Disney, Opinions, Pixar

Did Pixar Kill Hand-Drawn Animation in the US?

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A Note from the Author

By my personal admission, the topic of hand-drawn animation and its current state in the animation industry is a subject that I always keep coming back to. Just when you think that you’ve squeezed the subject for all of its worth, something comes along that unveils a new layer to the conversation and injects it with new vibrancy and life. Alas, it was this ‘something’ that prompted me to go back and ask a hard question. It’s one that will definitely cause a divide among readers on both sides of the equation.

I never, ever go into these type of articles with the intention of asking questions that are easy to answer in one go. But, if I’m being honest, I had to think really hard about this article. How could I write this in a way that is satisfying? How could I give an explanation that is worthy of my time devoted to this article and of providing an answer to the question at hand? Now, in hindsight, I’m glad I wrote this. You might not be happy with it (not that I expect you to be), but I’m happy with it simply for the fact that it might challenge you in the same way that it challenged me.

With all that out the way, let’s go to the question. Here we go.

The Question at Hand (Introduction)

Did Pixar kill hand-drawn animation in the U.S.?

Currently, Pixar is enjoying an ascendant comeback. Thanks to a little film called Inside Out, Pixar is once again in the good graces of critics and audiences everywhere and, judging by the recently released trailer for The Good Dinosaur, its comeback phase looks to continue unabated. But I guess on some level, this was to be expected. There was no way that Pixar, the studio that forever shifted the course of the animation industry, would not recover from a three-film tumble that started with Cars 2.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What do you mean when the animation industry was ‘forever shifted’ by the course of one company?”.

A Trip Through Times Past

Let’s rewind the clocks to November 22 of 1995, when the first Toy Story bowed in theaters. During this time hand-drawn animation was still prevalent in US theaters everywhere and was arguably still in its ultimate prime, while CG animation was still in its infancy and not yet the industry standard (as is the case today). Back then, the idea of a fully CG-animated feature film (let alone it becoming industry standard) was almost unheard of.

Of course, that would all change when Toy Story hit the scene. Oh boy, did Toy Story turn heads. Not only did it mark the beginning of an iconic franchise (now set to receive a fourth installment), but it was also a watershed moment for the animation industry. CG-animation was the way of the future, and what better way to prove it than the success story that was Toy Story.

Throughout the remainder of the 90’s and into the early 2000’s hand-drawn animation was still in vogue, even as a number of flops started to pop up occasionally (Quest for Camelot, The Iron Giant, Titan A.E., etc.). Running concurrent to this trend was a rise in the number of animation studios that either switched over to CG-animation or did CG-animation from the onset. Regardless, Disney held firm on hand-drawn animation, made confidant by their successes with films like Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Tarzan as they eventually started to command a near automatic monopoly over these films.

But as history would have it, even Disney’s iron grasp on hand-drawn animation would begin to slowly fade away as the early 2000’s saw more of its hand-drawn feature films come up short in the box office: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, and Home on the Range. As the medium of hand-drawn animation began to fall out of favor with each passing year, so did Disney’s interest in soldiering on with a medium that was starting to hand them diminishing returns. The feature animation unit of Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in Orlando was shut down in March of 2004. Home of the Range was also released the same year and, as with the others, it underperformed at the box office.

Now, let’s time-jump five years to 2009. CG-animation is now the industry standard and rule of the land, and Disney realized this fact after Home on the Range and shifted course accordingly. That said, there was a certain sector of the company that thought hand-drawn animation still deserved a fair shot. So along came Princess and the Frog, Disney’s first 2D-animated film in some time. While not a box-office flop or even an underperformer, any hopes that the movie would be a course-correction for theatrically released hand-drawn animated films were squandered by missteps in marketing and an error of judgment that saw Princess and the Frog stomped on by the release of Avatar five days later.

