Disney’s The Wild

The Wild

This recent GLOBE AND MAIL story reveals that the cost of Disney’s upcoming THE WILD was $80 million. Judging from the film’s nearly unwatchable TRAILER, an $80 million budget is not enough to do the following:

- have characters speak with decent lip sync
- plant a character’s feet firmly on the ground so it doesn’t look like it’s floating
- create a production design that marries characters and backgrounds in a manner that doesn’t disturb viewers

I don’t know whether the $80 million figure is taking into account the decade-long cost of when the film was being developed at Disney, but clearly the $80 million budget isn’t showing up in the finished film. Despite the good news that came out of last week’s deal with Pixar, Disney will be unable to avoid the impending embarassment of this film when it’s released in April.

If the powers that be were smart, they’d bury this film and bury it deep. The Disney animation brand is suffering enough nowadays without films like THE WILD exacerbating the situation. The wisest bet would be for Disney to hire the WB folks who were responsible for marketing THE IRON GIANT. That’ll guarantee nobody ever sees THE WILD.

OSCAR SHORT NOMINEES

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And the nomineees are:

Badgered (A National Film and Television School Production) Sharon Colman
The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation John Canemaker and Peggy Stern
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello Anthony Lucas
9 (UCLA Animation) Shane Acker
One Man Band (Pixar Animation Studios) Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews

Congratuations to all the nominees, particularly to our friends at Pixar and John Canemaker. This is a fine set of nominees. Here’s my quick take on the films:BADGERED is the “laugh” film. The quickest way to an Oscar nomination (and sometimes a win) is to produce a film that has some big laughs. BADGERED is about a sleepy badger who lives in a mountain that becomes a nuclear missile silo. It’s no more original than an old Barney Bear cartoon, but it’s nicely drawn and very very funny.
THE MOON AND THE SON is Canemakers powerful autobiographical account of his relationship with his father. Strong, absorbing, skillful – and clearly hard for the Academy to ignore.
JASPER MORELLO is an amazing half-hour fantasy “mini-feature” done with some combination of silhouette cut-outs and CG (or for all I know, it’s entirely CG). Beautifully art directed, great Jules Verne-esque story, and produced at very high level of craft.
Shane Acker’s “9″ is supposedly a student film produced at UCLA – but it’s an extremely well made, slick, professional piece of science fiction filmmaking. Excellent CG art direction and animation.
ONE MAN BAND is another great Pixar short – as lavish and handsome as any of their feature films, and just as clever. Produced in widescreen CinemaScope, BAND once again shows the range of subject matter and the strong character animation talent the studio is known for.UPDATE: Our friend Steve Segal weighs in on “9″: I attended Shane Acker’s talk at Siggraph and he wasn’t really a student when he made 9. He had already worked on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as an animator. And I believe he was working at Rhythm & Hues at the time. He had gone to UCLA years ago and went back to take advantage of their equipment. That in no way deminishes his achievement; it is basically a one man operation with the help of some friends (no small feat to compete with Pixar).

OSCAR FEATURE NOMINEES – NO CG

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The nominees are:

Howl’s Moving Castle (Buena Vista) Hayao Miyazaki
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (Warner Bros.) Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (DreamWorks Animation SKG) Nick Park and Steve Box

CG was shut out. Big smile on my face…This is a great list of nominees. I thought the hand-drawn HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE was one of Miyazaki’s best (though I know many who disagree with me on that), the puppets of TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE took the craft of stop-motion animation to the heights of the art, and WALLACE AND GROMIT combined storytelling, character animation, and big laughs into a feature-length adventure with skill and charm. I loved them all – but may the best man, dog and rabbit win.

2006 Animation Predictions

Better late than never. Here are a few thoughts from your Brewmasters – Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi – about what might happen in animation during 2006. It’ll be difficult to top the excitement of last week’s Disney-Pixar deal, but we think there’s still room for other interesting things to develop during the next eleven months.

FILM
→ 2006 will be the great shake-out of computer animated features. More CG films are planned for release in 2006 than ever before, and most of them (at first glance) range in quality from mediocre to awful. As we earlier noted HERE, there are at least eight films planned for 2006 release that are about a group of anthropomorphic animals on a grand adventure. Throw in FOODFIGHT, MONSTER HOUSE and YANKEE IRVING, and it’s a virtual guarantee that there’s going to be a lot of animated flops this year. We feel that these poorly conceived, hastily executed, unoriginal CG features will erode the cachet of CG animation, while at the same time leveling the playing field and creating new and exciting opportunities for films of different techniques, styles and stories.

