Monday, November 17, 2014

Ground Zero of Animation's Renaissance

It happened a quarter century ago.

... The Little Mermaid, which opened 25 years ago, on Nov. 17, 1989, realized its makers’ dream: recapturing the magic of classic Disney as destination entertainment to enthrall generations of moviegoers. More than two decades after Walt Disney’s death, and following a series of less-than-fabulous cartoon features, this was the picture that launched the Disney Renaissance that soared with Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. ...

I was there are at the birth of Ron Clements' and John Musker's movie.

But nobody knew (at the time) that it was the start of animation's renewal. The scene was just a big pitch meeting in a back room of the Disney commissary. Just another Eisner/Katzenberg "gong show", the kind they had hosted numerous times before.

But the session in the summer of 1985 brought forth Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid, and Treasure Planet. Ron Clements proposed the Hans Christian Anderson story as an animated feature, but Jeffrey and Michael shot it down. Ron, never one to be stopped by a first refusal, wrote a treatment anyway, and sent it to Jeffrey.

And Jeffrey changed his mind.

Development work started on The Little Mermaid, and four years later, the second Golden Age of Animation commenced


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