Two years afterward, 2011 would see Disney take a final dip in the waters of hand-drawn animation with Winnie the Pooh. Despite shining reviews and a modest, easily achievable budget, it too was trampled on by the release of another big film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2) and likewise went utterly flaccid at the box office with $44 million.

This was (arguably) the last breath drawn by Disney’s hand-drawn division, two years before it was dismantled entirely in the summer of 2013. Jumping forth to the here and now, hand-drawn animated feature films on the big screens of US theaters are a rare occurrence. Even more rare are hand-drawn animated feature films made and produced in the US. It’s been four years since the release of the last hand-drawn animated feature film to ever come from a major studio, and the argument over the current state of hand-drawn animation is still debated with hard passion and even harder opinions.

Flipping the Discussion on Its Head

Normally, when these arguments spring, the CG medium is often held up as an item of contempt and even outright hatred in some circles. From that particular genesis, we get any number of reasons for why 2D has fallen so far out of favor in the eyes of the animation industry. But what if we all have it wrong? It might be impossible to believe, much less think about, but what if all the blame is somehow misdirected? What if, instead of pointing fingers at more current figures, we direct all that blame, scorn, and hatred towards the one studio responsible for the one film that forever changed the animation industry for all time?

What if we were to hold Pixar responsible for what we now know as the slow motion demise of hand-drawn feature animation and its current state?

Would You Blame Them?

First off, we would have to face the undeniable truth behind it all: without Pixar and Toy Story, the medium of CG-animation wouldn’t be where it is today. This would probably be a good place to start if you feel game to place Pixar in the hot seat. Sure, hand-drawn feature animation didn’t exactly drop dead when the first Toy Story hit the scene, but it was definitely the spark that led to a gradual domino effect of other animation studios looking at the medium of CG-animation and saying, “We can do that!” or “We can do that, too!”

The “death” of hand-drawn feature animation didn’t happen overnight. Rather, it was gradual. It was one that took place in the span of nearly a decade and a half since Toy Story came out. Eventually, “We can do that!” turned into “We can only do this!” as hand-drawn animation started to disappear from our theater screens. Now, the days when hand-drawn animation was considered commercially viable are long gone as CG-animation and the technology behind it are what drive the industry forward these days.

Once again, this is because Pixar dared to do what was then considered the impossible and make an all-CG film. Nobody else did that. Nobody else made the film that would single-handedly shape the future of an entire industry. Nobody else did that but Pixar.

If you want somebody to blame for why hand-drawn animation isn’t even given so much as a glance from the big studios nowadays, you could blame Pixar. If you want somebody to blame for the ‘relegation’ of hand-drawn animation to TV, online, and international outlets, you could blame Pixar. If you want to be angry, mad, and outright livid and blame somebody for the dearth of hand-drawn animated films in US theaters nationwide, you could definitely blame Pixar.

Is Pixar responsible for the death of hand-drawn animation and its current state? If you were brazen enough in your support for the hand-drawn medium and bullish enough in your hopes for an industry-wide comeback, then you could say yes.

Would You Want to Change History?

Now, for a follow-up question. Given all that I’ve told you, would you want things to change? If you were given the opportunity to go back in time and change history so that, by some chance, today’s generation would still be able to see hand-drawn animation in US theaters, would you take it?

It’s certainly something one could think about. But let’s say that you did it. Let’s say that Toy Story didn’t happen. Then there’s a pretty good chance…that nothing beyond some amusing ripples to film history would occur.

Why do I say that? Why did I set all this up, only to pivot in the other direction? Because if time were truly immutable, then some other studio would have made that groundbreaking film that would gradually move the industry toward the CG medium. It may not have been like Toy Story in terms of plot or premise, but you’d be in for a shock if you didn’t think that any other studio would take Pixar’s place in the history of animation. Heck, who’s to say that Pixar could have been stopped from making Toy Story anyway?

