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Creator Backlash / Animated Film

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  • A downplayed example with Albert Brooks in regards to Finding Nemo. While he enjoyed working on the film and by all accounts was pleasant to work with, he was frustrated by the fact that his voice was recorded in isolation, unlike The Simpsons, where he could ad lib off of the other actors.
  • Ralph Bakshi:
    • He isn't fond of the released version of Hey Good Lookin' due to Warner Bros. forcing numerous changes to the film (the original cut was a mix of live-action and animation) and delayed the film for seven years before finally dumping the film in select markets. When interviewed in 2010 on the film, Bakshi spoke positively about the first cut but had little to say about the released version.
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    • Bakshi wasn't happy with the Executive Meddling Cool World underwent from Paramount, which led to him retiring from filmmaking (until 2013).
    • Ralph was not happy that he wasn't allowed to make a follow-up to complete his Lord of the Rings animated film, or for being forced to drop the "Part 1" from the films title, feeling it cheated the audience into thinking they were getting the whole story, as opposed to just the first two books. And in general, Ralph strongly disliked using rotoscoping in films like it, only using it out of desperation because it was the only possible way to make the film at the time—a triple whammy of low budgets, the realistic tone warranted by the story, the older animators he worked with dying off or retiring (and unlike with Wizards, he didn't have as much access to animator Irv Spence to help carry the workload) and the new animators he was hiring weren't skilled enough to animate on their own yet, forced him to rely heavily on the tool.
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    • He's not fond of the 1989 Made-For-Tv pilot "Hound Town". In his biography "Unfiltered", he mentioned it in passing, saying "It's an embarrassing piece of shit," and also said "I did it to keep the money flowing." It only aired once on NBC, and was quickly forgotten.
    • As John Kricfalusi found out while working for him, do not so much as ask Ralph about what it was like working on Rocket Robin Hood.
  • Richard Williams was so devastated by what happened to his masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler that for years he refused to discuss the film or take part in the fan restoration of it. However, he made peace with the film around the time he wrote The Animator's Survival Kit (despite avoiding mentioning the film in the book) and on Dec. 10th, 2013, he finally screened his own director's cut of Thief, saying he was finally satisfied with his work.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
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    • At the time of its release, Robin Hood was not well-regarded by its own creators.
    • They've never been excited about The Black Cauldron, which only occasionally pokes its head out of the Disney Vault and gets little to no mention of even existing. This has a lot to do with its Troubled Production and it being a representation of a dark period of Disney's history (the result of studio mismanagement) that existed until Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg took over.
    • Walt Disney claimed he disliked how the Alice in Wonderland film turned out, that Alice herself had no heart, and was glad that it failed at the box office. In fact, unlike others of his films, it would never be re-released to theaters in his lifetime, instead airing every so often on Walt's TV anthology series. It would not get a theatrical re-release until 1974, more than twenty years after its release.
    • Walt was displeased with Dumbo, apparently. It was a low-budget, cartoon-like, hour-long movie that he had very little to do with (barely avoiding being producer nominally), and it ended up being more commercially successful than the high-budget, realistic, feature-length films like Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi that he was heavily involved in and bombed at the box office. Never mind that it was released at a time when he was trying to prove that animation was more than just cartoons (see the second Fantasia example below). According to Neal Gabler, in response to the critical praise of the film, Walt dismissed Dumbo as "just one of those little things that we knocked out between epics."
    • Disney's Peter Pan fared better at the box office than Alice in Wonderland, but Walt didn't care for that film either, claiming that the titular character was unsympathetic and unlikeable. However, unlike Alice, Peter Pan did well enough in its initial run for Walt to allow it a theatrical reissue during his lifetime, which came in 1958. However, that was the only reissue of the film when Walt was alive; its next reissue would not come until 1969, eleven years after its first reissue and three years after Walt's passing.
      • Milt Kahl grew to dislike his work on the movie. The majority of his scenes were with Peter and Wendy; he said that Wendy was very difficult to animate and he would've rather animated Captain Hook instead because that character was more fun.
    • Fantasia suffered from this in not one but two respects:
      • The Pastoral Symphony segment initially featured a full-on 'darky' caricature named Sunflower as one of the 'centaurettes'. She was removed in 1969 and, despite the presence of old, uncensored prints, Disney denied her existence until the release of the re-mastered edition in 2000.
      • When Walt appeared during the 1942 Academy Awards to accept the Irving Thalberg Award, he brought up this film. Trying to hold back tears, he said, in reference to making Fantasia, "Maybe I should have a medal for bravery. We all make mistakes. I shall now rededicate myself to my old ideals." He was ashamed of Fantasia, not so much of making the film as of its pitiful box office performance. He felt that audiences were ready for a film like that in the wake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but when it flopped (and was right on the heels of Pinocchio being a flop as well), Walt's self-confidence was shattered. Fantasia's performance discouraged Walt from making anything else too artistic, which was why any films made thereafter, such as Cinderella or Peter Pan, were safer, more mainstream fare.
