These are questions I received on my personal tumblr, but I thought it would be good to share them here, because Glen Keane is a legend, and has inspired plenty of animators at both Disney and Pixar. And also there’s so much that needs to be said and I just think people should take all of this into account as we think about what Glen’s leaving Disney means for that studio and its 2D animation future, if it has one.
It’s kind of hard to really explain the difference, at least for me. I can look at a 3D film, and see how the characters look different from 2D ones, but sometimes I feel like my knowledge on animation and these studios is so incomplete. When I read The Pixar Touch by David Price, he mentioned that the reason Shrek won the Oscar for Best Animated was because the brand of humor appealed more to Academy voters. Monsters, Inc. is hilarious, and I understand that people have different tastes, and that Shrek also had its substance, but it also had that in your face quality you mentioned. Katzenberg only started DreamWorks to compete with Disney, and let his feud with Eisner also affect Pixar. Shrek is supposed to be this parody of the Disney formula, one that he likes to take credit for when Disney had its renaissance, and it’s edgy. Disney isn’t edgy; its sincere, heartfelt and loving, as you said. John Lasseter mentioned this exact same thing last summer when Cars 2 came out! He said a lot of these so called “family films” include innuendos and unnecessary fart jokes, and it’s part of that edge that so many people gravitate towards, which makes them dismiss Disney and classic film. Pixar is so rare, because while a lot of people are quick to claim that it’s better than Disney, it manages to be as sincere as Disney is, but it still has a unique stamp. Like Glen Keane said: “Pixar is ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if? Disney is ‘Once Upon a Time.’” Two types of storytelling at work, each as valuable as the other.