Monday, September 2, 2013

Losing Another Project?


The downer animation news train keeps a-chuggin'... Well, this isn't exactly official "news" per se, but rather rumblings from inside Walt Disney Animation Studios. Beans spilled, courtesy of Blue Sky Disney's Honor Hunter himself...

For a while, he's excitedly talked about a film that Dean Wellins (one of the original directors of the Rapunzel / Tangled project) was working on at the studio. A film that was in the works since 2010, when Wellins was probably finishing up his short film Tick Tock Tale - a short that Disney has never given a general release for some odd reason. He's said that it's a "space race" film of sorts and it will show audiences a new frontier that Disney animation hasn't reached just yet. But according to what he's found out, it seems like Wellins' film might just find itself spiraling into a black hole.

It apparently has major issues that Wellins still hasn't ironed out, even though there is still some time. Other projects are ahead of it now, ones that were pitched after it such as Big Hero 6 (pitched around 2011) and Zootopia (pitched sometime after Tangled came out), the latter already moving ahead, the former probably entering production right about now.

I just honestly hope that this project wasn't too risky for Disney Animation, because Disney's morale after Wreck-It Ralph did so well was "We're going to go big or go home, and open audiences up to what a Disney animated film could be." Now it's also possible that they're waiting to see how a similarly risky endeavor - Big Hero 6 - will do in the long run, maybe they aren't sure of this just yet.

People who have had it with hearing about director changes and people leaving will place the blame on John Lasseter, once again suggesting that he's halting creativity and not letting individual directors try anything risky. Why did John Kahrs leave the studio on Friday? Why the eleventh hour director change on The Good Dinosaur over at Pixar? It all puts conflicting thoughts in my head... I really hope that things aren't starting to fall apart at Disney Animation, especially after all the build-up to an amazing slate. I mean, their future seemed so bright...

My main hope is that the real reason for the lack of advancements on the project is "story problems", not "Lasseter didn't like it" or "Execs said no". I just really hope that Lasseter isn't turning into what many fear he has arguably already turned into. On the other hand, I hope that the bean counters aren't starting to obtain more power over what Disney Animation and Pixar create. I certainly don't want the problems of the 90s and early 2000s Disney to come back...

But I won't jump the gun... Those are just some concerns I have, but I don't think these things are definitely happening/will happen at the studio...

They've been on a roll so far, even with director changes happening (see Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph) like they do over at Pixar. Their upcoming slate is very promising, with or without this space film.

Maybe Wellins' gamble just couldn't gel properly. The good thing is, the film is not in production. Nowhere close to it. It's still in the development stage, so it's better if a project is temporarily halted and put on the back burner before it enters production. This is basically a "Treasure Island in Space" situation right now. In case you don't know, that refers to Ron Clements and John Musker's Treasure Planet, and how they were kicking it around nearly 15 years before it even came out. Maybe the time will be right some day, when the higher ups let it enter production. I still cease to believe that Newt is dead over at Pixar, but rather in a deep sleep... To awakened be some day...

Don't panic, don't panic...

1 comment:

  1. I feel sorry for John Lasseter, he's one of my favorite people in the animation industry. People shouldn't just hate him just because he's having to change everything around.

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