Friday, November 7, 2014


While reading a review of Disney Animation’s BIG HERO 6, which opens today in the US, I came across references to soft robotics being created by Carnegie Mellon’s Soft Machines Lab whose robots with soft exoskeletons were apparently the inspiration for the Michelin-Man type character of Baymax in BIG HERO 6. Unlike FROZEN, BIG HERO 6 has no female leads, writers or co-directors. Directed by Dan Hall and Chris Williams, written by Dan Gearson, Robert Baird and Jordan Roberts, BIG HERO 6 is a boy film in Disney's alternating boy film/girl film series. Is it just too hard to mix two genders in one film?  

The animated short to be shown with BIG HERO 6 is FEAST, a Disney Animation production featuring a long-awaited variation of the hybrid Meander/hand-drawn software used in PAPERMAN. This version emphasises shapes and lighting reminiscent of a 1950s line-less cartoon style. While interesting and well-made, I'm not sure this is the direction to be going with this software. Isn't it the line that makes hand drawn animation so magical? This variation has a flat, creepy, uncanny-valley, falling-apart feeling to it, don't you think? 

Next up, no doubt, will be Pixar’s very stereotypically girly INSIDE OUT about an 11-year old girl’s emotions, directed by Pete Docter, written by Michael Arndt. If ever there was a project where a female writer and director could have been an inspired asset it’s this one but no girls involved except the female lead. 

Pixar, still a separate studio from Disney animation, succeeded in making a perfect mix of genders in THE INCREDIBLES, so why not continue that franchise? Wouldn't you like  to see the further adventures of Elastigirl, Mr Incredible, Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack?
UPDATE November 2015: Brad Bird is writing INCREDIBLES II which we'll have the pleasure of seeing in 2017-ish.
                                            INSIDEOUT, MEANDER