memo to michael eisner: it's the story, stupid
During the great revival of Disney movies, starting in 1989, the studio released the following movies: The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. These movies were beautiful in both story and animation.
In what can only be viewed as a greedy rush to cash in on the newfound success of the studio, Disney subsequently released the following movies: Pocahontas, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo And Stitch and Treasure Planet. None of them enjoyed the box office success of the previous movies, nor did the merchandise tie-ins fare as well. Inevitably, heads rolled, changes were made, employees of the studio left in droves and it all seemed very much like Eisner was blaming the animators when, in fact, it was the stories, the writing, that made the films seem devoid of life.
During that time, Disney entered into a five film contract with Pixar Studios, which gave us the the wonderful tales of Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. The contract will be fulfilled with The Incredibles and Cars, in 2005. The contract started after Toy Story was released, so that doesn't count, and, much to Pixar's chagrin, sequels (which Disney owns the rights to), don't count. Which means we can look ahead to some beautifully animated but devoid of any real content films like Toy Story 3.
Disney's 2D studio is gone, closed down (though they do have one last-ditch effort at hand drawn animation coming out). The Disney animation studio is going all CGI now, in what one supposes is an effort to keep up with the times. Eisner has yet to figure out that while 3D animation is great, no one will want to sit through it if the storytelling is flat. 3D movies with Disney writers will be like the hot chick with no brain. Sure, you'll stare at her, maybe even drool, but as soon as she opens her mouth, you get turned off.
Pixar could still renew their contract with Disney, but I wouldn't bet on it. The success of Finding Nemo alone should give Pixar the balls to venture out and find another studio to work with. Sure, they may end up staying with Disney but, if they don't, Disney will be left with nothing but a lot of memories and a pile of straight-to-video sequels that just won't hold a candle to what other studios (i.e., DreamWorks) are doing.
Eisner needs to bring Disney back to what it did best; telling a good story with sweeping, gorgeous animation. If Eisner thinks that it can't be done anymore, I have just two words for him: Spirited Away. He should be familiar with it, anyhow. Disney distributed the movie in the U.S. And if Eisner keeps up this charade of pretending to know what's best for the studio, they will be relegated to nothing more than a distributor of films far better than anything they've made since Lion King.
[Drudge link via OW]