→ Pixar’s CARS will be the most financially successful animated feature of 2006. CARS may not be the envelope-pushing artistic achievement of THE INCREDIBLES, but it looks like solid entertainment. Furthermore, the weak slate of animated films this year will only will reaffirm Pixar’s dominance in the field of computer animation, and remind us why the studio has yet to fail at the box office.

→ Los Angeles, which used to be the only major center of feature animation production, is increasingly losing that distinction. Feature production has been slowly moving northward for a number of years. Pixar and Dreamworks/PDI are already producing animated features in the Bay Area. Now, the Orphanage and Wild Brain are joining them in 2006, and the Bay Area is on its way to becoming a major center of feature animation production. A little further north in Portland, Laika is also staffing up for feature production, and the feature industry is becoming less LA-centric than ever before.

TV
→ If a 20-year-veteran of the cable industry and the president of the #1-rated kids’ network (Nickelodeon) resigns from his post, wouldn’t the number #2 and #3 kids cable networks be lining up to grab him, no matter what the cost? The reality is that Herb Scannell is either talking to (or already has a deal with) Disney Channel or Cartoon Network to become the new boss. Both are rumored to be undergoing major shake-ups this year. With Jobs and Lasseter in control at Disney, Scannell at Disney Channel seems like a perfect fit. If not CN or the Mouse, where then? Perhaps Comcast. The cable giant has long announced plans to create new cable channels using its programming content acquired as a result of the Sony-MGM merger. Herb could come in and launch a slew of new networks for cable, Internet and broadcast TV. Wherever Herb lands, he’ll do a great job. A beloved creative exec with a proven track record won’t be idle for too long.

→ “Adult Swim” will spin-off into its own channel by the end of the year, due to changing cable laws and the “a la carte”-ization of the cable industry. Cartoon Network proper will continue its decline, if not in ratings then in quality of programming. Once a powerhouse of ‘creator-driven’ animation, it has increasingly lost its focus and sense of direction. There is so much confusion that the network has taken to screening live-action programming in recent months. The network’s vice president of development, Sam Register, recently stepped down from his post, highlighting the internal turmoil and lack of clear consistent direction for the network.

→ The new CW Network (combining the WB and UPN) could have had a Saturday Morning combining Nickelodeon cartoons (recently ousted from the CBS Saturday Morning schedule), Kids’ WB! animation and Cartoon Network originals. The combined Viacom and Warner Bros. Animation library is a goldmine of classic cartoon greatness: Looney Tunes, Terrytoons, and Tex Avery to name but a few. Just imagine a new special featuring Spongebob beating the crap out of Coconut Fred, or THE MIGHTY HEROES taking on the LOONATICS – now that would be worth getting up early for. But forget about that. Word on the street is that Kids’ WB! alone will continue to supply the Saturday morning block with its own brand of derivative pap. We do hope they will at least allow us to see the thirteen half hours of new TOM & JERRY TALES which WB Animation produced last year for foreign broadcast and is otherwise sitting on the shelf. And CBS has announced a Saturday morning schedule that sounds like an acid flashback to 1975: ARCHIE, SABRINA, THE LITTLES, INSPECTOR GADGET and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. The entire line-up produced by DiC. If someone had told us 20 years ago that Filmation and Hanna Barbera would be gone and that DiC would produce an entire Saturday morning network schedule, we’d never have believed it. The bottom line: We predict low Saturday morning ratings for CBS and CW – while the dedicated cable channels continue to dominate the children’s cartoon market.

BLOGGING
→ We previously labeled 2004 “the year of the animation blog” and the summer of 2005 as the “animation artist’s blog renaissance.” What will 2006 be? There is little doubt that blogs will continue to grow in importance within the animation community. Moving beyond a place for showcasing art and sharing opinions, blogs will increasingly become a vital networking tool. Blogs are connecting animation artists all over the globe in ways previously unimaginable, allowing talented artists from around the world to show their artwork to the rest of the animation industry and receive instant feedback on their work. Future animated productions will benefit by having an entire world of talent to choose from, with blogs becoming a modern, more efficient, form of the portfolio. Also, in the second half of 2005, many animation bloggers began adding video to their sites, including Seward Street and Nick Cross, and the video trend will only grow in 2006.

