Disney's next animated feature, Chicken Little, is said to be the next step for the company into the world of computer animation (if we count Pixar as a separate entity). This change has many people sighing, "Finally!" At the risk of sounding completely out of touch, I still don't understand why hand-drawn animation has to be discarded completely, or why the emergence of new technology suddenly means everything that came before it must be scrapped. The argument posed by Richard Corliss in a recent piece for Time is that Pixar's success so far proves that CG is where it's at, but nobody seems to mention the fact that Pixar was simply making better movies than its parent company, regardless of whether they were done on computers or not. Despite the blood sweat and tears that go into hand-drawn animation, Disney had simply gotten lazy in the last few years by relying on the same storytelling formula. The argument for turning our backs on hand-drawn animation is that CG is bigger, faster, and allows an animator to do things they couldn't do before, that it's simply a matter of evolving. I say that's fine, and no artistic person should shy away from trying new things or finding new ways of creating.
However, hand-drawn animation has a certain je nais se quoi that computer animation can never duplicate.To quote animator Glen Keane on the "perfection" of computer animation: "The key to beauty is strangeness, asymmetry." Pixar continues to make amazing, groundbreaking films, and Disney is going to follow suit no matter how much I yell about it. I don't see hand-drawn going the way of the dodo however, and I think the next generation (or perhaps the generation after that) will look back on those earlier, archaic animated works and find something of beauty that we were blind to while fawning all over the next big thing.