In the 1960s, Walt Disney joked that one day he’d replace his elite corps of animators, known as the “Nine Old Men,” and their slow, expensive way of making hand-drawn movies, with Audio-Animatronic figures.
At the end of last month, Walt’s joke came true. The studio bearing his name announced that, due to a “changing creative climate and economic environment,” it will be shutting DisneyToon Studios Australia next year. The studio, which turned out sequels (such as “Tarzan II,” “The Lion King II” and “Bambi II”) was the company’s last remaining facility creating hand-drawn (or 2-D) traditional animation. To compete in the 3-D computer-generated imagery (or CGI) arena, the house that a hand-drawn mouse built will become a pixels, rather than a paper-and-pencils, place. —John Canemaker —Disney Erases Hand-Drawn Animation (
It’s no surprise that Disney’s recent sequels didn’t come close to matching the quality of their animated originals.
Without Pixar, I wonder whether Disney can still produce quality 3D animation.