prince POV on Facilier as the evil man seems to grow huge (of course, the prince is shrinking as he turns into a frog). We saw many versions of these shots, from the rough storyboards to the rough, but instantly classic Disney pencils of the characters going through their motions, then the close to final versions. Of the examples given, the one I liked the most was the Prince’s transformation, which is hidden in a cloud of swirling green smoke. It looked like it had it’s own light source because we could see flashes of the Prince’s silhouette as he fought with the snakes binding him to the chair. It reminded me a little bit of the magic stuff from SLEEPING BEAUTY and SWORD IN THE STONE. He also mentioned that Disney’s animation plan is to have a digital animation film out every 18 months and a traditional hand-drawn animation film out every 2 ½ years. I expected a bit more, but that was all there was to it. I guess it’s better than sitting on my thumb all day. Every other online guy I know that’s covering WonderCon, like Edward Douglas from ComingSoon.net, El Guapo from LatinoReview, Peter from Slashfilm and Alex Billington from FirstShowing.Net were there as well. Just nothing else going. Tomorrow is different, though. We got Watchmen, Trek, Terminator, 9, UP and more, plus interviews. So tomorrow’s the big day. Stay tuned for more interesting reports! -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Traditional Animation

    by ZooTrain

    Is an art I hope we don't lose.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Huzzah for John Lasseter

    by Liberty Valance

    Art itself died a little when traditional animation was cast by the wayside. If anyone can resurrect it, Lasseter can. The ubiquity of these CGI shitfests has grown tiresome. Hand-drawn cels will be a welcome sight to these eyes.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Thank God for John Lasseter

    by superfleish76

    Hopefully, everything that they do at Disney will continue the Pixar formula of story first. Hell, it would be nice if all of Hollywood would realize that that is the secret ingredient of making great films.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Any word on RAPUNZEL?

    by BeeDub

    That's one I want to see.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Lasseter is the new Walt...

    by conspiracy

    As a Disney stakeholder..I trust my company to this guy more than any other Suit in Burbank. He has started to do WONDERS at the parks...and hopefully he'll work his Hawaiian shirted magic in Animation as well. He is everything a guy like Eisner or even Iger(as good a CEO as he is turning out to be) can never be. Because unlike them..he understands the answer to "What would Walt do?" comes from the artists pen and the Imagineers workshops...and not from some MBA grad in finance.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 9:30 p.m. CST

    the dust clouds in LION KING

    by performingmonkey

    Lol. Very sly nod there, Quint, to the conspiracy theory (why it's even called a 'conspiracy' I don't know) of various messages being hidden in dust clouds, trees etc. in Disney films, particularly The Lion King. I like how people who talk about the theory pretend to be so outraged and harmed by the word 'SEX'. OMG our childrens' minds have been corrupted! Except they haven't by Disney films, only by you!

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 9:53 p.m. CST

    I second that Lasseter is the new Walt

    by TiVo1138

    "Quality is the best business plan. Period" <br><br>How awesome would it be if Lasseter revived and hosted in the Wonderful World of Disney (or DisneyPixar)?

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:04 p.m. CST

    "Lasseter is the new Walt" - I third the motion

    by finky089

    This is the man who has in his heart that which made Disney something special to generations. He is an executive who knows the meaning of "quality" vs taking the cheaper route just topad the bottom line of a company. he's a man of vision who pulled back on Cars, Bolt, and other projects because he knew they weren't right when he first saw them. He's a huge proponent of the theme parks, in particularly making Crapifornia Adventure a place people will want to go. I read recently that he started spending the night in the park for days at a time so that he could walk it and ride rides at night so that he was in touch with it first person. <p> Hands down, Lasseter may not only be the "new Walt", he may be the man who brings his vision back to life.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:09 p.m. CST

    I love hand drawn animation.

    by Power_Girl

    Would have been cool to see that footage. <p> Tomorrows report will be something to look forward to... till then.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:31 p.m. CST

    As much as I like traditional animation . . .

    by WickedJacob

    Is there really very much left to do with it? And given the awful entries that became the last gasps of this art form at Disney (Brother Bear, 3 Musketeers, numerous uninspired sequels), I'm really not excited about Disney being the studio to revive it.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:35 p.m. CST

    TiVo1138

    by slone13

    A new Wonderful World of Disney hosted by Lasseter. Man, that would be great.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Mmmm, sexy animated black Disney princess

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Me likey.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Anyone here in the know about animation?

    by Crimson Dynamo

    Can computers emulate the look of hand drawn animation? Or maybe a process where the animator draws key positions and the computer fills out the missing frames in-between? I don't see why it needs to be one or the other.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Marlon West dust clouds

    by Outlaw

    So Marlon West was responsible for puting the word "SEX" within the dust clouds in the Lion King? God I love these horse shit Disney rumors!

