Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Real Reason American Dog Has Been Canned

Chris Sanders, the writer-director behind Lilo and Stitch was, until very recently, working on American Dog for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Scheduled for 2008, all that had been seen of the film so far was some production art, very short clips - including a lovely one of the Dog catching a ride on a box car - and a couple of rendered images. Advance word was, however, very good indeed even though the film was still only in development, not even officially greenlit.

And then, in the last few days, the news broke that Sanders was being removed from the project.

Jim Hill Media now has the skinny on why this really happened - and I found it really quite surprising.

Apparently, there are to be no more CG animated films from the Walt Dinsey stable after next spring's Meet The Robinsons. Pixar are to monopolise the CG medium, while the Disney label is to be once more attached only to cel-animated movies. I read at Jim Hill's that Glen Keane's Rapunzel Unbraided is likely to be retooled as a hand-drawn work rather than axed outright while, presumably, either Sanders or American Dog were not proving so flexible - but this does not explain why development on the film couldn't be shifted over to Pixar. There is always a small chance it will be revived there, I suppose - but at the moment, that doesn't look very likely.

If Lasseter and Catmull can convince Iger, this will be the way ahead from now on and so-called-2D animation will be back in full force at the Mouse House. Personally, this sounds like a very good thing in almost all ways with just a few details not sitting quite right with me. I'm going to miss American Dog, that's for sure; and I don't know if, truthfully, Rapunzel Unbraided should be cel-animated. Maybe it needs to be a CG film?

All we can do is trust in Lasseter...

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