COMING SOON: PRINCE VLADIMIR

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Just when you thought cel animation was dead and shipped to Siberia: PRINCE VLADIMIR, a Russian production, will be released in the U.S.S.R. next month. Directed by Yuri Batanin, a veteran of the Soyuzmultfilm Studio, it’s apparently the first of two feature length films about the heroic king – the second is in preproduction now and scheduled for a 2008 release. The website is loaded with images, information and trailers.(Thanks, Brendon Connelly)

ONE MORE QUESTION

sweatbox.jpgSting (at right) is featured
in THE SWEATBOX (2002)
In all the delirium over the wonderful Disney-Pixar news this week, one burning question remains to be answered:Can Disney finally release THE SWEATBOX now?You’ve probably heard about THE SWEATBOX – some of us were lucky enough to see it at a film festival or during its Oscar-qualifying one week run in Los Angeles back in 2002. Filmmakers John-Paul Davidson and Trudie Styler were given unprecedented access to Disney Feature Animation to document the making, and ultimate meltdown, of the film KINGDOM OF THE SUN (which later evolved into THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE). Certain Disney execs did not come off looking too good in the final cut and the film – controled by Buena Vista – has been sitting on the shelf ever since. I know this won’t be Iger-Lasseter’s first priority, but we are hoping the film won’t be forgotten. It’s a great document of how mismanaged Disney animation was for the last half dozen years, and a permanent reminder of what happens when clueless Hollywood executives run amok over talented creatives.

Eggleston, Pinkava, Docter

WINTER by Pete Docter

Speaking of Pixar, as we’ve been doing all week long, Dan Caylor has posted a great 14-1/2 minute video clip on his site that features the following:

> an interview with Ralph Eggleston speaking about the genesis of his short FOR THE BIRDS

> an interview with Jan Pinkava speaking about the technical challenges of creating GERI’S GAME

> and WINTER, an amusing CalArts-era student film by MONSTERS INC. director Pete Docter

If that weren’t enough, there’s also an unintentionally hilarious interview with Polish animator Zbigniew Rybczynski and an early Norman McLaren film (with a swinging performance by Albert Ammons) tucked inbetween the Pixar segments.

Lasseter at Disney

Paul Briggs, a story artist at Disney Feature, shares on his blog the story of his first encounter with John Lasseter this week. An excerpt:

He chats with us for a while asking us where we’re from, where we went to school, what we’re working on right now. i was so nervous and wanted to joke around but kept answering everything like it was a pop quiz. what a great moment. they’re already behind schedule and don reminds john they’ve got a couple of more stops. we say bye and right before he walks away i turn to him and say with all honesty – “i’m glad you’re here.”

Paul also writes about the introduction of Catmull and Lasseter to the Disney artists, and he contrasts it with a David Stainton meeting at Disney Florida two years ago. His blog offers but a hint of the feelings of optimism and hopefulness that folks at Disney must be feeling right now. The good vibes certainly extend beyond Disney, and I’m sure many in the animation community, including myself, are now feeling very positive about this week’s developments. After decades of Katzenberg, Schneider, Schumacher and Stainton, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Disney is allowing an artist the caliber of Lasseter take charge of its studio. No doubt that this week will go down as a watershed moment in Disney and animation history.

Toy Story 3 No More!

Let the good times roll. According to the LA TIMES (reg. req’d or BugMeNot), TOY STORY 3 has been shelved. The announcement comes hardly as a surprise: Disney started the TOY STORY 3 unit primarily as a bargaining chip for these negotiations. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see, for once, an animated project that shouldn’t be made get dumped. Here’s the TIMES:

In remarks made during a Tuesday conference call with analysts, Iger and Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs implied what other sources confirmed Wednesday: that Disney’s 150-plus-person Pixar sequels unit – which is housed in a Glendale warehouse and is already at work on “Toy Story 3″ – will soon be no more.

“We feel very strongly that if the sequels are going to be made, we want the people who were involved in the original films involved in the sequels,” Jobs said.

Iger sounded the same note.

“It was really important to me that the people who made the films originally, who had the vision, who knew the characters and the essence of these films get a shot at making any films that were derivative,” the Disney chief said.

“While Disney might have been able to make them, Pixar making them is just so much different,” Iger added. “Not to take away from the talent of other people who might have been picked to make them.”

FRENCH ANIMATION AT MOMA

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Miayazki is the talk of several websites right now (due to his films being showcased this month on TCM), but another international filmmaker equally worthy of such praise is France’s Michel Ocelot. His features and shorts are rarely shown in the U.S., but next month Ocelot will be on hand at the Museum of Modern Art to introduce his latest feature Kirikou and The Wild Beasts. The screening is part of a MoMA series called Grand Illusions: The Best of Recent French Animation, which will be presented February 23-March 6, 2006.

