Tomorrow’s Sunday Times profile of new Walt Disney Company animation chief creative officer John Lasseter was probably supposed to be a lengthy look at a new Oscar-winner. However, Lasseter’s rather disappointing “Cars” came up short at the Academy Awards the other night, losing to George Miller‘s slightly better “Happy Feet” (which I finally saw last night), a singing and dancing penguin story that tries to recapture the charm of “The March of the Penguins.” The Warner Bros. movie falls short with a vague, uncompelling story, despite a clever use of classic pop hits.
Over at Disney, Lasseter would seem to have his work cut out for him as he tries to recapture the success that former Disney CEO Michael Eisner saw when he had Jeffrey Katzenberg shepherding the animation division with such films as “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and The Beast,” and “The Lion King” back in the early 90s. New Disney CEO Bob Iger wisely acquired Pixar and installed Toy Story creator Lasseter atop the animation division. Can he build on the success of “b>Cars” and come up with a crop of films that are tighter (and with bit more heart and soul)? As detailed in the New York Times article, next up is this month’s “Meet the Robinsons” and 2007’s “Ratatouille,” as well as next year’s “Wall-E,” not to mention the upcoming “American Dog” and “Toy Story 3.” Hopes are high.
Photo copyright Disney Enterprises Inc.