When I sat down with the directors of “Tangled,” Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, I had an agenda.
After all, Howard is also credited as a director on “Bolt,” so these guys have been there for the entire reorganization of Walt Disney Feature Animation under John Lasseter, and if anyone’s qualified to discuss how things have changed, they are.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about since I saw “Tangled.” I’m still not sure how I feel about Lasseter being in charge of WDFA. I know he’s an incredibly bright and talented guy, and obviously his track record at Pixar is amazing, but Pixar has a very particular identity, and I’m not sure that I want WDFA to simply become an extension of that brand, any more than I would want WDFA to try to remake Pixar in its image.
I also wanted to talk to them about the conception of one of the most visually ravishing scenes of the year, and about bringing the look of classic Walt Disney films into the CG age. It’s a big jump for the company, and again, I’m left with mixed emotions about the results. It really does look like a classic Disney film, but with all of the technical sophistication of modern cutting-edge computer animation.
This was the first of several interviews I conducted during my press day at Disneyland, and it’s the most technical of them. I found both of them to be engaging and excited about the movie they’ve made, and totally open for talking about the process as they see it right now at a studio that is desperately trying to figure out where they fit in the modern media landscape.
“Tangled” arrives in theaters everywhere Wednesday, November 24.