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Who are, themselves, fans of the Disney Animated Canon.
Well, yeah, Home on the Range wasn't exactly the only factor in Disney moving away from 2D animation. It was just the nail in the coffin. Other factors like the lack of performance from Atlantis and Treasure Planet (which I will contest was mostly a marketing timing problem; Against Harry Potter 2? Really Disney? Dumbasses). Then there was also the corporate takeover happening behind the scenes meaning the films getting put together were kind of half-assed.
Those films and Home on the Range also resulted in 'My People'/'A Few Good Ghosts' being cancelled after 45 million had already been put into it and animation, both Animated and CGI, was already well into production.
Ironically, that film in particular was axed because execs had more faith in, of all things, Chicken Little. L-O-Fucking-L.
Fraidy Cat was also cancelled despite full-film storyboards testing well within the studio. Execs didn't like it as an omage to 'An old fat dead film director that no one remembers'. And I certainly hope that exec's career died a horrible death as Hitchcock, as much of an ass he might have been personally, is a staple of basic film classes everywhere.
Edited by InkDagger on Sep 19th 2019 at 2:02:21 AM
The Idiot Executive needs to be a trope, because a lot of these Executives greenlight shit over true quality products.
It would probably be something like Obstructive Bureaucrat but with a corperate bend.
I'm not saying it's easy to do. After all, greenlighting projects and watching trends is really difficult to do and even harder when your personal bubble is within the industry you're trying to watch trends for. However, the extent of such... stupidity from many execs does make me think that it might not be easy, but surely it's not THAT hard to avoid putting faith into such bad ideas???
I second that proposal for the creation of the "Idiot Executive" trope.
It is easy, for pete's sake (not annoyed at you, but annoyed at all the crap "creative" executives in the world instead). Prioritize good storytelling over the fricking primal greedy instinct to grab as much cash as possible, and people will pour money to watch films that are made to a high standard and quality. Don't fricking nerf good storytelling just for the sake of modern children's trends.
Edited by BrightLight on Sep 20th 2019 at 1:59:39 AM
Eh. I can see why it's not THAT easy. Again, their personal bubble is within said industry. We have our friends and normal consumers around us to know generally what looks good, what doesn't, and why. Their friends are the people who make these movies or make the decisions of what movies get made.
And, while I'd totally say that art and storytelling and what not are all the things to focus on as though it were that simple, that's always the case isn't, until it, well, isn't? There are plenty of really really good movies that flopped hard at the box offices. The Shining, now considered one of the best horror films ever made, was HATED by critics and flopped. I think it even got a razzie. Iron Giant, Cats Don't Dance, Rise of the Guardians, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link were all acclaimed flops.
Good plot, characters, and craft are not a success make. I can see how someone might easily, and especially with vary difference reference pools, misinterpret what movies to greenlight and what movies to axe based off of popular trends. Contrast to what I just said of acclaimed flops, I don't know a single person who doesn't hate the Live-Action Disney remakes but Lion King 2019 made BANK at the Box Office.
The reality is that movies cost more than ever to make these days and bigger budgets mean people are far more hesitant to take risks. It's one of THE reasons people are concerned about having gay characters in their media; "Audiences aren't interested in gay lead movies". 15 years ago, they said audiences aren't interested in women lead superhero movies because Catwoman and Elektra flopped. Now we have Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel and Black Panther dominating the box office and a lot of people believed all three would flop; even going as far to not contract WW's director for a second flim which then allowed her A LOT of advantage when renegotiating her sequel contract.
They aren't wrong to acknowledge what movies flopped and try to discern why. However, I think their evaluations tend to be very surface level; Audiences don't want gays/fantasy/women/niche subjects/x arbitary factor to the most shallow premise of the film. Instead of considering if the concept was good but poorly executed (Star Wars Prequels), the marketing wasn't there (Emperor's New Groove), or what films did you put it against at the box office (Treasure Planet vs. Harry Potter 2) or possibly even just how a film might approach a certain subject matter either within the product or in the context of the real world (See: Movies pulled or edited from theaters due to real life events). But just pointing to the first thing that comes to mind from the description is an easier write off that a board room of old white rich men will nod and agree to is easier than a more genuine self-reflection.
I get why execs make bad decisions when it comes to films. There will inevitably be bad decisions and things that seemed good on paper but the execution flopped (I.e. Mad Max: Fury Road is an excellent film, but when the concept is '2 hour car chase', that's something that could flop in less competent hands, compared to movies with much "easier" concepts that royally fucked up). What I don't get and oft wonder is what kind of information were they getting to think Chicken Little was a going to be the, ahem, basket to put all your eggs into?
My guess on Chicken Little is that they saw Shrek kick a surprising amount of ass and so they decided to do their own sort of Shrek-like thing, but without any of the heart that made Shrek work in the first place.