The fact of the matter is that no matter what could have been done or what anybody wished they had done, there is definitely a sense that, once Pixar put CG on the map, the medium’s evolution and rise to prominence was (on some level) inevitable. That is something that we can’t change. Whether you feel like Pixar is responsible for the demise of hand-drawn animation or not, we can’t ignore the fact that CG-animation will always have a place in the industry because of Pixar.

A Glimpse Into the Future

I mentioned the word ‘evolution’ when talking about CG animation. If history also tells us anything, it’s that the medium of CG and the ways of doing it have evolved over the years. So, if it’s that easy for one medium, why can’t that be the same situation for another?

I have made mention in previous articles about the myriad possibilities that could come along with the ‘evolution’ of hand-drawn animation. So once again, I point you towards the projects that signify a very interesting future for the medium of hand-drawn. Projects like Klaus and Kariba are definitely strong indicators of where the hand-drawn medium might be headed, as technologies used in the production pipelines of these projects evolve. Yes, even the Meander system used by Disney to craft Paperman and Feast opens up new possibilities that we could have never thought about before.

Would all I just wrote about be possible if hand-drawn animation was still the industry standard today? I will leave you to think on that one, but I do think that there are some exciting things in store for hand-drawn animation. Will it lead to what many are hoping to be an industry-wide comeback of 2D animation? I will also leave you to think on that one, but it would be most ideal if it led to a future in which both CG and 2D held equal footing as industry standards.

What do you think? What are your opinions pertaining to the subject of this article? Let us know in the comments!

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • PabloRuiz7

    I don’t it’s Pixar fault at all. They were just telling better stories so they were more successful. As usual, I’d blame the executives that see Pixar’s success and assume it’s because their movies are CG and Disney weren’t. But Home on the Range could’ve been CG and The Incredibles could’ve been 2D and the box office and critics’ response would’ve been the same because it’s a matter of Bad storytelling vs Great storytelling.

    Wanna blame someone? Blame Michael Eisner and the toxic atmosphere he created at Disney which resulted in an awful string of bad movies. I’m sure 2D will be back as soon as someone wants to use it, John Lasseter wouldn’t say no. Either that or a mixed technique, like the one used on Paperman.

    • surfercharlie25

      I think you’re spot-on, Pablo. A great story will find an audience, whether it’s 2D, CG, or stop-motion.

      I feel like 2D animation could make a comeback at any time; John Lasseter is definitely in its corner, and, being the chief creative officer at Pixar, Disney Animation, and DisneyToon, he’s definitely in the position to make it happen. Brad Bird has also said that he’d love to make another 2D film. Disney is definitely the trendsetter where animation is concerned; if the studio were to make a great 2D film, I’m sure the form would come back to life. I can imagine that a 2D animated film would be hard to pitch to shareholders right now, though. That might be the roadblock that’s keeping 2D dead.

      • brandon

        John Lasseter’s devotion to 2D has been a subject of both criticism and debate, going back way before Disney shuttered its hand-drawn division.

        This is a quote from an anonymous staffer at Disney who told this to The Animation Guild’s Steve Huelett:

        “We’re developing a bunch of different projects to show
        John Lasseter. It’s a complicated process. We pitch to a development
        group, they tell us which ones they like, then tell us that people
        who’re pitching need to develop three pitches for John, since he likes
        artists showing him three things.

        And when we do pitch, it’s made clear to us that the stories aren’t
        necessarily for a hand-drawn project. When we’ve brought it up with John
        Lasseter, he’s shied away from committing to a hand-drawn feature …”

        It would appear that, as much as John would probably want to do a hand-drawn film, he chose to trust his business instinct and go along with the crowd.

    • Simon Smith

      I completely agree … Disney killed hand drawn by rehashing essentially the same stories for years, how many features had to be about Princesses, Princes or Cats and Dogs it started to get old, in fact Disney features had been flopping for years before Pixar reinvigorated the sector. Pixar was interested in telling great stories, Disney was interested in Merchandising. Disney bought Pixar, because without them Disney was heading to nowhere.

