Bolt Character Designs

Bolt

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, but unfortunately, none of those words are appropriate for printing on this blog. Even when I dismiss all prior knowledge of what Chris Sanders’ original vision for this film was, these designs for Disney’s next feature, Bolt, look downright embarrassing. They veer disturbingly close to this, but we’re not talking about some cheap startup animation studio here. This is Disney dammit…the friggin standard-bearer of this art form for much of the past hundred years. What could possibly be the defense for such witless homely unimaginative designs? Somebody at Disney please fill me in…publicly or privately. Because I’m seriously having difficulty believing that some of the most highly skilled animation artists in the world could come up with something that looks only slightly better than your average student film.

(image via Character Design blog)


  • Bobby D.

    So the Pixar guys, (the “Brain Trust/Saviors”) just aren’t seeing this stuff? I’ve gotta believe there’s more to these characters than this.

  • http://www.fabianvercuiel.com Fabianv

    I don’t know, call me crazy but I don’t think this picture is comparable to that baseball film. There is something about this picture that holds promise in my opinion.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Barbara

    What else is new. When has any awesome development/concept art ever looked remotely like the final product?

    That kid’s hair looks like my Barbies’ hair used to after I cut them. And it’s stock-still though he’s running…somewhere. And he looks like a wannabe emo douchebag.

    God I need a drink.

  • Dutchduck

    Colour scheme? Shaping? Contrast? Proportion? Posture? I can’t believe what I am seeing.
    It looks worse then Meet the Robinsons.

  • ridgecity

    Well, as a 3d animator I find that you don’t get as much freedom for designs as 2d, since you have 3 choices, go for cartoony humans (Incredibles) real (Beowulf) hybrid look (Final Fantasy) after that you really have to check that you face looks like a human and moves like a human, because people really check everything…

    In 2d you know it’s fake and focus on the story, in 3d you check how everything moves, since the medium still is showing what can be done. creating anthropomorphic animals it’s easy because you just need the fur to look real, and you can get a away with everything else.

    In all the movies I’ve seen of 3d humans the only character that actually look different is that Bowler Hat from meet the Robinsons, whoever animated that, is the first to nail the medium and found the real 2d/3d transition…

    I actually like these designs, they feel like Disney designs from the 60′s, and I like them better than Jimmy Neutron…

  • http://www.jamesbending.co.uk Jim

    Is it a girl or a boy?

    So boring it’s practically androgynous.

    I’m super pissed about this.

  • Marcus

    Those designs are so bland I’m having trouble feeling anything other than indifference to it all.

  • Susana

    Barbara: I think it’s a girl, so you don’t have to worry about the “wannabe emo douchebag” :P

    yeah, but when I saw the head, I totally thought it was a boy. I thought, “they made his hair sorta long, that’s interesting.”

    then i saw the stockings.
    and after that, I could see that the shorts are pretty short for a boy, and the shirt is a girl’s shirt I think. Guys could wear stuff like that, but the sleeves wouldn’t stop right after the elbow for a guy. that’d be weird :P

    I though the quality was alright.. maybe not great, but yeah. and I liked the Meet the Robinsons! although it was not really up to par with recent Pixar films, I still liked it. Disney did start out 2D. I’m really excited for their return to 2D w/ the Princess and the Frog movie!

  • Roberto

    I also think she’s a girl, I believe the Hanna Montana girl was doing the voice or something. And Travolta is Bolt. I’m tired of celebrities doing voices, I’d like to see more big movies without any “famous actor” behind it.

    I actually think the dog looks more generic. Of course if that’s finally a boy then he’s an emo and that sucks, but I don’t think so.

    They are more boring than bad, especially compared to Sanders’ original, but the most generic to me is Bolt, I actually kinda like the other characters. However everything looked way more interesting with Sanders. I agree with Susana, Meet The Robinsons was a pretty good flick.

  • http://eggheadcheesybird.co.uk Alex

    I officially no longer respect John Lasseters judgement.

  • http://www.hasenkamm.de Thorsten Hasenkamm

    Every word you’ve written is true, Amid! Agreed!

  • Martin Bell

    Has anyone noticed a chubby Ringo Starr holding a gun on one of Sanders’ original images?

    This image doesn’t offend me at all, it’s nothing like as ugly as most of the other dodgy CG films that’re knocking about – though I’d have much preffered Sanders’ original designs.

