The blog of a person....yeah that sounds good.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Go with a hunch of a man who's brain is fueled by lemons?

I rarely talk about cartoons or animation on this blog, as I like to treat it like my own fruity little myspace diary and occasional art uploading thingy, but I need to talk about a thought that has been floating around my head for a while, about events that have all occurred over the last year and a half or so concerning Disney, Pixar, and the talented folk who work there.

First things first. Not long after Eisner kicked Pixar out, a bunch of screenshots, art and footage flooded the net of stuff Disney Animation Studios was working on at the time. These projects included "American Dog" "Meet the Robinsons" "Chicken Little" "Fraidy Cat" and "Toy Story 3"

There was grey Maya footage of Meet the Robinsons online. Noone had hardly any idea what it was about, but Bowler Cap Guy looked incredible as he skulked around an unskinned 3d room.
Chicken Little came out, did alright. Fraidy Cat got canceled for whatever reasons (why? who knows!) and then the big news came that Disney had bought Pixar and Eisner had been kicked out.

So John Lasseter was made head of Disney Animation and things looked like they would be sailing smoothly.

The project I was most looking forward to was American Dog. Simply because the concept art (and plot) of the movie looked and sounded wonderfully off-the-wall and fantastic.
Here's some of that art:

It was being helmed by Chris Sanders, the man who brought us the wonderful weird and upbeat Lilo and Stitch which I'd say is still easily one of my all time favorite science fiction films.

Not long ago Chris Saunders left Disney. Some say he was let go. Others say he quit. He works for Dreamworks now. Apparently. The reasons for his departure are mostly rumors and small blips that all sum up to "disagreements with Lasseter over the course the movie was taking"

A friend of mine who has a friend who works at Disney claims that the reason Saunders was let go was because he played Mrs.Pac-Man all day instead of work. Funny, but honestly there's no evidence to back that up either.

Noone really has talked about the incident. One would think that the whole story would be blabbed online somewhere. But it's not. It's under wraps. And this event happened months and months ago.

According to Lasseter, Chris Sanders was replaced because he resisted the changes that he and the other directors had suggested. He was quoted as saying "Chris Sanders is extremely talented, but he couldn’t take it to the place it had to be."

From an article on Wikipedia.

But this isn't the first time Lasseter has supposedly "drove someone away"

Ratatouille was a great great film. But it wasn't originally Brad Bird's project. It originally was being helmed by Jan Pinkava who made my personal favorite Pixar short films "Geri's Game" in which an old man plays chess with himself.

Not alot is known about the guy, but Pixar kicked him off the project. Now for all we know, Pre-Brad Ratatouille might have been the worst thing ever. But we don't know either way. We don't know WHY Pinkava was fired.

Lasseter also stepped in to fix Meet the Robinsons, which turned out to be a wonderful and very funny bizarre film.

So up 'til now, I think most have regarded all his decisions as good ones. He started up the new animated shorts department and the animators made a new Goofy cartoon! Motherfuckin goofy!

But American Dog has been hidden. And while it's been hidden it's been changed. Alot. It got renamed to Bolt, the plot has been changed, the whole art style has been changed and now, alas, it looks like this:

Cute isn't it? But compare it to the concept art from the original film before the change. Which film looks more interesting?
It's not that I don't trust this film will be entertaining, but the change from "oddball story about a dog in hollywood leaving town and meeting a one eyed cat and a radioactive rabbit in the desert" to "dog thinks he has superpowers and goes to new york to fight crime" is not exactly sounding too good.
Actually, the longer blip on Bolt sounds alot like Buzz Lightyear's meltdown when he realized he could not fly.
I've heard rumors that Lasseter thought the original film was too 'quirky' which honestly I don't see how that's a bad thing. But these are just rumors of course.

I worry.

The teaser trailer for this movie will be out sometime in the next couple of months, and by then we'll get to actually see it in motion hopefully.


CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

tomwright said...

I stumbled across your blog. I know exactly what happened to Chris Sanders... long story but let's just say you have good reason to worry. Good news is that Chris is working on something crazy cool for Dreamworks now. The cool, quirky Sanders style will be back soon. :)

Jerry said...

I, too, love Lilo and Stitch because it breaks away from the traditional Disney Princess crap and gives you some really rich characters.

That being said, I think that the pacing and storytelling of the movie could've used a lot more work. Sanders is definately a good character designer and story man, but not a director.