  • aquapyro

    I see this being the same question implied with videogames. Did the PlayStation, N64, and Saturn kill 2D games, and to put it in a nut shell no. There were still titles being released as 2D, particularly franchises that felt better were Street Fighter and Megaman. But at a time where it seem that everyone had to go 3D, obviously some worked out better than others either better commercially or better critically.

    Clearly when people see something that reminds them of the past general audience is going to see it as old school, retro or inferior to “today’s standards”. A new medium will always grab attention and will overtake the previous iteration. Except for Japan, they have always had a balance of both spectrums.

  • JMB

    I feel like it was a combination of factors that resulted in hand-drawn animation’s current state. While Pixar(as well as DreamWorks) may have played a part in establishing and cementing CGI animated features as the norm, the poor business decisions, bad marketing, overwhelming competition at the theaters, and dwindling quality of some of those final features also led to this darker era for the classic animation style.

    Additionally, I believe the overall concepts, settings, and ideas chosen for some of these last few films also aided in the fall of hand-drawn animation. With the actual quality of these few films aside, things like cartoony farm animals messing about in the desert, humans turning into frogs and getting stuck in the bayou, and especially Winnie the Pooh just aren’t things that resonate with a lot of audiences of various ages. There’s no sense of grandeur, wonder, or originality behind such ideas(even if one or two may actually contain at least a lick of that despite what the advertisements and concepts suggest at first glance) that compel various demographics to come and actually see them.

    For hand-drawn animation to bounce back into theaters, people will need something BIG. Something on the scale of The Lion King or Frozen where the stories were more personal and profound while also managing to be larger than life and taking place in grandiose settings with high stakes scenarios. THAT is the ticket.

  • There are two factors to blame, one is the audiences, they were never forced to not watch 2D features, if they cared an awful lot they would’ve supported it through and through, the second is other studios, since studios follow what’s big, they’ll support what makes money, Shrek succeeded where most competing animated films couldn’t, thus studios followed suit, thinking CG was the successful moneymaker, if studios cared about the art they’d have continued

  • iWill

    Nice article. This polemic reminds me of the concern the artists of the 19th. Century had regarding photography, which they saw as the murderer of the Art. Very much like they felt about painting, we have a particular love for hand-drawn animation, and do not wish to see it fade away in time. But, just as the realists and the impressionist did back in the day, filmmakers can still find a place for hand-drawn animarion in Contemporary Art. All that needs to be done is find something this form of animation can do/tell that neither CGI or stop-motion can.

    Nevertheless, it should be noted that animation is nothing but a medium to tell stories. In film, the æsthetic is always at the service of storytelling. Walt Disney knew that, and John Lasseter insists on it, and that’s precisely what made their pictures great. It doesn’t really matter whether a movie is animated by computer, with pen and paper or with puppets, as long as its soul, the story, is a healthy one.

    I hate to see H-D animation be forgotten, but it is also critical moments such as this one in which the medium can be reinvented and rejuvenated more effectively. Traditional hand-drawn animation will ‘stay alive’ as long as we keep looking for its purpose in a CGI era, which is essentially the same basic one as its infographic counterpart: telling good stories.

  • Alexandria Lynn

    Well, I personally don’t want to blame Pixar for the death of 2D animation. First off, there have been some instances of the use of traditional animation used by the animation house, such as the shorts Your Friend The Rat and Day & Night and the intros to both Monsters, Inc. and its’ sequel, Monsters University. Also, back when they released the first image of the characters for Inside Out at the 2013 D23 Expo, they looked very cartoony and looked like they could have been hand-drawn, and once we got to the movie, the emotions look like they could have been drawn with chalk pastels, as they are made of little tiny particles.

  • Iftekhar Ahmed

    The Princess And the Frog: Came out at the same year as Avatar and the title gave the preconceived notion of appealing to young girls only.

    Winnie the Pooh: Came out at the same time as Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallow.

    It’s evident that the Disney marketers were just terrible with releasing their later 2D titles!