  • Mike Russo

    Who else wants to smack that smirk of that girl’s (boy’s?) face?

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Ignoring the goodness or badness of this thing, the first thing that strikes me is the resemblance of the kid to the Myerberg/Summers stop-motion “Kinemins” used fifty years ago in the film HANSEL AND GRETEL, some Green Giant commercials, and elsewhere.

  • Gobo

    So we’ve got a character design so generic that the ONLY THING determining gender is that she’s wearing striped stockings?

    Maybe we’ve got it all wrong and Disney’s actually being super edgy by having a gay kid in the movie. Y’know, like ten percent of kids actually are in real life. But I guess even Disney wouldn’t touch that kind of thing, it’d make parents too uncomfortable about their li’l sluggers.

  • Keith Paynter

    ummm……whaaaaa?

  • SandersFan

    For me, I will not see this movie. I just will not do it. It has all become too formulaic and there is too much fear of bombing at the box office. Why is there so much interest in Anime/Manga? They break the formula of our American product-tie in culture.

    Brad Bird is the only thing keeping them afloat with Sanders gone. I hope Sanders can alter the course Dreamworks is taking (spiral down) and make something amazing.

    All of this is becoming another story of MBA Managers vs “creatives” and the “creatives” always loose. Yay to the bean counters, thanks for another nail in the coffin of American Animation.

    It is enough to want to move to Korea and work in a animation sweat shop just to be a part of something that Americans will want to watch, vice these formulas where “Buzz ‘Bolt’ McQueen overcomes his own ego and preconceptions to make himself a part of the mundane world and try to be happy with a lesser existence” – nice message. I want my kids to think they can grow up to be president or an astronaut, Lassiter would have them know they could be President but try to be happy as manager at McDonalds.

    Don’t want to see it…

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    Hold on, maybe that character on the left IS a boy and not a girl. Disney’s first metrosexual 3d character. Oh what a joy it is to be around in this day and age!

  • http://stephansolarchive.blogspot.com Stephan

    Well it still beats the hell outa the Chiwawa and that Dog Bollywood thing. But what is it with Disney and dogs? Don’t they have enough animated features with them already? And where are those epic fairy tales that everyone loves?

    I thought Disney was going the right way with the animated part in Enchanted and Rapunzel in 2010……

  • http://www.kylemarshall.blogspot.com/ KyleM

    Guys….calm down a bit….no need to get so angry! Remember…. it’s only a cartoon.

  • Some Guy

    I’ve always thought character design was Disney/Pixar’s biggest CGI flaw. When freakin’ Dreamworks character designs looks better than your designs, you know you’re doing something wrong.

  • http://www.andyseredy.com Andy Seredy

    I like how she’s sarcastically running. Maybe a little too much ‘tude in that one.

  • Anita

    Honestly…even though I know you said you were dismissing Chris Sanders’ vision for the film, I was more excited when I saw his stuff than when they came out with the first previews after he left. I was completely devastated actually, because it seemed like they just decreased their value of animation completely. I could be wrong, like some other people have said, we’ll have to wait and see, but from what they’ve let us peek at so far, it’s been a very big let down to the devoted Disney fans like me.

  • Paul N

    At first glance, these are underwhelming. However, over on the TAG blog, they’re saying that the clips currently playing in the lobby look good, even without sound. So who knows…

  • http://andrewatteberry.blogspot.com Andrew Lee

    It would be awesome if the hook of the story was about a little emo boy who wants to be a princess…..and the dog helped him\her find him\her self through a series of small adventures.

    But then in the end he\she finds out that he\she is really the bastard love child produced from a three way involving Pat from Saturday night live, Captain Kirk and a three week old tuna sandwich….then he\she hangs herself.

    Then after the credits the dog comes up and pees on her.

    hmmmm….Can you say Oscar winner :)

  • http://andrewatteberry.blogspot.com Andrew Lee

    Ohhhh….and then Chris Sanders comes in and kicks the ever living stuffin out of the dog…….gives a high five to the cat with an eye patch and then they walk off into the sunset.

    Yeah…that’s movie gold right there……

  • http://www.awprunes.blogspot.com/ Larry Levine

    I prefer the original Chris Sanders designs. I think Chris is one of the most talented & visually exciting cartoonists today–and I’m not just saying that because I’m his biggest Kiskaloo fan!