Edited by Tuckerscreator on Sep 19th 2019 at 8:13:45 AM
I remember a conspiracy years ago that a film as polarizing as Home on the Range was greenlit as a way to sabotage their hand drawn animation department and go to CGI films, or why Treasure Planet was put against Harry Potter, or why Disney felt the need to put out a Winnie the Pooh film (as critic Jerry Beck himself once commented).
I still can't believe how little people remember the 2011 Winnie the Pooh.
It sounds less like genuine sabotage and more like incompetence or ignorant self-sabotage. And some 'left hand doesn't know what the right is doing' antics. We know for sure that the Disney company was losing faith in 2-D compared to 3D when Toy Story/Pixar and Dreamworks were hitting the box offices regularly in the early 00s.
Treasure Planet was certainly given quite the budget and was fulfilling a long standing promise from AT LEAST the beginning of the 90s, but it wasn't marketed very well and given a really shitty opening weekend that was not only competing with a lot of big blockbusters in the Christmas season, but also competing with another Disney Film which did actually beat it out.
Emperor's New Groove was a headache of a film that, while it sold well, technically didn't earn much profit when put vs. its budget and the frustration and shame surrounding it probably didn't help the 2-D department much.
Add in the coup going on between execs of the company at the time and it's simply a company that was lacking strong firm leadership and a lot of people trying to keep projects going because, well, the show business train doesn't exactly stop even when there's no one driving the train or two drivers throwing conflicting levers. Kingdom of the Sun was given considerable budget and leeway for what (comparative) nightmare it was behind the scenes. Treasure Planet was given considerable budget suggesting someone had faith, but that faith disappeared when the film was finished and being released.
Add in the other films that got dropped suddenly from development despite quite a lot of work put into them; My Peoples was fully scripted and most of the animation was done and a budget of 54 million had already been dumped into the project, Fraidy Cat's storyboards had tested well within the studios, but execs called it "an homage to a fat, old, dead director no one remebers" (Alfred Hitchcock) so it was axed, and all of these projects were axed while a different project had the company's full faith... Chicken Little.
Were they f***ing serious?
If I ever meet any of those execs face to face, there's gonna be words.
(And personally, I disagree that the Star Wars prequels were good on paper but poor in execution. They were great in both regards. But that's just my two cents.)
Edited by BrightLight on Sep 21st 2019 at 4:13:20 AM
I fundamentally think the Star Wars prequels failed on a dozen or more basic storytelling aspects.
In concept, sure, having a prequel series exploring the Jedi's prime and their fall with the rise of Vader and who he was before falling to the dark side could be INTERESTING. There's a lot of Dramatic Irony going on, building tragedy, and some cool character work could be done. And, as far as prequels go, I'd say it technically averts MOST of the problems other prequels have since, unlike other prequels which might threaten blowing up the world which we know is impossible since the main film obviously didn't have that, we KNOW up front that the Jedi Order will fall and threatening that is exactly the logical conclusion of the stakes and there are plenty of planets you can create and blow up as the stakes might need. You can't call a bluff on the writer for threatening something they won't pull the trigger on when the question isn't 'if' but 'when'.
If I remember correctly, there are really only a handful of details going from the Original Trilogy going into the Prequels that have to be true; Obi-wan trained Anikin, Anikin fell to the darkside, the Jedi order falls from grace to the point of being considered a 'myth' only 17-20 years later, and the children of Anikin will be split up and sent in different directions.
Compared to a lot of prequels, that's a lot of wiggle room in how events play out. There's not much in the way of character motivations and more specific concrete events that "HAVE" to happen, even if they end up being illogical when it comes to actually telling the story.
One of the core problems that most of the other problems stemmed from is simply Idol Worship. On the original trilogy, a significant portion of the ideas George Lucas had were shot down by others on production. Most were on an even playing field with him. Of note, Han and Leia's scene at the end of Episode V was written as simply 'I love you' and then repeated back. Harrison Ford hated his lines so much he'd constantly ad-lib them and make them sound more natural. One of those lines is the 'I know' which is probably one of the most iconic lines from that film (Besides the obvious 'I am your Father').
Come the prequels, NO ONE could tell Lucas no and it hurt the films. No one put a stop to it when script, characters, and other ideas simply weren't working. Anikin as a character is someone the script wants the audience to understand, empathize with, and tease with the dramatic irony that we all know he'll become a monster. The problem is that he's completely unlikable and unrelatable that it's impossible to really feel for any of his struggles. His relationship with Padme is trying to be this 'Forbidden Passion' affair, but all of the lines and the body language are off-putting and uncomfortable. Ani is shocked when Padme doesn't appreciate cameras in her room? He keeps moving closer to her when she's pointedly looking uncomfortable and sliding further away from him on the couch? There's a massive disconnect between how the script sees Anikin (ergo, what the audience is meant to see him as) and how he's actually portrayed. Something the actors were well aware of, but Lucas seemed to be ignorant of.
