Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disney Buys Director John Lasseter For $7.4 Billion

Yes, Disney just bought Pixar for $7.4 billion. But it would have been an empty gesture if they hadn't put director John Lasseter as the head of animation. (Lasseter is the director of "Toy Story 1 and 2," "A Bug's Life," the upcoming "Cars" and is the driving creative force behind Pixar -- in short, our generation's Walt Disney.) They were smart enough to do that, so this is in fact good news.

We know Lasseter will put the kibosh on planned cheapo direct-to-DVD sequels to "Toy Story," "Little Nemo" et al. But will he also put a stop to Disney's cheapo direct-to-DVD releases like "Bambi II" (out February 7)? Doubtful. Those aren't his babies and they're wildly profitable. But Lasseter will almost surely bump up their quality -- and he'll also probably revive some hand-drawn animation, stop-motion animation and other styles. He's too smart to be fooled into thinking Pixar succeeded because it was computerized animation. It succeeded because that was the right style for those stories.

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