Disney Animators: Lords of Laziness

I’m not sure what happened during the production of Disney’s Robin Hood, but all the animators must have been really hungover the day they were supposed to draw the Sherwood Forest dance sequence.

Rather than design a new one, they decided to peel off slides from Snow White and The Jungle Book, and scribble over them so they fit in with Robin Hood. As you can see from this collection of side by sides, this is not some conspiracy theory, it clearly actually happened.

A much longer sequence of scenes is listed below, and if you have any other examples of Disney doing this, I’d love to see them.

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  1. In all fairness, most film and cartoon creators do this prolifically. Watch any modern cartoon, whether it be film or TV, and there are backdrops and characters and objects duplicated all over the place, especially now that most cartoons (no matter what style) are done in Maya or similar.

    You also see it in film, especially blockbusters. Michael Bay is well known for doing it (a ships at sea scene from Pearl Harbor is used in Transformers, the Island’s highway chase scene used in Dark of the Moon). It’s an effective way to save money, especially when you have quality stock footage in your repetoire.

    In Disney’s case, they had a choreography that was well received and instead of coming up with something else, they reused it (those cartoons are hand drawn, so it was more than just taking a characters skeletal structure on the computer and reskinning them like you would do nowadays)

  2. I don’t get it…aside from a few framed with Baloo and Little John, all i see is a copying of general framing and motions. It’s not like they re-used old cels for the different movies, they just re-used movements and scene setups.

  3. I feel this is just wise use of a budget. I agree with it to the degree that someone who really enjoys your films does not notice the copy/pasta after seeing both shows a few times. If it is obvious on the first watch, then whatever their doing is too much (in less that is actually a style that the studio is going for)

  4. Also, all of these films were hand drawn, so it would be a lot quicker and cheaper to do this, and it doesn’t really effect the context of the scene at all, anyways. So chill.

  5. Something that springs to mind is Scooby Doo and them constantly reusing the same scenes within the same episode. For instance, whenever Shaggy and Scooby are scared and do that windmill-not-going-anywhere run-in-place run thing, it’s THE EXACT SAME CLIP. Or when they show a bad guy swooping in, using the exact same footage ten different times every time he swoops in.

  6. Here’s a video with all of that and more:

    It’s a simple budget trick, and it’s expected with low-rent tv cartoons or self-financed animated films. However, given the amount of money these films pull in for Disney, laziness is certainly the proper word for it. Disney is goddamn lame. Great classic films, but so many of them consistently promote iffy social values (and perpetual racism) and are ripped off of source material that is not so much child-appropriate that one wonders why they bother sugarcoating the stories to such a ridiculous and insulting extent.

  7. Look at you delusional Disney people. It’s a greedy evil corporation, they don’t do it to be efficient or because they choreography was well received, they do it purely out of greed and laziness.

  8. There was a youtube video that showed these examples, but of course got taken down. As a kid I noticed the animation was the same in The Jungle Book and The Sword and the Stone when the boys are playing with dogs.

  9. I don’t know if it’s lazy. It’s not quite copy/pasting, like dropping in stock footage, or even the short cutting of procedural animation, and repeating backgrounds. Someone still had to hand draw and paint each of those frames, and at 24 frames a second that’s a lot of work. if I recall correctly the dancing in Snow White was based on film footage of people dancing, maybe even rotoscoped, to make it more lifelike. If it worked once, and can save time and money, why not do it again? Especially considering, that this was all before people were able re-watch it on home video or the internet.

  10. They aren’t reusing animation, all Disney films are rotoscoped, they’re filmed in live action, and the animated characters are drawn over the real people. (they’ve been doing it since before Snow White.) It’s a fast and easy way to keep uniformity in characters proportions and movement. Not that they actually reshoot entire feature films, most of the reference shots are reused hundreds of times, but mostly you don’t notice it, unless they’re dancing. The animators themselves copy the characters directly from character sheets. The character sheets themselves are virtually copied from film to film to maintain stylistic uniformity across the brand. (Disney bears are based off a template bear drawn by Walt Disney.) Even if the cells are directly repainted, it seems odd to try making a fuss over it; Hannah Barbera only made about seventeen minutes of animation for the Flintstones, and except for some of the earliest Max Flischer cartoons, (when they didn’t know better) it’s almost inconceivable that frames aren’t being recycled as standard business. The only reason we’d even bat an eye about this, is because Disney so rarely cuts corners when animating its feature films. Now you’re making me defend Disney, and that makes me feel dirty.

  11. I always thought it was a deliberate tribute.

    Robin Hood felt like a tribute to the Disney canon. Character uses were obviously referencing Jungle Book and Bedknobs and Broomstick.

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