This primer on contemporary French animation will showcase: a Ruritanian romance (Paul Grimault’s marvelous The King and the Mockingbird), a swashbuckling adventure (Jean-François Laguionie’s Island of Black Mor), an ecological parable (Jacques-Rémy Girerd’s Raining Cats and Frogs), an African folktale (Michel Ocelot’s Kirikou and the Sorceress), a dark Russian fable (Francis Nielsen’s The Dog, the General, and the Birds), and a film that defies all pigeonholing (Sylvain Chomet’s Triplets of Belleville).

Excellent films, historically significant and highly entertaining. Go.

New Blogs

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Good stuff worth checking out.

Nate Pacheco: Talented artist and Flash technical guru who has worked on Renegade’s HI HI PUFFY AMI YUMI and ELMO AARDVARK Web cartoons, among many other things.

Brandon Scott: A student at Sheridan whose paintings have a distinctive sense of color and design.

Miles Thompson, of animation and painting fame, has started his own blog.

Clarke Snyder has started a new blog, Inspiration Grab-bag, where he’s posting artwork that inspires him. So far, lots of terrific frame grabs from Disney’s PIGS IS PIGS and scans of Mel Crawford illustrations.

Disney/Pixar: Artists Speak

We asked yesterday evening for artists to send in their thoughts about the Disney/Pixar deal. Below are a select number of the responses we received. The feelings are mixed between excitement, cautious optimism and outright disappointment.

Perhaps the best comment of the day.
From former Disney animator and director Will Finn
:

This is like seeing the orcs being driven out of Middle Earth. I am overjoyed.

From the legendary Floyd Norman:

Not too many guys can say they’ve worked for both Walt Disney and John Lasseter, so I can offer a unique perspective.

Different cultures at Disney and Pixar? Naw, it’s the same culture. Eisner’s managers simply choked all the creative life out of Disney. The Disney culture is finally returning to Disney. Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs and John Lasseter will be returning it shortly. This is good news for all of us who love animation, and the Disney legacy in particular.

From a ‘CalArts alumni’:

Can you believe that? An animator in charge of Feature animation? Am I dreaming? Is Walt smiling right now? An artist, who has made short films, and feature films, studied figure drawing, can draw and animate, used an Oxberry camera, went to Cal Arts, and loves the medium to death…is in charge of animation? Is there anything better that this? Pinch me I’m dreaming. I can’t sit still, I can’t wait any longer…give me more great stories and characters!All hail John Lasseter!

NY director/animator Michael Sporn:

Ever since the advent of PIXAR, animation has been in flux. The computer continues to readjust the medium. PIXAR, again, is the player and it can only help the artform (for at least a short while). Jobs will be lost and shifted and reprogrammed. Hopefully, the films will get better. Hopefully, 2D will show up somewhere on the horizon and that will grow as well (I have a vested interest in 2D).

At the very least, Disney now has someone who knows the problems and knows the different media we use. That can’t be bad.

Remember that Eisner and Katzenberg, revitalized animation before they brought it down to where it is now. It only took a few years for that part of the soap opera to happen. Before them, there was only Don Bluth and maybe Spielberg and a lot fewer jobs.

From an ‘old-school’ Disney Feature artist who has worked there since the 1980s:

After seeing John Lasseter attempt to introduce computer animated film techniques at Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1983 (the Where The Wild Things Are test) to no avail, and after living through the two-picture-a-year toon boom flood of the 90′s, and then watching in amazement the strange paradigm shift that forced some of the best 2D talent in the world out the door along with the award winning directorial team of Ron Clements and John Musker, has made my 23 year career with Walt Disney Feature Animation quite a ride. But the thought of John Lasseter coming back home to Disney at this time of loss and creative confusion is nothing short of a miracle. WOW…


Happy Days
(click on image for larger version)

The drawing above is from somebody who prefers to remain anonymous. He also writes:

As a former Disney Feature Animation artist, my initial reaction upon hearing the news was expressed in this little doodle. Just soaking it all in at the moment…I can’t really see a downside at this point, given that it seems as if the creative reins at Animation are being handed over to Pixar. I almost have to pinch myself: John Lasseter is now Creative Head of both Disney Animation AND Pixar Animation Studios (and Principle Creative Advisor to WDI )…wow !

