Disney Kills 2D Animation

A report from The Guardian says that the studio has no plans for any traditional 2D animation, meaning we have to get used to our shiny, CG future.

As someone who loves all forms of animation, I feel like I’m obligated at this point to gnash my teeth and rend my garments about the announcement, but I kind of assumed that was the case already. 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh” was their last traditionally-animated film and that came and went without much of a bang for the studio and at this point, none of the major studios want to spend the money on traditional animation when it’s so much easier to wring a bunch of 3D showings out of a CG film, ultimately inflating the overall box office.

“To my knowledge we’re not developing a 2D or hand-drawn feature animated film right now,” Disney chief executive Bob Iger told a room full of shareholders yesterday in Phoenix. While he didn’t rule out future productions done using traditional animation, he did go on to insist that 2D was primarily the realm of TV at this point.

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been around since 1923, meaning, for the mathematically-challenged, that it’s been in business for 90 years in some form or another (the studio has gone through several name changes and shifts in direction). For the last decade, they’ve been playing second-fiddle to Pixar in terms of the profile of their animated releases, particularly their CG output (anyone remember “Chicken Little”? Anyone?).

It’s with this year’s “Wreck-It Ralph” that they’ve had a CG movie that met or exceeded the level of quality of a Pixar release (it also helps that “Brave” is kind of a mess). If they can continue the upward tick in quality (my problems with the way it wanders away from gaming aside, “Ralph” was a treat to watch), then I don’t mind this shift towards more 3D.

That just leaves the field open for more traditional animation from around the world (and done locally and independently). You’ve got indie productions like “Sita Sings the Blues” or “A Cat In Paris” and “The King of Pigs” delivering edgy and interesting 2D animation (for the time being, at least) and that might be the place where we’ll see some of the real out there and cutting edge stuff being done.

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