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    I know what the problem is with this: there’s no background! What the hell are they running from? Someone should superimpose this image over a scene of peril… erupting volcano, avalanche, plague of locusts, martian invasion, race riot, firebombing, terrorist attack… the possibilities are damn near endless!

  • Russell H

    Oh, lordy, the same “‘tude’” facial expression seen on just about every CGI character for the past decade or more.

  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    Man that’s awful. What’s funny is that Lasseter’s going to be wearing the silly hat in the corner of the class for this one.

  • Dave-o

    I had an opportunity to see some early (test?) footage of Chris Sanders’ version at a SIGGRAPH function. It was alongside Chicken Little (see how long ago it was?) and Rapunzel footage, and in my opinion, it blew those others away. I was SO excited and looking forward to this interesting, quirky-looking film. Now I have no interest whatsoever.

    Also, I worked on the direct-to-video “101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure” (sorry!), and was stunned at how similar the new story sounded. Arg.

    BTW, that has to be a girl. It just has to be!

  • Katella Gate

    Yeah, the human character is pretty androgynous, but maybe that’s deliberate. Perhaps Disney is exploring new market niches.

    “An unlikely duo go on a road trip in search of gender-identity.”

    Like “That’s Pat”, but in CGI, — cause *everything’s* funnier in CGI.

  • Lance G.

    Well at least the dog looks like a dog, which is the first time it did so–which it NEVER did until recently. Unfortunately, the first time it did so was the final design. It doesn’t go far enough.

  • Dave

    Hey, can we accent the positive ?

    I really liked the design of the Alligator from The Princess & The Frog that was also posted on the Character Design Blog :

    Princess & The Frog – Alligator image

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    What I have seen of the film (about ten minutes of footage) looked pretty nice. The Hamster and Cat characters were very well done, and the final renders have a very painterly quality.

    To be fair, the image you have posted is not only an older image, but also a resized image of a photo off of a monitor. You are spot on in your comparison to the human designs in “Everyone’s Hero”.

    Maybe Disney threw the baby out with the bath water when Chris Sanders left the project? We’ll have to wait and see. With the crazy hours the crew is putting in on the film, I would hope it turns out as a solid film in the end.

  • http://www.ultraist.net M Kitchen

    I’ll wait for the Kiskaloo Movie…

  • Steve Gattuso

    The alligator looks great. I hope he eats the frogs…

  • big bad balloon

    A leading Black girl in one film and a Transsexual lead in the other.

    Go Disney!!!

  • Killroy McFate

    Zoinks! It’s Gay-vey and Goliath!

  • Sam Gramp

    I think DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda is light years ahead of this boring design. You should check out the new interview at the Character Design Blog… It has tons of pictures of Maquettes from Kung Fu Panda… Now those are what you call beautiful designs.

  • dan

    You people are making me go bonkers. OF COURSE it’s a girl. Jeez. She reminds me of Violet from the Incredibles a bit and I like the design. I think it’s cool that she’s not just a typical little girl design. Hmmm…maybe her design and outfit has something to do with the STORY that we don’t know about because none of us have seen the movie.

    But no, I have a better idea…let’s judge a book by it’s cover. That always works. Oh, and stereotypes are a real time saver.

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    It bothers me to no end that for every single feature that’s currently being produced nowadays that each crew is putting in crazy hours. Why is this “industry standard”?

    I’m so perplexed by this film, I don’t know what to think of it. If it’s true what “ridgecity” says earlier on that you don’t have much freedom when it concerns 3D character design, then what’s the point? Why bother? It shouldn’t have to be that ONLY 2D characters are cartoonish, and ONLY 3D characters go for a more realistic approach. Why can’t CG characters be more stylized and original than what we’ve seen so far? The medium here is just waiting for it. In fact, it should be imperative that we artists stretch and pull the medium to fit our imagination, not the other way around.

    Clay and plasticine would seem to be limiting for someone trying to come up with unique characters, but there always seems to be someone out there who finds some wild way to make a great stop-motion character look great and have them move in amazing ways. CG should be treated as so.

    My problem here is this: I hate for studios to automatically assume that audiences want to see character design and stories that would be considered “safe” out of fear of losing an audience for a movie.

    This to me looks like Disney is trying to be safe.

  • http://animatedlane.com JWLane

    Well, I’ve been following this mess and the casting off of the talented Mr. Sanders. Yesterday Disney’s stock crawled back up to a price that I was comfortable with, so I sold all I had. Whew, what a relief to be free from being “Bolted” to the wall.