    • Droobiedoo

      That and the fact that both films were not very good. Besides, hand drawn animation is more popular now than it’s ever been–with double the amount of work or more being done. A lot of it feature work. Just not here in the U.S. A lot in Europe and South America, and Asia. And of course, TV animation. Hand drawn animation isn’t dead at all, and anyone who thinks it is is being silly.
      Let’s just all hope the likes of don bluth continues to stay out of the business. He’s as responsible for the perceived “death” of hand drawn animation as anyone–he just doesn’t know how to create compelling characters or tell a story. And his films are ugly to look at.

      • Iftekhar Ahmed

        I disagree, they both have had extremely positive reviews and are respected within the library of Disney Revival movies!

        • Droobiedoo

          Well they both bombed, so the audience must not have agreed.

          • Iftekhar Ahmed

            The Princess And The Frog didn’t “bomb”… it just wasn’t as high as Disney expected it to be. Besides, that movie has a strong cult following. Princess Tiana has been arguably rated as the most inspirational Disney Princess to this day.

          • Noah Evans

            Hey, did you know that the number of audiences going to see it =ing the box-office and the audiences opinion DON’T go hand-in-hand? And it doesn’t matter rather a film has good critic/goer approval, bad approval, bad critical reception and good audience reception, good critical response and distaste from the people seeing it… the movie does financially good if a BIG NUMBER of people or EVERYONE sees it.

      • Baymax

        Don bluth hater!!!

        • brandon

          Watch yourself.

        • Droobiedoo

          His work is pure crap. But I don’t hate “him.” His films are so bad they’re sometimes fun–but not in a way he’d find flattering. And rightfully so.

      • surfercharlie25

        You don’t like Don Bluth? Those are fighting words, stranger!

        (Just kidding, of course. We’ll just agree to disagree!)

        • Droobiedoo

          He couldn’t tell a story to save his life. And his incredibly bad taste led to his demise as a film maker. That and the fact that he owes so many artists so much money for having gone bankrupt a few times.

          • surfercharlie25

            I think Don Bluth is a very skilled storyteller. I think The Secret of NIMH has a very sophisticated plot, complete with a strong, interesting protagonist at its center. I can’t get through The Land Before Time without crying, because I relate so much to Littlefoot that I can’t help but get emotionally involved. As for All Dogs Go To Heaven, I think Charlie Barkin is one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen in an animated film. We don’t get a lot of antiheroes in animation (unfortunately), so it’s a refreshing change of pace.

            I think Bluth’s biggest strength lies in character. Even when his plots seem simple, the characters are interesting and relatable enough that they make the story strong.

            But all taste is relative. Like I said, we’ll just have to agree to disagree 🙂 (But I would argue that financial success isn’t exactly the best way to measure a filmmaker’s career. How does the fact that he went bankrupt a few times affect the quality of his films?)

          • pikppa .

