Friday, January 29, 2010

Why We Still Need Disney Animation

In 2004, still reeling from the flop that was “Home on the Range,” Disney announced they would never again make another hand-drawn, traditional animated film. For 5 years, they kept that promise and gave us many of the Pixar films we know and love. But all I have to say is, thank goodness for broken promises.

With the release of “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney has not only returned to its roots, but made us realize what we never knew we were missing. There is something magical about traditional, hand drawn animation. Undoubtedly, for people our age there’s the nostalgia of the Golden Age of Disney that so many of us grew up with and loved. For the younger generation, who only have experienced Disney films on TV screens, it’s just one more for them to love. And for movie buffs, like myself, there’s the knowledge of the feat it is to hand-draw a movie.

“The Princess and the Frog” proves that Disney still has what it takes to make movies as good as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” It harkens back to a simpler time in life, a time of VCRs and VHS tapes, when all you had to worry about wasn’t term papers, final projects or lab grades, but whether or not the princess would find her voice, the cub could be the king, or an ambitious girl could help a beast find his heart. For two hours, all that mattered was whether Tiana and Naveen would get achieve their dreams.

Maybe that is why traditional Disney animation is so timeless, so beloved, and still so needed. The Walt Disney World motto is that it’s “where dreams come true.” And if you think about it, Disney characters always get their dreams. They always obtain what they set out to get, if not always in the way they expected. In these troubling times, what better message to give kids could there be than that. That no dream is too big and that reaching for the stars is an admirable thing. Without dreamers, there is no innovation. Without innovation, there is no progress. Without progress, there is no change and we stay exactly where we are. Here’s hoping we see more in this vein from Disney.

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