Legendary Filmmaker Don Bluth Says Studios Will Go Back To Making 2D Animated Films — GeekTyrant

For years CGI and 3D animated films have reigned supreme in Hollywood, and as a longtime fan of animation, I miss the traditional 2D animation format. I just love that filmmaking art form and it’s sad that studios no longer produce these kinds of movies. Well, according to legendary filmmaker and animator Don Bluth, the studios will go back to making 2D animated movies.

During a panel titled “History of Animation with Don Bluth” at Mega-Con in Orlando, hosted by ComicBook, Bluth shared his insights on the animation industry’s evolving landscape. The revered animator, known for classics such as The Secret of NIMH and The Land Before Time, predicts a return to 2D animated films as studios grapple with escalating production costs. He said:

“I watch the amounts of money spent on a 3D picture, and it’s up to something like $200 million or $300 million. And it’s more people, I grow old  watching the end credits. So it seems to me that hand-drawn animation, let me take, for example, The Secret of NIMH, we made that movie for $6.5 million. So how in the world, in your sane mind, can you say $300 million is justified?”

The discussion also moved into the creative challenges and storytelling aspects of animated films. Bluth recounted an anecdote about The Land Before Time and its screening for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in London. He shared:

“My theory is that every good story that’s a good story has a good villain, a good scare moment. However, when we made The Land Before Time, we took it to London to show Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. And Steven said, ‘You know what? It’s too scary, Don.’ He says ‘I’m going to have mothers holding their crying children in the lobby. We can’t have that.’ I said, ‘Okay, what are we going to take out?’ With the T-Rex they took out some of it that was so, so scary. We tried to make it scary, animators are nuts. We tried to make it scary and amazing that scary things that make people and move people a little bit.

“So they went in and took it out, never put it back in, and they destroyed it. And it was incredible. It’s too bad because if you’re going to go through all the business of drawing the film, first of all, drawing the sketches and finally animating it and finally bringing it to life, and finding when you see them in color, it takes your breath away, something you’ve been working on. It’s like you created something that was really, really beautiful. And so, they’re like your children.”

Bluth obviously still has a deep passion for the art of animation and a belief in the power of hand-drawn storytelling. As the animation industry continues to evolve, Bluth’s predictions raise interesting questions about the future balance between 2D and 3D animation. Will studios actually pivot back to traditional animation techniques to manage costs and foster creativity? Only time will tell, but the discussion Bluth has sparked is a reminder of the rich history and potential future of animated storytelling.

Would you like to see studios go back to making 2D animated movies?

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