            Don Bluth had a dark period during the 90s in which he stepped away from what he can do best aka following the ideal that animated movies can be targets to kids and at the same time being enjoyable by adults as well as the thought that children can withstand almost anything as long as there’s an happy ending, and instead made childlish movies that not even seemed to be his works. But his first works, his golden age if you will, is made of magical masterpieces like The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, Land Before Time and All Dogs go to Heaven who were both astonoushing in stories and characters. Their plots were revolutionary for animation in being both enjoyable, as I said, by kids and adults. Bluth even outshadowed Disney itself and lead them to reconsider their way of making movies, leading to the Disney Renaissance. Ironically, in the same period in which Disney learned from Don Bluth that their works could be more mature and sophisticated in plot, Bluth, for no reason, decided to make more childlish and immature films. But it came back to his roots with Anastasia, which is an absolutely stunning piece of art. And Titan AE was too. Now I know what you’re thinking: Titan AE flopped and it was the reason Bluth don’t work for big studios anymore. I know and that is unfortunate. But Titan AE did not flop because it was a bad movie. It was a really great movie. It had an original story, interesting characters, it was complex and it gave us many things that we don’t get too often in western big studios animation aka double-crossed anti-heroes as protagonists without a true classic hero to feature. Titan AE flopped because the project went through many issues (it started as a live action but Fox changed it to animation and asked Bluth to do it because it did not wanted to spend too much money on it) which led to basically what is Don Bluth’s real weakness: he’s an amazing artist but he is a poor marketman. Unlike Walt, he never was any good at promoting his stuff. In the 80s animated movies still basically promoted themselves so it worked. Anastasia benefied from Disney princess rousing love across children of that time. But Titan AE couldn’t came out in a worse time. It was 2000 and Disney Renaissance was over and people once again started to look at cartoons as “children’ stuff”. Bluth’s dark and sophisticated formula that was once his greatest success is what caused instead the downfall of Titan AE. So it was not a bad movie, it was simply in a bad place at the right time. Same for Princess and the Frog really. Disney was not interested in developing 2d animation anymore at that point so they did not promote it at all. We all know how powerful Disney can be when coming to promotion. We saw nothing of it for Princess and the Frog and that’s unfortunate.

  • surfercharlie25

    I hate to pin the “death” of 2D animation on Pixar, because I don’t really think it’s dead. 2D hasn’t become any less viable, or any less awesome. It still has the ability to touch audiences and tell a great story. It could be revived at any time; all it takes is a gutsy filmmaker (as we have with Brad Bird, who wants to make a 2D film; I’d also LOVE to see Don Bluth make an epic return!), an executive who loves 2D (as we have with John Lasseter), and a CEO who’s willing to back both of them up (Bob Iger…?)

    Speaking of CEOs, if we have to blame anyone for the “death” of 2D animation, I think @PabloRuiz7:disqus found the perfect scapegoat with Michael Eisner. I have a feeling that, if it weren’t for Roy E. Disney, we wouldn’t have Disney Animation at all today; he was always in animation’s corner, even when no one else on the board of directors was.

    In an ideal world, 2D and CG animation (and stop-motion) would co-exist as equal players in the animation field. I feel like each plays a huge, important part in the art form, and each should stick around forever.

  • Several others have said it, and I’ll mirror their sentiments. Pixar isn’t responsible…if you want to target one group, it would be moviegoers. Studios are in the business of making money and they’ll go wherever the perceived (real or not) money is. Pixar captivated audiences and made money through a great story while utilizing a unique delivery method for the time – the computer.

  • Katie

    I don’t think hand drawn animation is dead at all. You still have the abundance of 2d cartoons made today. I can thing of only two CGI cartoons off the top of my head. You still have amazing shows that get a good audience and some even come out with theater releases. I don’t thing 2D animation will ever truely die. There are just some things that CGI can’t pull off as well as 2D. This will be revealed in the live action remakes with all the new CG takes on classic characters. 2D isn’t dead

  • Not Without

    Bad stories killed 2D animation.

    • Tim Tran

      ^THIS.

  • Tim Tran

    the only thing that killed hand drawn is executives and bad writing, not CGI. tbh, its not dead, its sleeping. Think of it as a Snow White poisoned by greed for beautiful money and is now waiting for something amazing to kiss it back to life. and we’re all the dwarfs whos mourning while waiting for her return.

    • Baymax

      Well put 🙂

  • Baymax

    Nice point. I love Pixar, but they did kill it. Not intentionally though. They just wanted to make a cgi movie and change the world. They influenced companies, and as their films flopped, they thought they could catch lightning in a bottle with cgi films. And I love Pixar, but they killed it.

  • Mack

    I blame whoever scheduled Princess & the Frog against Avatar and, especially, Winnie the Pooh against Harry Potter.

