What an interesting time we live in. My outlook on the American animation industry has changed drastically in the last 48 hours. I am hesitant to predict the future, but I have more faith in Pixar and John Lasseter than I've had in Disney for quite some time. I suspect that they'll do right by us (the audience and the artists) and that we are entering a new era for feature animation. Here's what I hope we'll see in the next decade:
1. 2D Animation - For the first time in quite a while, I'm hopeful that some hand drawn Disney features will be greenlit. There are so many gifted artists that have turned to other occupations... It's heartbreaking, but what a triumph it would be to bring them back into the fold.
2. Return to Story - Pixar does it well. Disney used to. I don't fault the story artists, as they are most often frazzled and pushed onto projects that should never have gone into production. In Walt's day, a picture was in development until it was ready to go into production. Some films died there because they just weren't gelling. It takes courage and faith in your artists to shelve a project that's going nowhere.
3. Timelessness - (Is that a word?) Disney's trend lately, possibly with the exception of Brother Bear, has been to cater to pop culture and market trends. While these pictures may make more money initially, it's the long term factor where Disney can really reap the rewards. (And then everyone wins!)
4. Exploration - Here's something I should do more, too. There are so many storytelling methods, art styles, musical styles, and film making techniques that have yet to be explored in Disney features. Lasseter, a student of many film styles, could be instrumental in implementing this.
In closing, I have one challenge to put forth to everyone working in Disney Animation: Make Us Believe!There are a lot of Disney fans out here who've had their hearts broken in the last decade. We WILL go to your movies. Please, please, PLEASE... Make us believe in your films. We'll give you every chance, but we don't want to get hurt again.
Well, that's about it. I've said my piece, now I've got to take my medication and simmer down.