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 11:58 p.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Love Don't Cost a Thing

    by James Westfall

    Just sayin' is all.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 12:38 a.m. CST

    THAT GUY PUT "SEX" IN THE CLOUD!

    by DOGSOUP

    Heh way to make The Lion King classy buddy! Shoulda put in "CONDOMS"

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 12:41 a.m. CST

    cali unemployment just hit 10 percent

    by bacci40

    highest in 50 years...i dont think too many people have extra caishe to spend on things like comic collections<p> wonder what the hit to overall attendence will be<p> and as it looks to get worse before it gets better, as we are now in a full drought situation, which is gonna hit the state to the tune of 1 billion dollars, wonder if the sd comic con is gonna take a hit too

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Yeah I wish someone would ask him about the "sex"

    by D.Vader

    In the cloud of Lion King. But then again, he'd probably lose his job for even addressing such a question.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 1:50 a.m. CST

    I watched the new "Wonderful World of Disney"

    by D.Vader

    With Eisner, bc I was young and in love with Disney products. I would MOST DEFINITELY welcome a resurrection of the show with Lasseter and his geeky fanboy self hosting.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Song of the South

    by Booster Gold Lives

    Anything more to the rumor that if this movie does well and/or is received well, that Disney might consider (finally) releasing "Song of the South" on DVD/Blu-Ray? Read that a while back...I'll hope for anything to keep from paying for an online bootleg.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 5:11 a.m. CST

    This is the kind of stuff that gets me excited.

    by kungfuhustler84

    I'm talkin COOL NEWS. This kind of stuff is just cool to me.<p>Disney's return to classic 2D animation>One Billion Watchmen reviews none of us actually need

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:08 a.m. CST

    John Lasseter

    by Azlam Orlandu

    I agree. The man is the best thing to happen to Disney since Walt passed.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:15 a.m. CST

    We need many more studios than Disney

    by Dingbatty

    making 2D animated films, and stuff for different age ranges, instead of the formulaic, showtunes, bowldlerized/bastardized myth/legend/folklore/faerie tale stuff primarily for the kiddies.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Traditional Animation Returns

    by wampa_one

    Thank God Disney got some of its brains back. It's the story, not the form that makes something memorable. Anyone who thinks something like Shark Tale is as good as Peter Pan or Pinocchio is goddamn fool.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Lion King a rip off of Kimba the White Lion.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Scum.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Do I care about this?

    by Gus Van Rant

    In a word, nope.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 10:36 a.m. CST

    So people still think it's SEX?

    by DerLanghaarige

    It's SFX. Forgot why they picked it (I think it was the name of a company who worked on the digital effects) but this rumor is as dead as the one about the priest with the erection in The Little Mermaid.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 11:32 a.m. CST

    WickedJacob, you don't like Pixar films?

    by Dreamwriter

    Because Pixar *is* Disney now. Most of the people involved in the old hand-drawn 2D animation movies at Disney no longer work there - they left when they got shut down, unless they managed to transfer their skills to 3D like this guy. And if you think John Lasseter (the previous head of Pixar) would allow a 2D movie as bad as those last few, then you don't know anything about Lasseter.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 1:25 p.m. CST

    1). Who cares? 2). This is gonna' be a bomb.

    by Alfie Boy

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST

    3) Alfie Boy doesn't have a clue

    by slone13

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:40 p.m. CST

    New Star Trek Trailer!

    by Scorpio

    New Star Trek trailer premiered at WonderCon today, brief description here: http://tinyurl.c om/c763u8

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Thank you Mr. Lasseter

    by Hamtaro Hentai

    All I know is that my favorite Disney film is still 'Sleeping Beauty.' Lasseter understands what this movie means to some of us, what all classic Disney movies mean to us, and he wants to re-create that feeling. Bottom line my ass, you see where people love Disney for what it is. Not money, but true enjoyment.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Lost my train of thought

    by Hamtaro Hentai

    The fact my Blu-Ray copy of Sleeping Beauty came with a regular DVD for non Blu Ray players... Well that's just a show of respect to the fans.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Monsters Inc 2!

    by BartholomewNeff

    I just saw over at Blue Sky Disney that Monsters Inc. 2 has been greenlit and is deep in story development for a tentative 2013 release!

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Monster Inc 2? Dunno..think it is fine as is..

    by conspiracy

    Most of Pixars creations are fine as stand alone films. Don't see the need...but as long as it improves on the first...why not.

