Disney turns tales on its computer


Maybe it should just go back to the drawing board


A feature in which Sun writers and critics sound off about the movies.

After 60-plus years of unrivaled mastery of the animation field, Disney has abandoned the traditional drawing board in favor of pixels and computers and all manner of newfangled technology.

That's supposed to make a difference?

Chicken Little, the first release of the new technology-savvy Disney, hits theaters today accompanied by all manner of ballyhoo. The suggestion is that, after a string of films that under-performed at the box office, this new direction signifies a new start for the studio, an infusion of new blood, a reinvigorated bunch of storytellers now firmly entrenched on animation's cutting edge. Just watch us go, the hype suggests.

But if Chicken Little succeeds, it won't be because of any new technology. The film's popularity will rise or fall based on the quality of its storytelling, not the kind of wrapper it comes in.

Truth is, the last several Disney films, all done with traditional, hand-drawn animation, were weak films. Does anyone really think The Emperor's New Groove or Home on the Range would have been any better if a computer had drawn them? Conversely, Pinocchio would have been great if it had been drawn on an Etch-a-Sketch.

So don't buy into the idea that changing the manner in which its films are drawn is going to revive Disney's fortunes, or alone bring about a return to the studio's Golden Age. As any 6-year-old could tell you, it's not the packaging, it's what's inside that counts.


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