Dec 1, 2010

Whither Has Gone the Princess?

The L.A. Times has an article about the shift in Disney animation, which now, for one of the first times in its history, has no plans for any 'fairy tale' movies in the foreseeable future.

"Films and genres do run a course," said Pixar Animation Studios chief Ed Catmull, who along with director John Lasseter oversees Disney Animation. "They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it … but we don't have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up." Indeed, Catmull and Lasseter killed two other fairy tale movies that had been in development, "The Snow Queen" and "Jack and the Beanstalk."


Catmull said he and Lasseter have been encouraging filmmakers to break with safe and predictable formulas and push creative boundaries.

"If you say to somebody, 'You should be doing fairy tales,' it's like saying, 'Don't be risky,'" Catmull said. "We're saying, 'Tell us what's driving you.'"

I think that, especially in the short term, this is probably a good thing for Disney. It's not that princess movies are a bad thing. It's simply that Disney's already done them. It's a tried and true, fill-in-the-blanks kind of storyline (though it sounds like Tangled is trying to change it up a little bit) that the creative heads want to move beyond. It also--and maybe I'm just being too cynical here--gives the distinct impression that Disney simply wants to sell more products to little girls

Some of Disney's best animated films have been serious, fairy-less stories. Think The Lion King or Bambi or 101 Dalmatians. It'll be good to take away the crutch and see what other great ideas they can come up with.

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