  • March 1, 2009, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Don't see the need for a Monsters, Inc. sequel either

    by Mr. Pricklepants

    On the other hand, I would love to see an Incredibles sequel. That movie just screams sequel. But only if Brad Bird does it.

  • March 1, 2009, 10:19 p.m. CST

    While he might be the new Disney of animation...

    by SK229

    I don't agree with it when it comes to the parks. A lot of the things that makes/made? the parks great didn't have much to do with actual Disney films. It's when every single inch of every park became looked at as an opportunity to promote and sell product related to Disney films and characters that the theme parks lost 50-60% of what made them great. And while I don't think Lassetter has gotten to Epcot yet, I think his involvement in California Adventure points to more of the same - i.e., an entire section of the park devoted to the movie 'Cars'? What I like about CA is stuff like that wine country terrace/restaurant and just certain areas where the architecture and landscaping and the LACK of Disney characters just makes you feel transported. I still don't understand all the hate that's gotten thrown at this park... as far as attractions, it STILL has more than Animal Kingdom. <p>The saddest park of all, though, is Epcot. Many point out that it never really lived up to Walt's vision to begin with, but does that mean it still has to be kiddified? I used to love World of Motion and Horizons as a kid (back in the mid 80's). There was just something both nostalgic and forward looking at the same time... and a sense of wonder about the world around you. The movie at the beginning of The Living Seas was another example of this. I think THAT part of it did have to do with Walt's vision and they got it right. Same thing over at MGM - a feeling of looking back at Hollywood's past while simultaneously being immersed in it's future. An example there is that at the foot of their sunset boulevard section, there used to be a great film book, poster, and video store. In the mid-90's, around the release of the live action 101 Dalmations, it got turned into a store selling JUST merchandise from that movie and has never looked back since. I've heard they're going to update the movies on the Great Movie Ride rather than do a Disney villains ride, and I really hope so. I have no idea with a Disney Villains ride has to do with a replica of the chinese theater. Not to mention the fact that they let the rights lapse or something on using the chinese theater as the park centerpiece or 'weenie' as Walt used to call it, so they put a gigantic fucking aluminum Mickey's 'sorcerer' hat to cover up the one building in the park that is an exact replica of a Hollywood landmark. <p>So... whether or not Lassetter can fix these things without slapping characters on every ride and products in every store, I don't know. I think he obviously has the right attitude towards the films, but I think the park's relationship to Disney films isn't always what made them great.

  • March 2, 2009, 12:20 a.m. CST

    SK229...some good points...

    by conspiracy

    I'd agree that Character over promotion might be a problem...for us. Those of us who grew up at Disneyland, or are knowledgeable about it's history, might not like Characters in Small World or Pirates...but WE are a very small percentage of who visits the parks. Most people who visit go only a few times in their lives life..and THEY want to see Disney at THEY understand it, and the friend they tell about their visit will want to see it as they understand it....which is a character driven understanding. No I don't like the character saturation...but from a business point of view I understand it..and it certainly beats having the parks neglected as they were under Pressler.</p><p> Now I'll disagree with you all day about DCA...it was horrible from day one. From the architecture, the overall cheapness, to the distinct lack of unique Disney-esque attractions. It is the best 1.4 Billion I've ever spent to get it fixed.</p><p> WDW however has been adrift for over a decade...Walt never touched it...and it never really had the planning and personal touches that went into DL...WDW is Disney by committee..some hits some misses and lately just kinda forgotten. Here is hoping Lasseter gives that property some of his time as well.

  • March 2, 2009, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Yeah, people kind of won't know what they've missed

    by SK229

    but that's what the problem really is, a commitment to dollars and synergy, rather than some kind of ideals. But it is nice if the parks get the attention they deserve. I said 50-60% of what makes them great. I can still enjoy the other 50%, it's just sad to see part of what I loved about them go. <p>Walt didn't have a hand in the Florida parks, but it sure felt like he did. I think the imagineers symbolize a lot of what he was trying to do, and sometimes they DO get it right again - I love the Tower of Terror, Everest, and even Mission Space, all of which have nothing to do with Disney characters. I guess I just miss some of the immersive historical and future environments of Epcot. A kind of sugar coated educational pill, which I feel that sometimes you have to do that to spark the imagination and get people, especially children, interested in learning. <p>I stand by the comments on Lasseter though, I think he's great as a filmmaker and storyteller, but I believe that wherever the parks can be improved, it will be with some Pixar thrown in. That may or may not be his fault, it could be that part of the mandate of spending the money is that it has to tie into some recent property that can drive the business model.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 12:17 a.m. CST

    ???

    by orcus