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Kiss the Ring, Disney. Kiss the Ring.

John Lasseter

When I first heard the story about Disney absorbing Pixar, I was apprehensive, to say the least. Sure, the rumors said that Steve Jobs would wind up the #1 Disney megastockholder, but that didn’t seem like enough insurance to me. Disney, after all, corrupts everything that is good and pure and, you know, original and creative…so I was freaking the hell out.

What a difference a few days make. Details are here, but in a nutshell, not only does Jobs become ginormous stockwise, but also Pixar and Disney animation merge, with head burrito Ed Catmull and Pixar creative god John Lasseter (pictured) in charge.

I’m so jazzed, I can’t even tolerate it. This is better than I could have possibly hoped. If there is anybody that can be trusted to turn Disney Animation around, it’s Lasseter and the crew at Pixar. In fact, I propose that the creative meetings–where folks from Disney Animation have to go and present to their new boss, Lasseter, their status on all their projects–are broadcast pay per view. “$50 to watch Lasseter shred that horrible Rapunzel idea? Jesus, where do I swipe my credit card?” In fact, that can be its own Walt Disney Treasures release: “Coming this December: more Disney rarities, Song of the South, and Sheriff Lasseter Rides Into Town.” All over it.

Anyway, so we know that Pixar’s going to be busy cleaning house, but we’re too excited to wait. Here’s the staff of Needcoffee and their wish list of things we’d like to see. Our Top Ten Suggestions for the New Pixar-Disney:

  • Cel Animation. Andreas Deja should get first pick of whatever he wants. He kept the faith and stayed when all other fled. God bless him.
  • Do Something Epic in the Fantasy Genre. We’re not particular, but considering how well Pixar tackled superheroes and create a full-blown universe for them to fool around in, can you imagine the Pixar/Disney machine creating a damn fine sword and sorcery pic? Linger on that in your mind. Chew it. It’s delicious.
  • Don’t Forget the Muppets. No, no. We don’t mean do CG Muppets. But like anything else, it doesn’t matter what kind of creation it is, be it felt, CG or cel–if there’s not a good story, if you don’t understand the characters, you are in for a world of suck. All you need to do is see what Disney’s done with the Muppets since they bought them. Put them in Pixar’s jurisdiction. We trust them to do the right thing and make these characters live again.
  • DVDs. Keep Em Comin. Disney should give Criterion a run for their money. Pretty much anything animation that comes out should look like a Pixar release. If you’ve seen the Toy Box release for the Toy Story films, you know what I’m talking about. The Platinum Releases are on the right track. Same with the Walt Disney Treasures. Keep them up. And give us more.
  • The Incredibles: the Series. I hear the JLU crew has suddenly become available. Can you imagine those madmen let loose in the Incredibles’ universe? We would watch the living shit out of that show. You could do “modern day” stories as well as “Golden Age” stories in that universe. Would be amazing.
  • No More Cheapquels. You know, the problem is not that there are sequels. It’s that that they’re all crap sequels. Except for, oh, Toy Story 2 anyone? Take the storytelling fu that brought you Toy Story 2 and put that on these sequels. They can be magical and profitable. What a freaking concept.
  • Return to Quality Storytelling. As stated above: it’s the story, stupid. Studios thought that cel animation was dead and that a move to straight CG was the Pixar magic touch. Bah. A computer-generated piece of shit is still a piece of shit. We don’t care what medium the stuff is in: we just want that most excellent Pixar story Midas Touch on everything. Bring that noise, folks.
  • Scrooge McDuck. A theatrical feature, Carl Barks style, in cel animation. Nuff said.
  • Short Subject Program. The same Pixar magic that brought us stuff like “For the Birds” let loose in the Disney universe. I want one in front of every theatrical and video release.
  • Talent: Suck It Up and Use It All. Chris Bailey. Kerry Conran. The dudes behind Hoodwinked. What are they doing now? Who’s the next Brad Bird to come in and muck with things? Keep stirring the pot.

Update: Disney Blog has a nice round-up of Pixarness that they were kind enough to include this post on. Muchos nachos.


  • AMEN!!! I hope someone from the new Disney deal finds this blog, and forwards it to everyone involved!

    You’ve got my vote for the 2006 Bloggies!

  • Technical innovation should be another area they should work on. Keep giving us the ‘Gee whiz’ factor. 3-D maybe, new projection methods, merging their animation with some form of interactivity?

  • Some great suggestions there. Andreas Deja admitted that he had a few hand drawn animination projects up his sleeve in the animation podcast.

    I’m also so with you on the Muppets. That’s one of the first things I thought of when I heard the news. How about a Muppet Babies movie Pixar style?

  • One of the problems with the “cheapquels” as you call them is that in addition to lower costs, they do ridiculously well overseas. Disney’s straight to video releases do gangbusters in places like Japan. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

  • Will: I’m fairly certain they sell well here in the States as well, honestly. I mean, you’re a parent, you have screaming kids, they love Bambi, they see BAMBI 2 on a shelf somewhere…what are you going to do? Try and explain the lack of quality to them? Hell no, you’ll buy them BAMBI 2. I’m sure they make gangbusters money for Diz, otherwise they wouldn’t be churning them out in the first place. What I’m hoping for is that if we must have sequels, let’s have sequels that just don’t look cheap, from a storytelling perspective. Or, even better, let’s turn all of that energy into creating a whole new franchise with built in potential for sequels instead of just shoehorning sequels into places they don’t work. But bottom line: there can be a happy medium between quality and squillions of dollars.