Another obvious problem I won't drone on about too much since I'm sure there are many more informed that have said better about it, but for a film series that is supposed to be inspired by the adventures of Flash Gordon and pulp si-fi, there's an awful lot of walking in hallways, and talking about trade agreements and jurisdiction lines, and talking in more hallways, and sitting and talking and... This is supposed to be a Si-fi Adventure series, right?
Also, smaller point, the expanded universe had to define a bunch of stuff in regards to world building since the OT was fairly light and quick when it came to that kind of stuff. So a lot of those individual writers who were contributing to that massive universe kind of built their own canon of things, like what the Jedi order was; They were monks, they were religious, they were a military force, they were diplomats, they were detectives, etc. And the prequels try their hardest to not really contradict a bunch of that when, to be honest, the expanded universe had gotten so convoluted that they probably should have either been ignored or dramatically simplified for the sake of being easier to understand.
My view on the prequels:
The Phantom Menace: The premise and plot outline, when focused on Naboo, is sound. With just a little of trimming of jargon, awkward moments, and certain infamous characters, it could've held up very well.
Attack of the Clones: Cool ideas, but the plot is terrible and makes no sense. This one needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Revenge of the Sith: A good movie. Read Matt's Stover's novelization, it's excellent.
Edited by Tuckerscreator on Sep 20th 2019 at 10:31:40 AM
I seem to be in a distinct minority of not actually liking Stover's ROTS novelisation. It's just SO PURPLE.
I'd say the prequel trilogy is held up by the great acting of Palpatine and Obi-Wan throughout and Anakin whenever he doesn't say anything.
I suppose the Star Wars films are live-action Disney movies now, so I guess that makes them on-topic for this thread
We went from something like four Star Wars threads in the film subforum to one, we've got to start clawing our way back somehow.
The subject of hand-drawn animated films, and the turn to CGI reminds me of something that was said in the documentary The Pixar Story, as well in a few other interviews where the folks at Pixar have stated it bothers them that they are often blamed for the downfall of 2D animation (apparently even Michael Eisner pointed the finger at them as to why 2D animation isn't popular anymore), and they insist on proclaiming "We love hand-drawn animation! We fully support it! We want to see it come back!"
I constantly scratch my head and think, "Then why don't you make one?!"
I know Pixar has done some hand-drawn animation here and there in their short films, but why hasn't an actual hand-drawn animated feature film not been put on the table at Pixar?
They can't make anything unless Disney approves of it,thats the way it goes,Disney owns them and everything they create
Drawing a few storyboards and key frames is very different from making an entire animated film. Pixar wouldn't be able to use most of their staff that specializes in computer animation specifically.
Pretty much. You'd need to hire a completely new staff and team to build from the ground up for such a project. Sure, they might storyboard and sketch things to get an idea of how they'll animate in CGI, but that's very different from hand drawn animation. It's outside of Pixar's wheelhouse and something better suited by Disney itself to do... which they have no interest in doing.
As for Disney competing with big blockbusters, there is A logic to it. That being that while they are releasing against other big movies, they view their own product as catering to enough of a different demographic that neither film would be pulling audience from each other. So, sure, Avatar and Princess and the Frog released close together but Avatar really isn't (in a audience sense) going to step on an animated kid's film's toes. Just Avatar did turn out to be a major powerhouse that a lot of people went to see in general. If anything, Princess and the Frog was competing against whatever Chipmunks movie came out that year.
Or for Treasure Planet, it released the same day as Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights. Which, sure, while an animated comedy, that's obviously a far more adult product and not at all overlapping with it's audience. Catch Me If You Can and Lord of the Rings also came out within a month of TP, but also aren't really going to pull money from it.
This stuff get complicated further when you really start pulling bigger picture economics into the variable factors. Deadpool did really well in February because it had no competition in a month where film goers don't otherwise have much else they want to see. It really wasn't competing with anything else so the R-rating was a non-factor. Disney kind of co-oped this strategy (minus the R-rating part) for Black Panther the following year which was also released with little competition.
But then Deadpool 2 was put into a crowded blockbuster summer while ticket prices are increasing and it didn't do so well. One, it was an R-rated Super Hero film put up against several other PG-13 films. Two, families are planning to take everyone to the theater which is more expensive which means less theater trips so they're more likely to try and find A film they can all go to and save the rest for rentals or streaming. In February, there wasn't much the kids would want to see and parents could justify a trip for themselves. Third, movie ticket prices are also increasing meaning, overall, less trips to the theater for everyone. Instead of potentially hitting whatever movie audiences want to on any given weekend, people are more likely to, like with the kids, pit what movie they want to see more vs. other movies playing creating a more competitive market.
This is another major issue with Disney being as... well, big as they are. They're starting to compete with themselves with roughly one Disney related movie a month and many of them being big budget blockbusters. If theater trips become more expensive and thus less frequent, a lot of these big budget movies could fail not because they're bad, but because they simply weren't as timely when placed against a different film. We could see 'A LOT' of flops in a row.
And we've seen that already with Solo being released only two weeks after Infinity War.
Deadpool 2 was the weekend before Solo, funny enough.
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