First, if you haven’t seen it already, go watch the new trailer for Rapunzel.
For years I’ve worried that executives and marketing slobs were ruining Disney animation. Now I’m starting to worry that they already have.
Has the vast studio bureaucracy – ranks upon ranks of Vice Presidents and marketing mavens – really salted the fields of creativity so that nothing will ever grow there again? I talk a big game but typically am willing to cut Disney a ton of slack, yet in this trailer there are things that really make me want to retch. That some of the cornball nonsense in this trailer can be presented with a straight face in the year 2010 nearly makes me give up hope altogether. I have no connection to Disney besides my fandom, but I would be embarrassed for my friends to see this trailer in the theater.
In my practice of finding at least one or two good things to say, I’ll say this: I really like Rapunzel’s design. It’s Glen Keane-y but has converted well to CGI. Her animation in this trailer, and some of the model sheets I’ve seen, at least indicate that she’ll be appealing to watch. The hair looks good too; in fact, the look of the film doesn’t seem hampered at all by its computer-generated origins.
However, the tone of the piece, the insanely derivative male lead, the “wacky” animal sidekick, that horrendous horse design, and the awful comedy beats just… discourage me. There are about a dozen cliches in pose, animation, and design in this that I’d like to see banished from Disney forever. And “the smoulder”? Really? Marketing can make a lousy trailer, but the animators at Disney really need to purge themselves of some of these affectations they’ve developed over the years. Some of these stock expressions have become very obvious institutional tics.
I’ll just close my eyes and cross my fingers and hope that this is mostly to blame on Disney’s amazingly inept film marketing department. After all, this is a trailer for a film once called Rapunzel that gives no indication that it’s about… Rapunzel. That’s right, go back and check – her name is not mentioned once in the entire trailer. Then again, she has… what, two lines?
I’m sure it will be worth it, though. Not mentioning that she’s Rapunzel means that now it’s certain that teen-aged boys will go see this at least a dozen times apiece. Because that’s how the world works, in the minds of Disney executives.