  • Mr. Semaj

    This picture reminds me of something from Playhouse Disney. :(

    They should’ve left this alone. I prefer Disney to release a maverick film every once in a while and broaden the brand, rather than sending the mavericks off to the DreamWorks concentration camp and assimilating their individuality.

    The next few Disney films sound more exciting.

  • http://www.calslayton.com Cal Slayton

    I think Disney stole the costume design from a comic book I used to work on…

    http://www.calslayton.com/images/cv_shades01v2.gif

  • red pill junkie

    … I’m disappointed :-(

  • http://escapistcartoons.blogspot.com Behonkiss

    Stuff like this has left me wondering if Lasseter is really the godsend Disney fans were hoping for, or if in reality he’s no better than any other exec. Especially considering how Cars turned out.

  • http://www.betsybauerart.com Betsy

    I think Jim Hill made a great point in one of his old posts about the changes in Bolt– A number of great films have had director shifts in them at some point. Ratatouille is the perfect example; it was originally supposed to be a Jan Pinkava film. Now, handing a script over to Brad Bird is a bit different than the changes made in Bolt, but I still think that we need to be a bit more optimistic.

    Though, I will say, I’m much more fond of the original Chris Sanders designs…

  • ridgecity

    I agree with your opinion, Ward.

    Why do you think all the 3d movies end up being about animals or monsters? not even the big budget studios can pull of a realistic Hulk or look at those Star Wars cartoons and their transition to 3d for a movie, the 2d designs lost about 50% of their appeal and are being ripped apart by the fans, about how crappy they look.

    I don’t know who is going to give the 3d humans their break, but playing it safe isn’t going to do it, you gotta experiment, like what this movie was going to do at first…

    it’s crazy, but it’s also something new.

  • Julian Carter

    1) You have every right to express your opinion about a film.

    2) But please give this film a chance and watch it first before deeming it ‘crap’.

    :|

  • Don

    Man……you guys flip flop all over the place. I noticed the people complaining about bland design on this thread are the exact same ones that were complaining earlier about the pushed design of the Igor trailer posted last week.

    Which is it, people……do you want good design in CG films or don’t you?

    My theory is that you just enjoy listening to yourselves negatively nattering about cg movies regardless of how they look….

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    Hmmm… well, at least in the picture, they got the opposite-leg forward opposite-arm forward thing right. A lot of promotional images get it backwards.

  • big bad balloon

    People aren’t saying the film is crap, just the designs…and rightfully so.

    Luckily it’s an animated feature and not a comic book so there’s hope.

    …a wee glimmer…

  • Paul N

    Don, you make good points, and I think your theory is spot on.

  • Shannon

    You don’t have to make CG films more realistic. I’m so sick of hearing this. All you have to do is look at the work that’s been done in stop motion. I did character design on Coraline and Henry was constantly driving us to push the character designs as far as we could. In CG, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your armature will support the weight of the puppet. You don’t have to worry about what kind of paint you can use on the skin of the puppet. However, for some reason, everything get’s watered down and people start telling you what you can and can’t do when you work on a CG film.

    I say push the envelope a bit and let the audience decide what they can or can’t handle when it comes to design. After all, if the story is strong enough, the designs should only serve to enhance the film.

  • Alusa

    I remember seeing the early designs and art for American Dog years ago, at the MGM Studios park in Orlando. They have a really nifty little animation museum there, and a portion of it is dedicated to upcoming features. There were maquettes and art from Cars and Chicken Little too, but the stuff from American Dog was what excited me the most. The concept art was funny and gorgeous, and the story was intriguing.

    I kept my eyes and ears open for years afterward, hoping to hear any news about it, but it seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth… and when I finally found out what had become of it I was crushed. I’m still pretty angry. It’s gone from something unique and beautiful to generic and bland. Win some, lose some.

  • Dan

    You have a point Amid. Disney should be the pinnacle of animation simply because the most talented artists and “believers” of the illusion all want to work there on some level. The talent pool must be limitless. I keep holding the torch, but the disappointments keep hurting my optimism. “The Illusionist” appears far more interesting and exciting. I can’t wait to see that one. I wish I could say the same about “Bolt”. And yet!…I still believe in the current leadership. Because I know they put story first. So, who knows–this might turn out to be a good picture, despite the lackluster design.