    • James Baxter was embarrassed by most of his animation of Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989) particularly the scene where she says "Daddy I love him!", in his own words he said he made her look like a fish-eyed freak and apologized to her head animator Glen Keane for drawing her too Off-Model.
      • Animator Will Finn stated on his blog that he was also embarrassed at almost all of his animation of Grimsby in the film save for one or two scenes.
    • Home on the Range:
      • Zigzagged with co-director Will Finn, who doesn't think much of the movie itself, but doesn't think it really deserves the heat it gets either, and claims its production was nowhere near as bad as his experience directing on films like The Road to El Dorado.
      "I think it's not a great movie but I do think the hate it's been served up is a little undeserved. It's very lightweight and jokey. More like an extended short than a feature. I had hoped that would work in its favor but it didn't."
      • Co-director John Sanford likewise has reservations about the movie. While he enjoyed working on the film sometimes, he doesn't particularly like the final product, to say the least.
      • Animator Chris Buck (co-director of Tarzan and Frozen) doesn't look back on the movie with fondness either. When asked about it at a Q&A session, he expressed strong disappointment at the change from the original "Sweating Bullets" concept during development and recalling the experience of animating on the film (which he summed up as spending two years listening to Jennifer Tilly's voice and animating her as a cow) as the low point in his career.
    • Downplayed with Andreas Deja for Bambi II, since he did enjoy the experience and was impressed by the level of effort by Brian Pimental's team, but still thought the very concept of a sequel to Bambi (a film he himself held dearly) was extremely questionable.
  • Like his fans, Don Bluth dislikes his post-All Dogs Go To Heaven, pre-Anastasia films of the early-to-mid-1990s.
    • The Pebble and the Penguin is one that turned out really bad for him, primarily for its terrible animation. He actually got wholly fed up with the production towards the end of it and he and Gary Goldman outright abandoned it for Fox as it continued to crash and burn, and he even renounced his directorial credit for it. In the November 2001 issue of "Toon Talk", he had this to say about it;
    “Penguin had story problems. We knew it. The crew knew it. (Once the crew came under ownership by Media Assets), the story and the film were now compromised. Hence, neither of us stayed to complete the motion picture."
    • In the July 2001 issue of "Toon Talk", Don Bluth admitted A Troll in Central Park was a terrible film, and apologized for how badly it turned out;
    “As it is never a good thing that a child is born prematurely, so it is with producing a film. Development of a script is like the development of a child in the womb; It takes time and must be done right. Building the movie, “A Troll In Central Park”, taught us this lesson, but indeed, the hard way. I tell you all this in the hope that you might benefit from our foolish mistakes. Scrutinizing your own work is so important, but let's face it, we all are afraid of not measuring up, so we stubbornly cling to our own opinions, shutting out all others. Stanley could have been a richer character with more levels to his personality. Maybe he could have had a dark side, a troll side that he struggled with.”
    • Out of his filmography John Pomeroy is the least willing to talk about A Troll In Central Park, he rarely mentions it and has never posted anything from it in his blogs or Instagram.
    • In an interview, Don Bluth mentions in passing that he only worked at Filmation to pay the rent, and didn't enjoy the shows or working there at all.
    "After that, my church called me and asked if I wanted to go on a mission trip to Argentina. So I quit the Disney studio, flew off to Argentina, and was there for two and a half years. When I came back I worked at Filmation Studios just to earn money to pay my rent. I didn’t like it (at) all."
    • In issue 26 of the magazine "Animator", he also expressed dissatisfaction with working on Disney's Robin Hood;
    "I drew with great excitement, thinking how good it was to work on a Disney feature. When Robin Hood was completed I decided it did not look the greatest of films. The heart wasn’t in it. It had technique, the characters were well drawn, the Xerox process retained the fine lines so I could see all of the self indulgence of the animators, each one saying, “Look how great I am,” but the story itself had no soul."
    • He was also dissatisfied with The Fox and the Hound for watering down the content of the book and rehashing what Disney had already done before. The film was arguably the breaking point that led him and several other animators to jump ship from Disney during its production and form his own studio.
    "We felt like we were animating the same picture over and over again with just the faces changed a little. In contrast, Walt always found something new to delight an audience. For example, they've gutted all of the meaning from THE FOX AND THE HOUND. It's become a cute story instead of a meaningful one."
  • The few of the crew who worked on The Chipmunk Adventure do not have pleasant memories of the experience of making it.
    • David Pruiksma, an animator on the film and future Disney pro, does not have good memories of working on it and refuses to rewatch it.
    "It was hell to make. Story was a mess. The Bagdasarians were complete assholes. They were idiots. Extremely difficult to work with. They were, for the most part reviled by the entire crew. And the process for production was insane. But some nice work did shine though."
