Last month a Japanese TV crew traveled to Pixar where director Isao Takahata was treating the studio’s artists to a screening of his new Studio Ghibli film The Story of Princess Kaguya.
The TV show clip includes comments from screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) and John Lasseter. Considering that Lasseter has never expressed his feelings about the qualities of hand-drawn versus computer animation, I find little moments of unrehearsed dialogue such as this to be quite revealing. In the video, Lasseter says:
“Often times when you see something that is so hand-drawn, you’re always noticing the artist and the artwork, and it’s something inbetween you and getting caught up in the story. But not this film. This was amazing how you just get swept up in the story.”
It would be irresponsible to read too deeply into the comment without more context, but it’s a fascinating statement that, on the surface, would suggest that Lasseter believes removing the hand of the artist from a production increases the audience’s identification with the story. I would love to hear him expound on these views at length in the future. Lasseter, who started in hand-drawn animation before pioneering computer animation storytelling, would have an intriguing perspective on the topic.