Joe Campana

Amazing what a corporation will pay to purchase an outside company that will arrive to effectively implement a tried-and-true (then forgotten) production philosophy of concentrating on story, development of characters and letting the directors be the final word… So, what WILL become of the soon-to-be-laid-off (banes of the industry) “creative executives?” Hey, they’re so damn creative, maybe they’ll get together to start their own entertainment company. This is simply the best news to come from Disney in at least ten years – although Eisner’s recent departure is a close second.

Steve Segal

I used to work for John Lasseter at Pixar and I can tell you there is no greater supporter of animation, both computer and hand-drawn than Lasseter. I am a bit surprised at the buyout. I would have preferred Pixar stay small and keep doing what they do well. I am also concerned that he will spread himself too thin. But I am happy about Pixar having control over sequels of their own films. I would love to see Brad Bird do another Incredibles adventure. Toy Story 3 is in production at Disney without Lasseter’s involvement and the staff must feel uneasy right now (of course, they should have felt uneasy when they took the job). I look forward to some great improvements in Disney animation and some cool new ideas in the parks.

Darin Bendall

What bugs me the most is that this is just such a slap in the face to any idea of artistic integrity. Over the years, Disney has transmogrified from an animation studio into a global empire of consumerism whose main product these days is some kind of vague sense of ‘family-ness’ or something. They’ve forgotten their roots to such a degree that they thought the reason nobody wanted to see Pocohontas 2 is that it wasn’t, y’know, /computer pictures/. So shut the whole thing down. No wait, let’s just buy the best animation studio out there, and then WE will be the best again right?

The problem is that this is a company who has become so fucking bland that their very name has entered everyday English as a word meaning something along the lines of ‘to sanitize something to the point that it sucks.’ I just can’t see how that won’t happen here.

Thoughts on the Sale?

Any artists at Pixar, Disney or beyond with thoughts on what the sale means — for Disney, Pixar, the animation industry as a whole? Are artists at Pixar happy or disappointed with this deal? What about Disney artists? Email your thoughts over to amid at animationblast dot com. Your name will be kept anonymous if you want. I’ll post some of the more interesting ones on the Brew. Please keep your thoughts concise and to the point.

David Stainton Out!

David Stainton

Here’s the email that Walt Disney Feature Animation President David Stainton sent out today.

From: Stainton, David
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006
To: All Employees
Cc: Iger, Robert A.; Cook, Dick
Subject: passing the torch

hey everybody,

an old blessing reads: “may you live in interesting times.” well, apparently we are actually living in those times!

as a result of the changes announced today, i will be leaving animation after 14 amazing, exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, and very wonderful years. this will happen quickly, as John and Ed are ready to jump right in. they are truly icons of our world, so i can’t feel TOO bad about passing the torch to them. please welcome them as warmly as you have welcomed me.

most of all, i want to make sure that you know the purchase of pixar is NOT about a lack of confidence by bob and dick in what we are doing. on the contrary, in recent days they have gone out of their way to praise what we’ve accomplished. they know what we know: we have rebuilt animation at this company, landed a hit our first time at bat in CG, built amazing teams at circle 7 and dts, and have a fantastic slate of projects going forward. these are great achievements, recognized by everybody who has watched us grow over the past three years. my real wish for you is to feel proud, confident and excited about where you are going.

as exciting as it will be for me to strike out in a new direction, my home will always be here. you’ve taught me everything. i will always love you, your talent, and the great movies you make.

best,
david

And don’t let the cute dog fool you. Just so there’s no mistaking about Stainton, here’s what the director of a recent Disney feature had to say about him, just prior to Disney’s purchase of Pixar. (Both director and feature shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent.)

I LOVE the idea of Lasseter taking over Disney Feature! The only thing that would be better is if David Stainton is tazered, maced, and peppersprayed, and then frogmarched out of the building, stuffed into a burlap bag and thrown into the LA river. Oh, and a video of the above in an easily downloadable format for my iPod.

DISNEY BUYS PIXAR

Disney and Pixar

In case you haven’t heard — now it’s official. Jobs is Disney’s largest shareholder. Any way you slice it – he’s now the big cheese. Pixar President Ed Catmull has become the President of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios. Lasseter is CCO (Chief Creative Officer) of the animation studios and Principal Creative Adviser of Walt Disney Imagineering. Link to official press release from Disney and Pixar.

Disney+Pixar=?