  • Sweatbox

    Anyone think the Disney 3d stuff is purposely being designed worse so Pixar will always look better?

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Yeah, yeah, you’re all bashing the designs just because Sanders got fired.

    So the film will stink, BUT the character designs are okay. The girl in the picture (It HAS to be a girl, I hardly see a boy dressing like that) looks all right to me! Posture’s fine, face is fine . . . so what’s the issue? I mean, Disney HAS to keep up with current trends (wearing Hot Topic clothing). I’m sure Sander’s version would’ve been great, though (if there were any pics of this particular character).

    As for the little dog, THAT’S where I prefer Sanders’ version. It just had more appeal. This one looks more like a generic Disney dog.

  • Random Douche

    I completely disagree with everyone who says these designs look awful. They are very appealing to me. I definitely think they look better than Sanders’ orginal designs and anything else pixar has come up with in the past. They might not look as good as the character designs in Shrek or Beowulf, but they do have a lot of great attributes. The negativity on this site frightens me. Imho, Disney’s newer movies are much better than their old 2d counterparts. When Disney started back in 1950 they had no idea what they were doing; they only now know that 3d is much good than 2dimensianal.

  • David Cuny

    Given the prior description of the film, I’d suspect the character to be “Penny”, his companion on the television show:

    > And Bolt stars with Penny (a 12-year-old girl) in the hit television
    > show, “American Dog.”
    http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2007/02/13/toon-tuesday-how-disney-is-fixing-american-dog.aspx

    Although the design is *far* less cool than Chris’, having Bolt look like a dog makes sense. After all, he’s supposed to be a heroic action character. The prior design – which has great appeal – didn’t really fit that image – I initially through the character was a small moose. In some ways (large nose, eyes, ears) he looks a bit like “Stitch.”

    The girl looks OK. Sort of meh, but I’ll withhold judgment until I see her animated. After all, isn’t it the performance that we’re ultimately interested in here? (Pixar would say “story”, but from what I’ve read the plot looks like a rehash of “Cars”).

    It’s the use of John Travolta as the Bolt that’s the deal killer for me. He’s just got too much baggage for me to get past. That’s too bad for me, because what he does as a person should have no impact on the enjoyment of the film itself.

  • Foosball Lova

    The story is, is that this image is part of an exercise we did to see how Penny can posed with Bolt. It’s one pose of many and after which we tweaked the model, rig, hair, face, etc.

    It’s obviously not meant for publication, hence this washed out picture is something somebody snapped somewhere and threw on the web. Penny’s hair is temp, it’s even not “simmed”. The model and rig weren’t final at the time. The lighting is literally 1 light.

    So, all of you take a chill pill and wait at least for the trailer or better yet the actual movie, and see these characters in context, properly lit, “simmed” and animated.

  • Keith Paynter

    RD, if you think Disney started in the 50′s you’ve got some research to do. Disney was setting the standard with Steamboat Willie in 1928. Suddenly, every studio was try to catch them. No one could match Disney’s innovative feature animation, and it took until the 1940′s for anybody (specifically Warner/Schlesinger) to eclipse Disney in terms of popular characters in their cartoons. Even when Disney was at the lowest of lows in the late 70′s and early 80′s, they were still better than anything anybody else was trying to put in theaters. Even when they were copying their own animations and character designs with films like Jungle Book/Robin Hood there wasn’t any real competition, although some studios came out with some 1-off gems.

    Their 2D rennaissance of the ’90′s was sadly brief, and they were sinking in their own product. The only thing that saved them financially was being the distributors for Pixar (who have yet to make a bad picture) and tossing out cheaply made foreign hand-animated direct-to-video sequels to pad their bottom line – none of those films deserve shelf space in my library.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    First, everyone’s comments here are always a great read and show a whole range of opinion on things like this. Personally, I’m not too put off from this image from Bolt, though I do strongly agree with many of Amid’s points. It would be interesting to see how actual artists/exec’s from Disney respond to this kind of critique of their work.

    Second, for those of you who disagreed, I think it’s very justifiable to comment on development images such as this – even with the chance that this might be an old design or low quality image. ANY image from design and production released should always be taken into consideration, no matter what stage of development it’s from. If problems are being pointed out by many, chances are there IS a problem somewhere in the project (ex. is it a girl or a boy?!?! THAT’S a design flaw that might stick on the character farther into development). Sharing development MEANS you will be getting criticism.

