Monday, March 11, 2013

The Secret Project

Remember that shareholder meeting that happened a few days ago? Remember how Disney CEO Bob Iger said that no hand-drawn animated features were in development at Walt Disney Animation Studios? Well, it was obvious that he was wrong. Either he has no idea what's going on at the Burbank building, or he made an assumption given the company's recent films being computer animated. Or he wanted to make us think that none were coming, and then... Surprise!

Well, Indie Wire reported that Ron Clements and John Musker's formerly super-secret project is a fresh new take on the Rumplestiltskin story titled The Name Game. Disney had been planning a Rumplestiltskin adaptation for a while, so it makes a lot of sense that this is going to be the dream team's next big film. Last summer, Ron and John's project was announced by Disney's Animation Research Library (the link is now defunct) and it was stated that it would be a hand-drawn feature. We then heard some things about a research trip to the South Pacific and how the film will possibly be done the same way Paperman was.

Rumor has it that Ron and John's new take on Rumplestiltskin takes place in the South Pacific and the legendary fairy tale character is a tiki carver. This definitely is an interesting and neat new spin on the classic, since the duo did the same for The Princess and the Frog. It's nice to see Disney going about fairy tale adaptations in a different way, as seen in that sterling film and the impressive Tangled. This year's Frozen is looking to be that way as well. That way, they can keep doing fairy tales adaptations but they're at least trying something new with each project.

I'll be a bit disappointed if it turns that this film won't be a hand-drawn or a hybrid, because Paperman is essentially the starting ground for the future of Disney animation: Keeping the tradition alive while looking forward... Just like Walt would've done. It would be nice to see an all hand-drawn film, but I'll be very happy if The Name Game is Paperman in feature-length form. The story? I have no doubt that it'll be good. After all, everything from Meet The Robinsons up until now boasted strong storytelling.

What will the release date be? Probably 2015, since it was announced for a 2014/15 release and the fact that Big Hero 6 is now Disney Animation's 2014 release. Also, I think it has a better chance at bringing back hand-drawn than The Princess and the Frog because it doesn't seem as risky, plus Disney probably won't have it open against a massive four-quadrant film while backing it with lackluster marketing... Well, they better not...

Time to bring back traditional animation to Disney feature animation... For good...


  1. Haha, oh Bob. I love you, but seriously...

    And this is so cool! I've never been to Disneyland, but this made me think of the enchanted Tiki room. I think it's great they're branching out, including some diverse locations and characters.

  2. Phew, now hopefully Big Hero 6 will have anime style animation.

  3. That article talking about the shareholder's meeting came from The Guardian newspaper in the UK. Don't think of them as a credible source for Disney news. All Mr. Iger said was "to his knowledge" there wasn't anything in development, so he doesn't really know as a result of him not being an interferer unlike his predecessor in his final years as CEO (Michael Eisner). They completely distorted his words saying that "he has no plans for Disney to do anymore hand-drawn animated movies". That's an example of how the media sometimes takes people's words out of context and tell them they said something different (in Iger's case, the state of hand-drawn animation).

    1. True, true. I wrote this article back when those words were taken out of context, but yes... I'm well aware that he might not know what's in the works at Disney... When all that news broke, I just kept thinking, "But what about Ron and John's project"?

      That being said, I wonder if Iger has any involvement with Walt Disney Animation Studios.

    2. I personally doubt Iger has any involvement in WDAS.