    • Bill Plympton, who also worked on the film but was uncredited, listed the film as one of his least favorite movies ever in his book "Independently Animated".
  • Animator Rodolphe Guenoden said that We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story was the most difficult movie he ever had to work on his entire career in animation, due to its messy production and the tight deadline (they had to rush the film down the pipeline so it could directly coincide with the release of Jurassic Park as a family-friendly alternative to it) keeping them from making the film better, and said that the final product reflects its turbulent creation.
  • Orson Welles, who played Unicron in Transformers: The Movie, apparently couldn't even remember what it was called, and stated that his role was that of "a huge toy that does horrible things to other toys." And he died five days after completing his work on the movie. That is some rapid Creator Backlash.
  • Dan Harmon, one of the screenwriters of Monster House, wrote a apology letter to a young girl after her mother, a friend of a friend, wrote him explaining the girl's nightmares over the movie, a letter in which he complained about the Executive Meddling on the movie.
    "And next time Monster House is on, just remember that the guy that wrote it told you it was dumb."
  • Peter Sallis, voice of Wallace in Wallace & Gromit stated that he preferred the original shorts such as The Wrong Trousers to the duo's big screen debut in The Curse Of The Wererabbit, making him one of the movie's few critics. Nick Park has also stated that while he holds no regrets over the movie, he feels personally that Wallace and Gromit are better suited to the short films, rather than feature-length.
  • The Road to El Dorado:
    • Animator Will Finn, who directed the bulk of the film, has stated on his Facebook that he does NOT have good memories of working on the movie, saying it was a bloodbath to make it behind the scenes, and that he has nightmares to this day about all the behind the scenes problems. One example he gave was the game sequence, which he had to fight for to get in the film because it was one of the few actual references to something indigenous in the film, but originally it was only a brief background visual—he said he didn't understand why it was such a struggle to put in but a lot of the backstage struggles on the movie made no rational sense. He ended up resigning later in production and going back to Disney, and had his name removed from the credits, leaving Don Paul and Eric "Bibo" Bergeron (and even an uncredited Jeff Katzenberg) to finish the job. Of the movie itself, he merely considers it to be a largely forgettable film, and he also felt that the script was awful (he distinctly remembered bringing the script to writer David Swift, with the latter remarking "You're never going to make a good movie with shit like this for writing!", and Will believes that he was right).
    "Great crew - fantastic dedication of talented people but a doomed mess from concept on. I "directed" on it for almost 3 years but resigned ultimately. The movie has its moments but as a piece of entertainment it's utterly innocuous and forgettable. Yet unless you were there, you'd never know the sheer madness and bloodbath it was to make. If they made a movie of the making of it it would be a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and The Producers!"
    • Rick Farmiloe, who animated on Tulio for the film, didn't think much of the final film either.
    "Part of my opinion of the movie is tied in with the crazy making of it. I have no particular fondness for it. It was a big missed opportunity as far as I'm concerned. The MAKING of it would make a much more compelling film!"
    "For me there were two major problems with The Road to El Dorado. First, it was a period piece set in South America — I thought at the time that that combination would be box office poison. There are certain settings and time periods that I don’t think modern audiences are interested in, even if the film is fantastic. Second, the film didn’t know what it wanted to be. Buddy movie? Action adventure? Romantic comedy? Musical? Historical tragedy? Romance? For adults? For kids? I think the project was like the proverbial elephant being examined by the blind scientists. Different directors, writers, and producers all tried to make different movies, and it ended up a mish-mash."
  • Many of the animators who worked on Quest for Camelot did not have fond memories of it.
    • Animator Lauren Faust has spoken at length on how she hated making this film. She admitted that Warner Bros. only wanted profits. Faust also hated how the animators were rushed to finish the film on time. Along with the other animators, she knew that the film was going to bomb and they were right. In the end, she agreed that the original PG-13 version would be better.
    • Animator Derek Lee Thompson doesn't look back on the film with fondness either.
      "The first movie I animated on. Bad movie. The sound track was good and the one song won an Oscar but the movie was a bunch of miss steps and they switched everyone around after I signed on. I was on the Kayley team, they changed directors designers animators writers and on and on. Kayley was first Suzanna...Then Lynett and finally Kayley. Garrett was originally a blind swordsman. Christopher Reeve was brought on to be Merlin but couldn't get any inflection because he was on a breather after being paralyzed. They put the songs in the worst places. Putting the award winning song over a chase sequence. Kayleys first song where we are supposed to really care for her was farmed out and then crapped out. She floated from rock to rock..I just have post dramatic stress all these years later..."
    • Animator Jerome K. Moore likewise doesn't have warm feelings for the project.