    To elaborate on my view of these designs, they’re very down to earth in my eyes, and I believe that is a very important factor that many of us miss. Simplicity sometimes speaks the strongest to most people. Watering something down might actually be a conscious choice. It makes me think of Miyazaki’s films. While the art in those films are beautiful, who can really point out the DESIGN in them?? …They’re so simplistic, which is why they can also be so beautiful.

    Lastly, I’ve been distancing myself more and more from very strong-felt criticism of films like these. A lot of us, even some of the studios, are forgetting who their biggest audiences are. Ever talk to non-animators? They don’t give a patoot about these little nuances! Design criticisms! Artistic flaws! I don’t think enough of us have been brought back down to a humble enough level to see things from the point of view of those who are yay-ing or nay-ing them in the theaters. I’m not talking about watering things down and chocking them full of pop culture references. But what made all your old classics so enjoyable? What made you and all your friends love ridiculously simple cartoons when you were kids? I feel we’ve gotten too comfortable overly dissecting things, when creating work in the first place might just be all the creativity it needs. Ah, sorry I’m rambling. I just think we all ought to slow down.

  • http://chiacheese.blogspot.com Chia

    Tho the designs seem simplistic, I think the thing that’s going to bring these characters to life is the animation and the story. I know some of the best animators in the world are working on this film and if the story follows suit, this might well be a very good film.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    Also: much thanks, Foosball Lova, for your comment on the image! I was writing my piece as yours was posted. Glad you could hop in and clear things up =)

  • amid

    Foosball Lova – I think it’s fairly well understood that these characters are not properly lit, or even fully rigged or modeled yet. But what then is the excuse for this image. Glamming up an unimaginative design with lighting and hair simulation doesn’t mask its fundamental flaws.

  • generiRig

    I guess the conservitave homeschool moms of the south and midwest have more influence over how edgy a film Disney or anyone can make then we feared after all!

  • Foosball Lova

    This review is written by a reporter from “Ain’t It Cool News”, who actually saw the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, unlike any of you here on the forum and he summed it up nicely:

    “…the footage had the heart of a Pixar movie, or a classic Disney movie. That combined with the nostalgia and just right feeling of having the look of traditional hand-painted backgrounds really made me feel at home with what I saw. Hopefully the movie lives up to the first impression… ”

    My point is, Bolt will be a great film. I’ve seen many versions of the story reel, animation in progress, etc and it’s an awesome flick.

    Again, wait for the film… you won’t be disappointed.

    PS: here is the full AICN article:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/36393

  • Mr Matt

    The first image was a teaser promotion pic, that clearly isn’t part of the final film. Therefore, you can’t really blame it for being less detailed than the finished product Amid.

  • Robiscus

    Another ugly CGI design?? Wow! Thats so hard to believe!!

    Bottom line: these CGI movies we, as audience members, have been inundated with for a decade now haven’t proven themselves to be better than traditional animation. in fact, the majority of them are ugly, poorly animated, and they all look like they are from the same realm.

    style – out the window.
    animation – subpar
    design – mediocre

    History is gong to judge this era as the absolute worst for animated films. what is going on?

  • http://chiacheese.blogspot.com Chia

    Actually, that image in the AICN article that Foosball Lova posted looks promising. I would like to see how the human character would look like in a more finished scene like this, could be a different story.

  • http://www.mattcandraw.com Mattcandraw

    i feel bad for the person that had to be pulled off of some job to supposedly fix this movie( or at least get it back on track in the studio’s eyes).. no matter who it was, he/she was going to get this type of crap feedback. Though i am not a fan of these character designs i still will wait to pass judgement till the final product. in the meantime Anybody else posting these comments doing a better job at character design, let’s see them.

  • S

    These are static images. Don’t panic and judge the film by them. You’re looking at art done specifically for PR (the second image done before the models were finalized). It’s not the movie. It’s too soon for these judgments.
    The quality of this film will be self-evident and show marked improvement for Disney. If you hate it after you see it, so be it. But you can’t tell enough based on PR artwork.

  • http://electronghosthouse.com/ Paul K.

    Isn’t always the way around here in the Cartoon Brew comments,
    -the first dozen or so responses are pure vitriol,
    -the next ten are still pejorative, yet milder
    -and the later posts are reasoning, defending, and sometimes excusing the topic for a postponed assessment.

