Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More on Disney's New Head of Animation

I continue to be very optimistic about what John Lasseter will bring to Disney. Thanks to the Pixar purchase, Lasseter is now the head of Disney's animation department as well as Principal Creative Advisor for the Imagineering department, which designs rides for the Disney parks.

Lasseter reveres Disney's history and loves Disneyland. Yesterday (scroll down) I shared the story of the way he honored Ollie Johnston, the last of Disney's "Nine Old Men." Outside work Lasseter is active with his five children in such unpolitically correct organizations as Boy Scouts and Indian Guides. He once arrived at the Academy Awards in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Sounds like a pretty good guy to me. :)

My one concern is whether Disney, which has already shut down its hand-drawn animation department, will continue to produce cartoons which have the classic animated "look." The 3-D-ish digital style of Pixar movies is fine, but I hope to continue to see movies in the traditional style, even if that's now done digitally and not by hand. (I think LILO AND STITCH was the last really good non-Pixar animated Disney film.) I believe Lasseter has enough appreciation for varied styles of animation and Disney's animation history that hopefully this won't be an issue.

Update: The New York Times mentions in its Lasseter profile that he is, indeed, interested in traditional 2-D animation. This sounds very, very good all the way around.


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