Two years ago, at the big Hall H Disney presentation at the San Diego Comic Con – the year Miyazaki was there – John Lasseter presented a clip from the forthcoming Beauty and The Beast 3D conversion. I hadn’t heard about this project, but was strangely intrigued with the idea of 3D conversion of previously flat 2D cartoons. I always loved Disney’s Melody, and Paramount’s Boo Moon and Popeye The Ace of Space are two great examples of what a 3D cartoon can look like if done properly (I am not as impressed with Lantz’ Hypnotic Hick and Warners’ Lumberjack Rabbit). I even enjoyed the 3D aspects of the otherwise awful Starchaser: The Legend of Orin.
I was particularly enthused when Lasseter introduced the clip – but became less so as he discussed the process. Here’s how I recall his introduction, and what I was thinking during it…
Lasseter: “There were 3D cartoons done in the 1950s…”
My Thoughts: “Yes there were. And they looked great – like old Viewmaster slides come to life!”
Lasseter (in a negative way): “…but they were old fashioned and looked like Viewmaster slides…”
My Thoughts: “But… but… that was COOL!”
Lasseter: “Luckily, we figured out a new way to create 3D out of hand drawn cartoons…”
My thoughts: “But… but… it doesn’t need a “new way”. MELODY looked incredible…”
Lasseter: “Instead of flat art, we’ve figured out a way to round the edges…”
My thoughts: “That doesn’t sound good…”
Lasseter: “This isn’t your father’s 3D cartoon…”
My thoughts while watching the clip: “Oh. My. God.”
I don’t have problems watching 3D movies. I don’t get headaches, my eyes don’t tear… but watching this clip gave me a headache and hurt my eyes. Needless to say I was not surprised when the film didn’t open theatrically as originally planned.