    Well, I’ll have to fall in line, perhaps driven by overabundant rash of negativity. If I ignore the previous treatment by Sanders, there is nothing to be upset about concerning this character design. Sure it’s somewhat bland, but I have to side with Stephan, Floyd Bishop, dan, Ward, Random Douche, and most of the comments following Julian Carter’s post.

    Yet my ambivalent (perhaps misplaced) optimism can be best described with a famous movie [mis]quotation:

    Charlie: “Well, I had some bets down for ya. You saw some money.”

    Terry: “You don’t understand! American Dog could have had class, American Dog could have been a contender. American Dog could have been something. Instead of Bolt, which is what it is, let’s face it. It was you, Charlie…”

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    The girl in this image ain’t the problem. The dog is pretty forgettable, and it’s his movie!

  • http://movies.filmax.com/nocturna/ Bill

    Ya, the original concept for American Dog looked amazing! I loved Chris’s designs! Very fresh… unlike the horrid make-over {blaaah}

    I guess you can chalk this one up as another “sparkling idea” chewed up by the Disney executives only interested in the reliably of past “successes”. I can’t wait for another “Meet the Robinsons” lookalike. Who cares about originality! Disney sure loves the cookie cutter! {curchunk curchunk curchunk)

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Esn

    Meh, who cares? All of you who’re angry about this, I have this to say:

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is what I see here. If you don’t like mainstream American animation, why are you watching it again and again? Do something different.

    There’s much better animation filmmaking out there if you’re willing to read subtitles, or even if you’re not; you just need to get your head out of the cellar and look around a little.

    The best feature film I saw last year was made in the Czech Republic:
    http://www.czech.cz/en/culture/la-creation-artistique-tcheque/le-cinema/extraits-de-films-tcheques/jedne-noci-v-jednom-meste/

  • elan

    Jeez, all this angst over an over-exposed, pre-production render that the PR department accidentally included at some junket? C’mon. Get over yourselves. The film LOOKS and FEELS so much better than this dumb image with a white background.

    And what’s with cartoon brew and all their CG hate? Are you serious? Do you mean you’ve hated all the masterpieces that HAVE been created with this technique? CG brings a LOT of richness into animation that traditionally drawn animation cant do, and vice versa. Traditionally animated films and CG films both have their place, and it makes you look ignorant to be so biased. It’s getting old. What’s so wrong with diversity? Does it have to be UPA in order to be respected? Really? Please.

  • victoria

    Disney can do whatever it wants, I dont care. I’ve got high gas prices to worry about.

  • ridgecity

    As an insider Foosball Lova, how was the change of director and art design received? was there an actual production reason or just egos clashing?

    By the way good luck with the movie…

  • rhinotonight

    I’m so sick of all you! All of you. You say lets find the positive in everything.

    There is nothing good about this. A real project was stolen from it creator and turned into trash.

    By the way….

    “Well, as a 3d animator I find that you don’t get as much freedom for designs as 2d, since you have 3 choices, go for cartoony humans (Incredibles) real (Beowulf) hybrid look (Final Fantasy) after that you really have to check that you face looks like a human and moves like a human, because people really check everything…
    In 2d you know it’s fake and focus on the story, in 3d you check how everything moves, since the medium still is showing what can be done. creating anthropomorphic animals it’s easy because you just need the fur to look real, and you can get a away with everything else.
    In all the movies I’ve seen of 3d humans the only character that actually look different is that Bowler Hat from meet the Robinsons, whoever animated that, is the first to nail the medium and found the real 2d/3d transition…
    I actually like these designs, they feel like Disney designs from the 60’s, and I like them better than Jimmy Neutron…”

    Think they’re might be a problem? ’cause I do.

    “Jeez, all this angst over an over-exposed, pre-production render that the PR department accidentally included at some junket? C’mon. Get over yourselves. The film LOOKS and FEELS so much better than this dumb image with a white background.
    And what’s with cartoon brew and all their CG hate? Are you serious? Do you mean you’ve hated all the masterpieces that HAVE been created with this technique? CG brings a LOT of richness into animation that traditionally drawn animation cant do, and vice versa. Traditionally animated films and CG films both have their place, and it makes you look ignorant to be so biased. It’s getting old. What’s so wrong with diversity? Does it have to be UPA in order to be respected? Really? Please.”

