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Disney to release new hand-drawn animated film

Disney Animation Studios will release a hand-drawn animation film called “The Princess and the Frog” this December. A teaser trailer has been released as well (see below). The movie is set in New Orleans.

Community Comments

#1 Noah Rodenbeek
May/11/2009
@ 8:31 am

I’m excited for this movie. Enchanted was pretty good, but their last 2d movie wasn’t great. Home on the Range? Maybe it was the combo of Roseanne Barr and Chris Rock that took me out of it. You should probably only use one annoying voice actor per movie.

Anyways, the Princess and the Frog looks really good. Is this Disney’s first black priness?

#2 Norm Feuti
May/11/2009
@ 9:01 am

This looks great.

Funny how hand-drawn has become a welcome novelty now that computer animation is the standard.

I love computer animated movies, and I have no bias against computer animation being used in place of traditional animation, but I wish more animated features would experiment with 2D styles … even if they’re done using computers.

#3 Howard Tayler
May/11/2009
@ 9:25 am

I love a good animated film, and a love a well-animated film.

This looks to be both. Sure, they’re luring us in with two gimmicks (unexpected twist on the familiar, return to 2D line-art animation) but the dialog was snappy and the characters had a stylistic liveliness to them.

I’m looking forward to it.

#4 Lucas Turnbloom
May/11/2009
@ 9:37 am

“Funny how hand-drawn has become a welcome novelty now that computer animation is the standard.”

LOL! Too true. I’m really looking forward to this flick.

#5 Alan Gardner
May/11/2009
@ 9:44 am

The question I have is whether this is going to be a traditional Disney animation featuring the characters breaking into song or more like current animated films that are void of that kind of story-telling. Pixar broke that mold (along with a novel idea of writing for both children and kids) and I think it was for the better. I’m intrigued with how Disney will approach The Princess and the Frog, but if I get a sense that there will be signing… count me out.

#6 Ben Rankel
May/11/2009
@ 10:16 am

I have to admit, the Disney 2d animation when characters broke out into song were my favourite. I believe Alan Menken was attached at one point but then removed. So we’ll see what kind of music is involved.

2d animation will always have a soft spot in my heart. It has a warmth CG has still yet to capture.

#7 Ben Rankel
May/11/2009
@ 10:20 am

Oh, just saw this on the films wiki-page.

“The film, which began production under the working title The Frog Princess, will be an American fairy tale, Broadway-style musical set in the French Quarter of New Orleans.”

Looks like it’s a musical. I must say, that makes me happy.

#8 Josh McDonald
May/11/2009
@ 10:35 am

Considering it’s set in New Orleans, I’d say they’ve set themselves a fairly high bar, musically speaking. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with it.

#9 Larry Levine
May/11/2009
@ 11:00 am

The trailer looks great & I’m a big Eric Goldberg fan, this is going to be awesome!!!

#10 Tom Wood
May/11/2009
@ 11:22 am

I thought they said Home on the Range would be their last ever 2D animated film? Funny how grand pronouncements like that can fall by the wayside…

Yeah, musicals require a deft touch to convince you to drop that suspension of disbelief even lower. But Alan, Disney can do it so well – The Lion King?

#11 Rich Diesslin
May/11/2009
@ 11:27 am

Hope it is good and does well. That will encourage more of the classic animations and show there is still a place for them as well. Usually it comes down to a good story, well executed regardless of the medium, but looks promising anyway.

#12 John Jenkins
May/11/2009
@ 11:29 am

Hooray! Disney returns to 2D. It felt like another little piece of me was lost when they said there would be no more. I only hope this gets everyone’s attention.

#13 John Jenkins
May/11/2009
@ 11:32 am

“Looks like itâ??s a musical. I must say, that makes me happy.”

Me too. We need more music, not less.

#14 Stacy Curtis
May/11/2009
@ 11:35 am

I want to see something DIFFERENT.
Don’t give me Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King …. let’s see a DIFFERENT drawing style.

I thought Pixar had been toying with something different in the opening/closing credits of some of their movies. Maybe they’re working their way up to that?

#15 Mike Lester
May/11/2009
@ 12:32 pm

Put me down as agreeing w/ Stacy. Lucky Charms commercials are as ground breaking.

#16 Wiley Miller
May/11/2009
@ 1:24 pm

Disney stopped being about creativity and imagination decades ago. It’s all corporate formula, rehashing what was once successful rather than looking to create something new and blaze new trails for others to follow. Truly sad.

