Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cinderella III

"Cinderella III," due out next Spring, is the kind of movie Disney Toons appears to be moving away from -- a hand-drawn sequel of a sequel to a beloved classic. ("Cinderella I" was released in 1950 and returned the studio to the realm of feature-length fairy tales after a ten-year hiatus. It was also a substantial hit.) Disney Toons new feature was the last animated at the company's now-shuttered Australian studio. According to some of the artists who worked on the "CIII," it's also a better picture than many of the other sequels that Disney Toons has churned out... "Of all the ones I've worked on," said one veteran Disney story artist, "'Cinderella III' is among the best. Margo Pipkin the producer knows how to direct the energy of the crew and let you do your job. There are things in it I'm not crazy about, but overall it's really nicely done." "The animation crew in Sydney did a really great job," another artist said. "They rotoscoped a lot of live-action reference on their own, worked hard to get the characters right. You don't usually end up with delicate, subtle animation in the direct-to-video features, but there's some great scenes where you can see Cinderella reacting and thinking. That's unusual for a lot of these." (The background keys done by Disney veteran Bob Schaeffer were also strong. Last year, when Bob showed me some of the b.g.s on which he was working, they matched the originals in almost every detail.) The artists told me the Sydney crew knew "Cinderella III" would be the last one they would be doing, which is probably one of the reasons the animation is as strong as it is. It was the crew's hale-and-farewell. "The last teleconference we had with them, it was like they didn't want to get off the line, they wanted to keep it going. When the picture was srapping up, there were lots of inquiries about jobs here, but there really weren't any. Most of the animators are working other places now, the Phillipines or Taiwan." Disney Toons has had two major hits with sequels in the last nine months -- "Brother Bear 2" and "Bambi II." Come next Spring, they might have a third.


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