Thursday, September 4, 2014

Full Steam Ahead?

Thanks to many, a potentially really cool traditionally animated film from a Disney animator may see the light of day…

The project is titled Hullabaloo, it's a Steampunk adventure about a young inventor girl who is trying to find her missing inventor father who has been kidnapped by people who want to use his inventions for evil, and it is the brainchild of James Lopez. Lopez started at Disney in the early 1990s and has worked on several projects, along with a few others elsewhere. (He was a character animator who worked on The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, The Emperor's New Groove and The Princess and the Frog - he also did line work for Paperman.)

Going by what's been posted, Lopez is really trying to save hand-drawn feature animation, which is good. Problem is, if a feature does indeed get made, who will pick it up for release in theaters? I assume this production will be independent through and through, and will have to get picked up by a distributor. I mean, I hope it goes to theaters. Lots of good independent films sometimes struggle even getting a distributor, and when they do, they only get released in less than 100-200 theaters across the country. GKIDS could probably pick this one up when it's completed, but it seems like Lopez's intention is to get it to the widest audience possible. One can only hope, right?

It indeed looks amazing and very Disney-esque, it's like if Disney made an all-out action film in traditional animation. It immediately brings films like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet to mind, Treasure Planet especially since that underrated gem's setting combines an 18th century pirates theme with a sci-fi aesthetic. The film is often compared to steampunk because of that style and setting. Anyways, I like the concept, the bits they showed are exciting, I hope it gets made into a feature.

Traditional hand-drawn animation, I feel, is not dead or dying. It's an art form that American executives just happen to have a phobia of when it comes to features, and they keep kicking it out the door. Well one day, the medium will just break down that said door. I'm sure of it…

You can support the whole project here


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  2. Hopefully Disney picks it up. Highly unlikely, but a scenario I hope happens. Walt Disney Animation Studios tried to bring back hand-drawn themselves, and I appreciate the fact that they tried. However, in my view, they should have just waited until someone else (a startup mind you) took a stab at trying to bring back hand-drawn and then try to create some competition with that said startup. You might not agree with that analogy, but that's just my personal take. By the way, is James Lopez still at Disney?

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  4. I'd love for this movie to succeed--I really would--but unfortunately history is not on its side. Not only is traditional animation largely regarded, albeit wrongly, as a dead medium by the general public, but steampunk movies have a poor record at the box office. If this man thinks his movie can be a financial success, I wish him luck