#17 Charles Brubaker
May/11/2009
@ 1:35 pm

“Disney stopped being about creativity and imagination decades ago. Itâ??s all corporate formula, rehashing what was once successful rather than looking to create something new and blaze new trails for others to follow. Truly sad.”

Doesn’t that apply to most animation today?

#18 Phil Wohlrab
May/11/2009
@ 1:43 pm

Great, another princess. Were the dolls in production before an animators pencil hit the paper? It’s just another stale concept arrived at by a bunch of suits. Is there even a villain in this or are villains no longer P-C?
This looks like one of Disney’s straight to video movies.
Did they think of this for 5 minutes before launching it into production? If this movie is slightly good it’ll be the animation and writing that saves it. The name “Princess and the frog” does not inspire my curiosity.

It will at least serve as a glaring reminder to everyone at Pixar why it is a horrible idea to let Disney control their creative department.

#19 Mike Cope
May/11/2009
@ 1:43 pm

From what I’ve heard and read, Disney’s Rapunzel was supposed to be something “new” because (former director) Glen Keane wanted to create a CGI film that had the look and feel of being hand-drawn.

In an interview a few years ago on The Animation Podcast, Keane described this new look as “sculptural” CGI.

Unfortunately, Glen Keane has apparently had to step-down as director due to (non-life threatening) health issues.

#20 Noah Rodenbeek
May/11/2009
@ 1:43 pm

“Disney stopped being about creativity and imagination decades ago. Itâ??s all corporate formula, rehashing what was once successful rather than looking to create something new and blaze new trails for others to follow. Truly sad.”

I got that feeling recently when I was watching Bolt thinking, “I remember when I saw this the first time, it was called Toy Story.” This thing thinks it’s something it’s not but it rises to the occasion to rescue its human. The end.

Not that I really care, Disney and Pixar movies both still get me every time.

#21 Tom Wood
May/11/2009
@ 2:29 pm

Disney stopped being about creativity and imagination decades ago. Itâ??s all corporate formula, rehashing what was once successful rather than looking to create something new and blaze new trails for others to follow. Truly sad.

I wouldn’t say it’s ‘all’ formula. But even if true, given the huge cost to produce animated movies, plus the enormous pressure to show a profit every three months, is it really a surprise that they would play it safe? Dinosaur was supposed to be ‘cutting edge’ and they forgot to write a story that engaged the audience. The Polar Express had a slam-dunk basis in the book, and blew it by making a zombie movie with those computerized dead eyes.

Those two issues affect a lot of animation today. The cost leads to playing it safe by rehashing familiar and hence widely accessible stories, or the technocrats get control and geek out over the FX and forget to tell an accessible story at all. Which pushes the studios back to playing it safe…

#22 Jeff Pert
May/11/2009
@ 2:39 pm

“…rehashing what was once successful rather than looking to create something new and blaze new trails for others to follow. Truly sad.”

Just like syndicates and newspapers running legacy strips!

#23 Larry Levine
May/11/2009
@ 2:47 pm

I thought Lilo & Stitch was a very creative & imaginative feature.

#24 Kelly McNutt
May/11/2009
@ 3:20 pm

Lilo and Stitch: my hands-down favorite Disney flick of the modern era (i.e. since Mermaid). Bar none.

#25 Nate Fakes
May/11/2009
@ 3:26 pm

I’m soo glad there’s a hand-drawn feature coming out! It is amazing how computer animation is so common, that viewing anything hand drawn is quite a treat (at least for me).

#26 Ted Rall
May/11/2009
@ 3:35 pm

Musicals make the Taliban–who hate music–look good.

#27 Lucas Turnbloom
May/11/2009
@ 4:18 pm

Not so fast, Ted.
“Team America”

#28 Garey Mckee
May/11/2009
@ 5:12 pm

There’s nothing wrong with musicals when they are done well. The absolute number one rule of any GOOD musical is that the music must ADVANCE THE PLOT. If the entire film and story grinds to a halt just to belt out a song, this is when it goes into the crapper. When the music serves to advance the story and set a mood, that’s the hallmark of a great musical and a great film.

#29 RS Davis
May/11/2009
@ 6:11 pm

“Thereâ??s nothing wrong with musicals when they are done well.”