Former ANIMATO! editor (and current PC WORLD editor) Harry McCracken asks the questions that are weighing heavily on the collective mind of the animation community right now. For example, “Does John Lasseter want to run Disney animation?,” “Will Disney stop releasing pap?,” “Might we see the Pixar folks make some hand-drawn features?,” and “Does the Pixar name disappear?” Harry’s insightful list of questions and thoughts can be found on his blog Harry-Go-Round. He also invites others to share their own questions about the merger.

Disney/Pixar News Roundup, Pt. II

Lasseter by Ronnie del Carmen

The NY TIMES reports that Disney may announce their acquisition of Pixar as early as tomorrow. According to the TIMES, “the deal would combine Pixar with Disney’s animation unit and give Mr. Jobs a seat on Disney’s board.”

Meanwhile the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER says that today, Disney renamed its corporate building (the one with the dwarf pillars) to “Team Disney: Michael D. Eisner Building.” Buildings are usually named after dead people, and if this Pixar deal goes through, Eisner will hopefully be as good as dead in the company’s future.

“Will great big Disney destroy little Pixar?”: A pretty self-explanatory piece at Reuters.

Finally, a warning from CNN: everything about the Pixar deal is fine, except that Lasseter is unfit to take over Disney Feature Animation because “supposedly he’s spending a lot of time and energy these days on his vineyard.” Whew, I’m glad we found that out before the deal went through.

The great caricature of John Lasseter at the top of this post is by Pixar’s Ronnie del Carmen.

CHICKEN LITTLE REDUX?

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Now in production in Denmark, A.Film is making The Ugly Duckling And Me, a CG feature – as well as a companion TV series of 26 episodes. I’ve enjoyed the work of this studio in the past – but do we really need another fairy tale parody? Ten years ago we were complaining of the overabundance of animated musicals. Now we are being overrun by Fractured Fairy Tales (what hath Jay Ward, by way of Shrek, wrought?). What really hurts my eyes is this Ugly Duckling’s character design seems ripped from Ralph Eggleston’s FOR THE BIRDS. Here’s a clip from the Ugly film-in-progress.(Thanks, B. Connelly)

FLIGHTS OF FANTASY

puppetoontitlex.jpgI just found out that Image Entertainment issued a 3 disc boxed set last month called GEORGE PAL: FLIGHTS OF FANTASY. It includes a great print of Pal’s first feature length film, THE GREAT RUPERT (1950, Jimmy Durante and a stop motion squirrel), and two great productions from Pal historian Arnold Leibovit, his documentary THE FANTASY FILM WORLDS OF GEORGE PAL and his animated compilation THE PUPPETOON MOVIE. I’ve plugged these films a few times throughout the years – now that they are packaged together in this one collection – you have no excuse not to get them now. The bonus materials are worth the price alone. Highly Recommended.

Disney/Pixar News Roundup

Good piece in today’s LA TIMES – “Walt’s Shoes at Disney Could Be a Fit for Jobs” – that draws parallels between Jobs and Walt Disney.

Today’s NY TIMES discusses how the Disney/Pixar deal might affect Jobs’s other company, Apple.

Also in the NY TIMES, a piece that compares Iger and Jobs to Woody and Buzz.

Disney buys Pixar. Apple buys Disney. A very interesting thought on this blog. If this were Vegas, I’d personally put money on this scenario happening within the next 18-30 months.

MY TWO CENTS ON DISNEY/PIXAR

I would have preferred that Pixar create its own distribution company and compete with the industry as a full-fledged stand alone player – but this possible buyout by Disney may be the next-best thing. (The worst scenario would’ve been for Pixar’s films to be distributed by another studio – Universal, Sony, or heaven forbid, Warner Bros.). Disney may be buying Pixar – but Pixar will be running the show – at least creatively, from the feature animation point of view. The optimist in me is delighted to have a visionary (Jobs) emerge as Disney’s largest stock holder. An innovative risk taker and business leader, Jobs could truly reinvigorate the studio. The optimist in me is thrilled that an animator (Lasseter) will likely be head of Feature Animation. With a proven love of the medium, and as a skillful filmmaker himself, Lasseter will no doubt push the studio forward and, at the same time, surely find a place for traditional (hand-drawn) animation at the studio that mastered it for so long.There is an opportunity here for an incredible Disney renaissance – as the creative reigns are handed, for once, to the right people at the right time. In this age of big corporations (and Disney is one of the biggest) and “bottom line” thinking, it’s easy to see how this can all go wrong. But I think the pieces are in place for an exciting new era in animation. At least, I hope so.