  • Ryan Prieto

    This is a wonderfully written article. I don’t think 2D is dead at all, just unpopular. It has been displayed in our culture that nothing truly dies, it just loses residence in the forefront of what seems mainstream. Just look at Hieroglyphs and emojis, pretty similar. Dinosaurs have been dead for millions of years and Pixar just made another movie about them (Checkmate Animation fans). Has 3D animation saturated the animation market? Yes but that doesn’t mean it outright killed 2D animation at all. There will always be ardent animators who will utilize 2D animation, it will be our jobs as consumers and creators to let either want more of it or let it slip a bit further from popular esteem. But it will never leave us completely. Thanks Brandon.

  • I mean I can totally see why people blame Pixar for Hand Drawn animation to be gone but hey I think we’re just going through a craving money phase of movies and maybe hopefully hand drawn animation will make a comeback from a another source maybe not Disney and will revive it
    I just know this isn’t truly the death of hand drawn, no matter what anyone tells me

  • Renard N. Bansale

    “There was no way that Pixar, the studio that forever shifted the course of the animation industry, would not recover from a three-film tumble that started with Cars 2.”

    I think the “tumble” applies more to the stability of people’s faith in the studio. If one wanted Pixar to make perfect films, then of course Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters U are a tumble. People were too hard on them, to which I hope people learn not to marry themselves to their expectations. And those three films were all fine and enjoyable and successful (yes, even Cars 2). Just because they didn’t shake our emotions to the fullest doesn’t mean their any less worthy of the Pixar brand.

    • This guy had got it right! 🙂

    • Rachel Wagner

      I agree. Those movies are not that bad. People exaggerate.

  • Jim Taylor

    If anything, I would tell Disney to not make the Winnie the Pooh movie and do an original 2D film with a full budget.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I didn’t even bother to see Winnie the Pooh

  • Aliscen Khaw

    I would think pixar open a new way instead of it closing one, because thanks to the great blends of 3d and 2d we were able to get something beautiful like papaerman, so my hopes is that the animation world can find a balance with the new and the old. And also the home on the range was just……the story wasn’t up to parr, nor were the visuals, I think disney could tackle 2d again because song of the sea, ernest n celestine, princess kaguya, were all wonderful 2d film and were quite successful. But perhaps this time around picking a better story, and a new style but you can still feel some disney vibe(like mulan,it has the different style but stil feels disney),their story are getting better after tangled, so if they decided to return to 2d for a few films it could be good.

  • Rodrick

    I think blaming a single studio is too extreme. They launched Toy Story twenty years ago, Disney was hand animating until five or six years ago. They might had some importance on it, but not all.

  • Branko Burcksen

    I believe CG in animation was an inevitable evolution. Pixar just helped speed it along with great storytelling and innovation. However, I think it will swing back toward greater integration of 2D and 3D as time goes on. A major reason for that has to do with another major digital revolution: video streaming. Netflix, Youtube and many other companies have loosened the barriers to viewers discovering a greater variety of content, including the animation produced around the world.

    Japanese animation has seen a resurgence since websites like Crunchyroll, and companies like Funimation, embraced streaming and bring countless amounts of anime to a larger audience.

    Japanese animators push themselves to blend CG and hand drawn animation in ways never seen before. What’s more, it is not uncommon for them to produce content aimed at mature audiences.

    I believe that is one of the keys to any future swing in animation towards the re-integration of 2D. Adult audiences have to be more embracing of what cartoons can accomplish, and nowhere is that more apparent than Japan, and never has it been easier to find and watch thanks to video streaming.

    Over the coming year or so, some spectacular new movies will be released from Japan that may point toward a new future for hand drawn animation.

    The Boy and the Beast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uifJLWoWv8c

    Psycho-Pass movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eXRh1bwIr8

    Project Itoh trilogy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWpdHSJ_3Sw

    • pikppa .