    It’s called artistic integrity, thank you. Oh, and it also called doing you’re job. Thank you again.

    pual k. who are you trying to please?

    foosball. I read the story. Robbing someone of their project is wrong, no matter what way you look at it. The design is shit. Pure shit. And no number of lighting changes can fix that. Temp or not it looks awful. And I’m not blaming you.

    S, thank you, but no thank you for that crap.

    And to everyone else. This film will be crap, and I don’t care if it for the kiddies. Even the kiddies deserve good designs, and at lest a little effort.

    It makes me sick to think that everyone out forgot about this.

    I’m with amid, what the hell went wrong?

  • http://hitlersbrain.deviantart.com R

    What gender is that kid?

  • Zep

    “I’m so sick of all you! All of you. You say lets find the positive in everything.
    There is nothing good about this. A real project was stolen from it creator and turned into trash.”

    Don’t hold back. Say what you really think, please.

    I’ve got a big news flash. Opinions aside, here’s a truth, like it or not:
    There’s no way in hell that one DESIGN will tell the whole tale of a film, period. A beautiful, clever appealing design can STILL(yes, it can)result in a lousy movie. Conversely, a still image that looks dull and uninspired to some of you may be a complete red herring as to whether the film is dull-or actually really good.

    Because this is ANIMATION. Because as has been said over & over & over, this is a very very rough setup, not what’s seen or what moves in the film. I’m with those who feel that it’s the film and the character animation that make or break a movie, not a single image. For every Disney classic you can choose frames that make those films look “lame”. You guys know it’s true. Pick any film, and there will be frames or early stuff that’s unfinished that will make it look throroughly mediocre at best.
    A lot of of you feel that you can tell exactly how awful this movie is going to be based on this. And that’s sad, folks. Sad because I could go in and pick an image that would make it look excellent. But that too would be a mistake because again it’s all about a moving, real-time film, not about one static image that was never presented to WOW an audience of fans or haters or doubters or in fact anyone at all.

    You’re entitled to an opinion of course. But some of you should know better than to engage in such knee jerk reactions and go off on it based on so little.

  • rhinotonight

    I don’t know about you guy’s but I’m passing jugement right now.

    thumbs down. (and i really think that.)

    All the material I’ve seen looks like this (bad. hooky, and bland.), and the plot was already used in toy story. and it wasn’t even the main story line in that movie.

    and I’m shocked because I know Disney has artists who can do better than this.

    and it won’t (I’m saying that right now) look better in motion. it really bothers me.

  • Cuban Pete

    “All the material looks like this?” What exactly entails all the material you’ve seen Rhino? Have ANY of you haters (especially Rhino above) stopped to check the image in the Ain’t It Cool review linked by Foosball Lova (and footnoted by Chia) above? If you’re going to be douche-headed enuf to judge a film by an image, at least judge it by an image that actually shows what the film is going to look like.

  • MattSullivan

    I’ve NEVER boycotted an animated film. NEVER. I see them all.

    Until now. Because of what they did to Chris Sanders, forsaking his genius for this…..THIS…

    I can’t even find the words. No word in the English language is dull enough to describe it.

  • Paul

    rhinotonight: “A real project was stolen from it creator and turned into trash.”

    From what I’ve read, Sanders and the project parted ways after two test screenings, and a lot of feedback from John Lasseter. The New York Times article says that Sanders “resisted the suggestions” that he was given, so it sounds to me like he had a chance to compromise. And given Lasseter’s track record, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off his opinions.

    The original character designs were more interesting, yes, but they were also REALLY out there, so much so that I could see how Disney would have had a hard time marketing the movie and finding an audience for it…and I suspect that that’s why the changes were made.

    Put simply, you guys – the hardcore animation nuts – aren’t their audience because you’re just a tiny fraction of the people who’ll see a Disney movie in theaters. When you’ve got a huge international corporation to run, you can’t make business decisions solely based off of that tiny fraction.

    And it’s been said before, but why write off the movie before we actually see any of it? A plot summary and production stills aren’t much to go off of, and definitely can’t give an accurate representation of the final product.

  • Zeiness

    Miley Cyrus voices that girl. Look up on Google news recent articles about her and you should find one of her talking about doing Bolt with John Travolta.

    Can Disney seriously not sell things without using star power now?

  • Steve Brown

    I agree with Esn. the Czech animated feature “One Night in One City” was really cool!