Like the Blues Brothers? I agree…

#30 Phil Wohlrab
May/11/2009
@ 10:01 pm

The Emperors New Groove was hilarious! A very underrated film. Aladdin, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast All awsome films.
But for writers and artists to invest all their awsome technical into this story choice that seems so cliche even compared to past efforts, is irksome.

#31 Tom Wood
May/11/2009
@ 10:42 pm

I enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! too. It has turbans in the grand finale, so I guess it’s Taliban level!

#32 Rick Stromoski
May/12/2009
@ 4:42 am

I read once that a theater in Japan had a screening of The Sound of Music but because of time constraints eliminated all of songs. I love that.

#33 Ted Rall
May/12/2009
@ 6:49 am

Good point, Lucas. “Team America” rocks! I’m so ronely…

#34 Mike Lester
May/12/2009
@ 9:10 am

Three words: “America, F*ck Yea!”

#35 Jeff Darcy
May/12/2009
@ 10:37 am

I’m waiting for Thumper to make a Mickey Rourke type comeback

#36 Jeff Mahon
May/12/2009
@ 2:09 pm

YEAH!!!! OUTSTANDING!!

I’ll take hand drawn over CG any day even though I enjoy both!

What a welcome surprise!

I consider John Lasseter the new Walt Disney and I think his influence, though not direct, is apparent here. John raised the bar at Disney and that is exactly what was needed.

#37 Eddie Pittman
May/12/2009
@ 2:33 pm

“But for writers and artists to invest all their awsome technical into this story choice that seems so cliche even compared to past efforts, is irksome.”

Phil, I would encourage you and everyone else not to make a judgment call on a film you haven’t even seen yet. There is an amazing creative team on this and if JL and Ed Catmul greenlit this film, then there is a reason.

Regardless of what you eventually think of the final film, it has employed a crew of artists for a few years. Remember that artists “invest” on making a living and supporting their families and don’t always have much of a choice on the projects they work on.

#38 Eddie Pittman
May/12/2009
@ 2:40 pm

“It will at least serve as a glaring reminder to everyone at Pixar why it is a horrible idea to let Disney control their creative department.”

Disney doesn’t control Pixar creative. This was part of the deal made when Disney purchased Pixar. It is actually reversed; Pixar (Catmul, Lasseter, et al.) now has control of over Disney Animation. It would be ridiculous to buy the most successful film studio today (possibly ever) without giving them the reins (unless, of course, you were the former head of Disney Animation, David Staton).

Rest assured, Lasseter and Co. are still calling the creative shots.

#39 Phil Wohlrab
May/12/2009
@ 3:04 pm

oh ok. I knew Disney didn’t control Pixar. I thought Disney could still put out animated films without Pixar. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. .. oh and there is a villian in this.. i missed it at first.

#40 John Auchter
May/13/2009
@ 7:08 am

I’ve got high hopes because sometimes creativity does triumph and make its way through the corporate grinder. A great example of this is “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Disney execs green lighted it as an “A” feature hoping to catch the Lion King/Elton John lightening in a bottle, but this time with Sting writing the catchy tunes. There was trouble and re-writes and delays and near deaths. By all rights it should have been a train wreck. But it turned out to be one of the most funny and inventive films Disney has ever produced. IMHO, of course.

#41 Eddie Pittman
May/13/2009
@ 8:29 am

Working on â??The Emperorâ??s New Grooveâ? was like watching sausage being made. I still can’t eat it. :P

#42 John Auchter
May/14/2009
@ 6:37 am

Eddie, thanks for taking one for the team. It was definitely worth it …at least for those who didn’t have to work on it….

#43 Eddie Pittman
May/14/2009
@ 5:28 pm

Overall, I think they did an amazing job saving the film but it just isn’t the way movies should be made.

Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, directed a film on the making of Kingdom of the Sun/Kindom in the Sun/The Emporer’s New Groove called The Sweatbox. It is a very telling documentary on how this movie (and the process) went so terribly wrong. She was even running the cameras on Sting when he recieved the phone call from Disney informing him that they were cutting all the songs he had written for the original film.

Unfortunately, the Disney brass virtually suppressed The Sweatbox, only releasing it to a handful of festivals (probably because of contractual obligations) but never releasing it to video or DVD. I even heard a story that when it was screened at Pixar (pre-merger) Disney sent an escort with the film who wasn’t allowed to leave it for fear of duplication. If you ever get the chance to see it, I would highly recommend it!

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