      Because in Japan hand-drawn animation cost absolutely nothing. The japanese animators are paid something like 1 dollar per hour. With such low costs, there is no wonder that hand-drawn animation is still alive. The reason the CGI animation won is, as always, a question of money. 3D animation is financialy speaking more convenent. Besides japanese audience never liked 3d animation so well. They are the opposite of americans: americans look at technology like the future, they believe they are always looking at the future and they consider CGI as “evolution”. Americans as a people are not much interested in their past as much as the future. Japanese on the contrary are very stick to tradition and for them the classic 2d animation is simply untouchable. In fact CGI animated movies in Japan, so far, have all been flops (Captain Harlock, Saint Seiya etc…)

  • Mark

    Dead for *Western animation. There is still japan

    • Albert Chao

      Don’t you mean just AMERICAN animation? and even then only just for feature films? Since just about every popular “Western” animated film released in mainstream theaters are wholly American-produced and directed (same goes for the studios).

      In addition to Japan, doesn’t Europe also make 2D films?

      • pikppa .

        Europe always followed American example, so they stopped making 2d animation as well. Some country, like my own, still use it but only when it’s trashely done by underpaid asian countries.

  • Simon Smith

    To say that Pixar Killed hand drawn animation is absurd, look at Studio Ghibli, their features are highly successful around the world for the same reason Pixar became successful. Both studios worried about telling compelling engaging stories. Disney killed itself with a long line of dross. How many Disney features went straight to DVD, I mean ‘101 Dalmatians’ was decent, then you get ‘101 Dalmatians 2’, then ‘102 Dalmatians’, same for most of its intellectual property, did anyone want Dumbo 2? Lion King 1 1/2? Lion King 2? Cinderella 3. Sequels aren’t always bad, look at Toy Story for pixar, but you try and watch most of the Disney sequels … they are just badly written and often dull, basically they are badly told stories. They just squandered all the resources on trash and it cost them … they lost their audience.

    • pikppa .

      look at Studio Ghibli, their features are highly successful around the world < so successful that it closed.

    • pikppa .

      I mean frozen, young heroine against the Snow Queen, Tangled, princess stuck in tower finds prince charming, even the last big hand animated feature was a Princess and a frog < you obviously never saw any of them. The princess and the frog is not about a princess at all, the heroine is a poor woman that works hard all his life to get something they denie to them because she's a woman and because she's black and confront herself with a nasty dishonored prince that never worked before in his life. In Frozen the only prince is a bad guy, the main love story is about the sisters while the romantic love is secondary and in Tangled there is no prince charming at all, just a thief/Han Solo-like character.

  • utarasone

    Perhaps this is just an issue in America? For example, hand drawn animation does very well in Japan.

    I have also heard American producers say that Americans won’t go see hand drawn/2D animation in the theatres, but they won’t watch 3D CG animation on TV (where the top shows tend to be 2D). That is an interesting phenomenon.

    • pikppa .

      Perhaps this is just an issue in America? For example, hand drawn animation does very well in Japan. < Because in Japan hand-drawn animation cost absolutely nothing. The japanese animators are paid something like 1 dollar per hour. With such low costs, there is no wonder that hand-drawn animation is still alive. The reason the CGI animation won is, as always, a question of money. 3D animation is financialy speaking more convenent. Besides japanese audience never liked 3d animation so well. They are the opposite of americans: americans look at technology like the future, they believe they are always looking at the future and they consider CGI as "evolution". Americans as a people are not much interested in their past as much as the future. Japanese on the contrary are very stick to tradition and for them the classic 2d animation is simply untouchable.

  • Rachel Wagner

    It’s not Pixar’s fault. It’s the fault of mediocre hand drawn films for a decade. I personally don’t have a problem with 2D coming from smaller studios and TV. People love to complain about this issue and then don’t see When Marnie was There, Cheatin or other 2D films out this year.

  • Manuel Orozco

    I’m late to the party but I’m going to state my opinion. I do prefer CGI over hand drawn but Pixar shouldn’t be blamed for the “death” of traditional animation. But Pixar gave new standards on how feature animation in general should be measured by.