Monday, September 01, 2014

American Hand-Drawn


I'm aware of various hand-drawn projects that are percolating. Here is one:

... “Hullabaloo” is described as “a 2D (hand-drawn) animated steampunk film that hopes to help preserve the dying art of 2D animation.” It’s helmed by James Lopez, veteran Disney animator whose 25-year career has included credits such as “The Lion King,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” and the recent short “Paperman,” among many others. He’s currently a teacher at CalArts and has also worked for other studios including Warner Bros. and Dreamworks.

Along with other notable current and former Disney animators including Bruce Smith, Rick Farmiloe, Minkyu Lee, Sandro Cleuzo, and Sarah Airriess, Lopez is fundraising to make his project a reality. ...

I've never completely figured out why hand-drawn feature animation died such a rapid death in the late nineties and early oughts. Obviously the towering success of CGI features and the conclusion of corporate chieftains that "audiences preferred CG" had a lot to do with it, but I always thought the content of late century hand-drawn features played a big role.

Disney's Atlantis and Home on the Range (among others) did not boost the format. DreamWorks Animation's decision to make their CGI animated films zany and comedic while keeping their hand-drawn projects in "Masterpiece theatre mode" (a DWA staffer's description) also didn't help.

Sadly, management's collective mind appears to be made up: CGI sells, hand-drawn productions don't. So it's nice to see independent efforts to revive hand-drawn movies. The more of them get made, the higher the odds that one (or more) of them will click with audiences.

11 comments:

Doz Hewson said...

I've seen the presentation video before. I do hope this film gets made. Hell of things doomed "Big HandDrawn". You've named 2 or 3 of them; the others, I cannot precisely name at this time.

Floyd Norman said...

I sure the hell can.

Studio bosses conspired to kill traditional hand drawn animation. They wanted it dead. The public had little to do with the decision.

Celshader said...

Studio bosses conspired to kill traditional hand drawn animation. They wanted it dead. The public had little to do with the decision.

That makes as much sense as any other explanation I've heard. Any idea what the studio bosses' motives might have been?

Steve Hulett said...

Me, I think it's more a case that many of the hand-drawn pictures turned out to be less than scintillating despite the best of intentions of the crew (staff I talked to at the time seemed to be trying to make a good movie) meant that audiences stayed away.

I would say where Floyd is on to something is The Emperor's New Groove, which Eisner attempted to smother in its crib, but couldn't. Because word of mouth.

Steven Gordon said...

I think that Disney actually tried to make good films with their last efforts (Atlantis, Treasure Planet and to some degree range), but no longer had a clue or thought their crap couldn't stink and DW just seemed to be going down the wrong path.
But Disney's decision to make Frog and Pooh as an "attempt to revive" 2D seems to feel more like an effort to prove that audiences really wouldn't accept 2D any longer and was purposefully stillborn. And it seems like only a company like Disney could possibly revive the art form because they could sustain the losses that would probably occur to most of the releases just as they were able to sustain the losses caused by most of their CG films until recently."While these Indie efforts are great and worthwhile I don't see any of them pulling in the type of BO that would convince big studios to go back to 2D in any significant way and really revive the art form.
If films like this make 25 million and give some income to deserving artists then they've done their job, but the claims that they will rescue 2D seem very pie in the sky...

Kenneth Elliott said...

Princess and the frog and Pooh both failed because filmmakers were insistent that traditional animation should always be coupled with traditional storytelling and traditional humor. I want to see a 2D animation with a edgy story and original style that screams NOW. Example: the success of Adventure Time.

F. Kousac said...

"Studio bosses conspired to kill traditional hand drawn animation. "

COMPLETE, Ignorant hogwash. Stop living in fear, and the past. No one cares about hand drawn animation or cg animation. They care about great films. And they both cost the same amount. But CG affords constant bettering until the last possible moment (sometimes to a fault).

But the only people who "conspired to kill" hand drawn...was the audiences who had to suffer through ilk like Black Cauldron, Home on the Range, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Princess and the frog, and it's ilk.

The artistry of hand drawn animation is alive and well and everywhere. But I'm glad Disney is focusing on STORY and CHARACTERS over hand drawn, as is the vast majority of the public.

Jeremy Darensbourg said...

I'd watch Atlantis & Treasure Planet any damn time over Shrek/Madagascar & Minions. I prefer quality over pop culture/fart jokes humor. They can release sequel after sequel to that trash & like flies to a turd, they will come.

Grant said...

you have an EXTREMELY low threshold for what would be considered "quality" in all the films you mentioned.

Jeremy Darensbourg said...

That's your opinion Grant. You can go watch The Penguins of Madagascar & Minions with the rest of the sheep.

David said...

Jeremy - Don't feed the trolls . They're not worth the effort.

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