"Moana/Spirited: Disney’s First Painterly-esque CGI Film"
…What’s wrong with it being hand-drawn?
OK, First and foremost, let me state that I DO NOT hate CGI. Heck, some of my favorite movies (A Bug’s Life, Wreck-It Ralph and The Toy Story Trilogy) can back up this statement. This being said, it’s been almost—probably maybe even five years since we’ve had an American-made hand-drawn FILM (not cartoon, plenty of those still exist) here in the states, and we have Disney Animators and Directors John Clements and Ron Musker to thank for that with “The Princess and The Frog”. Whether you liked the movie or not, it was STILL nice to see something that brought back memories of The Disney Renaissance.
But now, they’re gonna sell out with Moana, otherwise known as Spirited. Granted, it will still be a musical, but it’s going to be a CGI Movie. And coming from two guys ho have stayed true to paper and pencil for all these years, it’s saddening. They really let me down. I was hoping this was gonna be another hand-drawn musical, like all their others. Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, all of them, great movies and each with a great team of animators behind. But now, probably due to trying to save their skins at the business of Disney, there’s next-to-no sign of any type of hand-drawn film at the house of the mouse. And coming from the pioneers of hand-drawn animation themselves, it’s almost insulting.
It’s like they think hand-drawn animation is for children only! You might be saying, “Well, that’s pretty harsh!”. Well, I can prove this! Most of the time, Disney’s Classic Films will air on its Kiddie Network, “Disney Junior”. In fact, when Aladdin aired on all three Disney Channel’s to commemorate the late Robin Williams, only one day was the movie shown on Disney Channel and Disney XD. It aired on Disney Junior on two separate days. Another point of interest is through music. Disney Junior Radio will play songs from the classic Disney films. What’s wrong with playing them on Regular ol’ Radio Disney? Not enough sex-driven lyrics and twerking moves included?!
Now I know that Disney’s movies are primarily AIMED for Children, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that an adult can enjoy these movies just as well! There’s both a nostalgia factor and a feel-good charm from these movies that give people well-worth their time. But even since the advent of CGI, companies are starting to care more about what the movie will look like, and less on the story, characters, and other important key elements.
Is there any hope for hand-drawn animation?
Well, yes and no.
Films like “Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs”, “Hotel Transylvania”, “The LEGO Movie”, and even the upcoming “Peanuts” Movie, while still being CGI, hold a certain dexterity of hand-drawn elements to them. Most notably in “Cloudly” character Flint Lockwood, whose arms and legs mirror that of a 1930s rubberhose character. The Tex Avery-inspired monsters in “Hotel Translyvania” and the surreal humor of “The LEGO Movie” are other examples to how a CGI movie can prove that a CGI Movie could potentially be hand-drawn if given the chance! Heck, the ending credits to “Hotel Translyvania” proves this theory alone!
As for the Peanuts movie, The talented people at Blue Sky Animation are attempting to mirror more a comic book-styled CGI than realistic, which probably works for the better. The character designs look very true to the original Schulz designs, and overall looks appealing.
So perhaps, out of all things, hand-drawn animation could return through CGI…Or, prehaps not. Maybe it’s just a cheap way of saying, “Hey, you want a hand-drawn film? Well, FUCK YOU, this is the closest you’ll ever get to one ever again.”
Only time will tell…