Wednesday 2 October 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Second Dark Era (2000-2005) Introduction

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #37: Tarzan (1999)

After a very productive and expansive decade, the Disney studios got lost yet again in the dawn of the new century. No longer the only king of animation, the first half of the 2000s were not kind for the studio or their audience. With heavy competition from other studios like Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky, and with the rapid growth and adoption of CG animation, the studio fell behind both artistically and creatively, making serious missteps that resulted in lacklustre films that were not well received by the public and critics. Even worse, most of the films released in this period were box office bombs that resulted on staff reductions and the complete shift from hand-drawn to CG animation. What the studio executives didn't understand, was the fact that the technique didn't matter if they didn't have good stories to tell and, while there are some bright spots here and there, most of this period is filled with disappointing projects that vary from mediocre to absolute disasters. Never in the history of the studio (not even in the 80s) were they in such crisis, to the extent that almost every other studio was better than them. Fortunately, they now seem to be on the right path again, and let's hope that this dark era will never be repeated again.

Tomorrow - Animated Classic #38 Review: Fantasia 2000 (2000).


  1. While I agree that this era of Disney was not as successful as their past, I wouldn't necessarily write it off as the Dark Ages. I may be biased because I grew up with these films, but I enjoy a lot of these movies. Emperor's New Groove and Home on the Range are both ridiculous and crazy, but a lot of fun. Lilo and Stitch won over my heart and has earned the "Disney Classic" status in my book. And Brother Bear has always been one of my favorites for beautiful blend of traditional animation and modern technology, as well as a very heavy and intriguing story. The idea that man is the monster in the eyes of an animal is a fascinating concept. The scene in which Koda reveals this to Kenai as they look at the cave drawings still is vivid in my mind, and really gripped me, even as a child. That's not to say that Disney didn't have it's troubles, but the spectrum of quality seems to go beyond disastrous to mediocre from where I stand.

  2. I understand your point and indeed some the films from this era are quite good. But, most of them are lackluster efforts or disastrous pieces of garbage and, I'm sorry but Home on the Range belongs on the latter category. If it weren't for Chicken Little, it would be the worst film from the studio. Emperor's New Groove on the other hand is comedy gold. One of my favorites.