The 2007 movie preview clip on the Disney Channel that I mentioned below has made it to the Movie Surfers Website. So not only do you get a better look at the POTC: At World’s End footage, and an interview with Johnny Depp, but you also can see some examples of the first hand-drawn animation to come from Disney since they swore off it a few years ago. The Pixar deal irrevocably changed all that.
As soon as these clips hit the net the Disney pundits were out looking for every little thing to complain about the animation. To them I say, okay it doesn’t match the standards of classic Disney animation from Beauty & The Beast or Sleeping Beauty. It’s just an introduction to a much longer film. It’s pretty good for a company that’s been out of practice.
So out of practice, in fact, that much of the animation was out-sourced to the studio of an ex-Disney employee – James Baxter. Alas there is little info on that site. But look at these two wikipedia entries. Baxter was one of the first to leave for Dreamworks Animation. So it’s interesting that Disney is returning to him now. Still if you need an expert in 2-D animation, who is not Andreas Deja, he’s your guy.
The character design reminded me a lot of the animation in Disney’s Tarzan (with a bit of The Little Mermaid thrown in) and the choice of ‘art nouveau’ design for the backgrounds is obviously ‘Lord Of The Rings’ inspired, but beautiful never the less.
Some have complained that it’s not fluid enough or that it’s too similar to Don Bluth style. I don’t agree with either of those assessments. I think their complaint should be with the editing of the clip. Barring the editing, and the obviously small clip we’ve been shown, I don’t think it’s that far off from being the sort of masterpiece Disney was known for. It borrows from Snow White and Cinderella to give it some roots of a classic. For this particular movie, I don’t think much more than that is required. So do go check out that preview clip now.