      "WB's first mistake (of which there were many) was in trying to emulate the Disney style. I mean, we're talking about a studio that was and still is at the top of the animation game, and WB tries to copy their expertise??? Better to have done what they did in the old days, with Looney Tunes' Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Termite Terrace being the antithesis of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the Nine Old Men. Then they lost the Croyers, the couple that started out designing the whole Q4C production. They couldn't pick a consistent direction with Kayley, originally making her more heroic and tomboy-ish, then switching to make her more girlish. It was indeed an absolute mess. As I sat up there on the 19th Floor of the building in Glendale, I mostly heard complaints from all the animators and production assistants."
    • Assistant animator Karen Marjoribanks doesnt think much of the film either.
      "This film is filled with bad examples (of animation). The director was a nice guy but did a very poor job. Too many producers with nothing to do but meddle. It was a painful work experience, and I had always wanted to work at WB. I've loved the WB characters best of all my whole life long. We did a bit with Space Jam but that studio was dysfunctional in the Quest for Camelot days. Too bad."
    • Ryan Simmons, an assistant effects animator, had this to say about the film:
    "Hey, I worked on that movie and I hate it too. Even though my name was in the credits, I didn't own it for over a decade."
  • Zigzagged with animator Kevin Koch on working on Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. On his Synchro Lux blog, he made it clear that while he enjoyed working on the film, he thought it was the least favorite animated film he ever saw, taking it to task for its story flaws (too much focus on a vaguely explained MacGuffin that kicks off the whole plot and unwittingly deflates the films tension by raising the stakes to a level that makes it impossible to suspend your disbelief) and claiming the lead characters were boring and unengaging (pointing out that Sinbad is basically the biggest asshole in the universe for wanting to steal a book that would send the whole world spiraling into chaos in the wrong hands).
  • Flushed Away got hit by this for the entire studio of Aardman, as the Executive Meddling the film underwent and its subsequent box office failure caused them to break off ties with Dreamworks and move to Sony.
  • Downplayed with The Powerpuff Girls Movie. While Craig McCracken doesn't dislike the movie, he regrets that his negative feelings towards the Misaimed Marketing of the show presenting the series as a "girly" girl show caused him to make the film excessively dark, and wishes that he had made it more in line with the show's usual tone.
  • Paul Bolger, the director of Happily N'Ever After said he didn't like the product due to Executive Meddling that made the movie more Lighter and Softer than it was intended to be.
  • Marc Wielage had this to say about The Jungle Book 2 on Facebook:
    "I worked on JUNGLE BOOK 2 and had to work very hard not to puke during those sessions. Haaaaarible."
  • Animator Dave Spafford admitted in an interview that he hates Space Jam. In particular, he didn't have much fun working with Joe Pytka, who at a meeting with him and the producer started yelling at him after Dave pointed out to him that the green-screening in the basketball game climax wouldn't work out (several people in green suits stood in for the Looney Tunes characters while they were filming the scene, and Dave pointed out if one of them gets in front of Michael Jordan then Michael Jordan will be erased in the chroma-keyed footage just like the green suits because the green suit-wearing person was covering him up) and decided that he didn't want to work with Dave. Dave, in turn, promptly left, then a couple months later Warner Bros. called him up and told him that he was right, that they had a sequence that was "totally unusable", and that Joe Pytka had left the project, then asked him if he could help them. After fixing the scene, he agreed to do more segments if he could do it at his studio and if nobody could come over and tell him and the other animators there what to do. They agreed. He also doesn't think highly of the "spit-shine" scene.
    "I wasn't that into the whole thing... I kind of just wanted to get off that film, I felt like that was a film that I'm definitely not going to publicize that I worked on. One is that they went with all the modern Chuck Jones [CENSORED]... and it looked just like that, but if you look at our stuff...it's more Bob Clampett."
  • Marcell Jankovics films:
    • The director was so drained after the arduous production and marketing hurdles of Johnny Corncob that he created the short Sisyphus to vent his frustration and swore off ever trying to appeal to international markets. Later he claimed the film's surreal, dreamlike visual style clashed with the story's symbolism and should have been confined to the movie's second, more fantastical half.
    • He admitted to disliking his later Son of the White Horse due to its even more abysmal production history where he was barred from making the movie he wanted — thankfully, his opinion later changed and now he loves the film. One project he still openly hates, though, is The Emperor's New Groove, which he had worked on prior to it being retooled into a comedy.
    • On the subject of Son of the White Horse, most of the animators disliked its unusual art style so much that they went on a genuine strike. One of the film's consultants, Gábor Pap likewise heavily disagreed with its stylistic and storytelling choices and kept taking shots at them in his later writings, believing these had caused the film to bomb.
  • Paul Dale, a storyboard clean-up artist on The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, doesn't think too highly of it. On Facebook, he dubbed it a "piece of crap", said that it had the "worst plot ever" and that the animation was horrible.

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