Is it really impossible for someone who loves the nostalgia and potential of Disney (like me and I imagine most people here) to admit that the much-hyped latest film is seriously flawed and feels hacked? All race/history issues aside (and there are plenty), I can't understand how so many MiceChatters who've talked about this film - people who love and understand what Disney can do - are satisfied with this crappy movie. Now that it's been released in Japan, I'd enjoy talking about it with the other TDR Chatters, and I'll reply to Imagineer Scott's message here, which felt like it was headed off-topic in the other thread.
*Wow, I was afraid and defensive, huh? It means a lot not to feel like the only person on Earth who a) loves Disney and b) was very disappointed by this film.
I have yet to meet anyone outside hardcore Disney devotees who thinks P&tF is even in the same league with Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast and the other princess tales as far as compelling character, structure and storytelling go. Most people I know haven't even bothered to see it. There's a reason - many, actually - that "it didn't quite reach its goal" or expectations for profits. The animation is charming, but the film is just not well-constructed enough to create the "wow" of Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. It does not feel like a Classic and a LOT of people voted with their wallet, even though it got my money. It was worth it for Dr Facilier, though; he is truly a classic Disney villain.
Here's an interesting article with some comments from the directors of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon (which looks...potentially promising though I don't really like the trailer on the website). Here's the gist:
Their repeated mention of "story issues" is worth noting, and these guys know what they're talking about. From Wikipedia (because I'm too lazy to find a "real" source):Originally Posted by OrlandoSentinel
Lilo & Stitch received very positive reviews from critics and movie-goers alike, and to date has been the only Walt Disney Feature Animation/Walt Disney Animation Studios production released during the 2000s to meet with critical approval and make its cost back during its original theatrical run.
It ends on an apologetic note, which kind of runs throughout, but remember that these guys made a solid hit movie with Disney, too, and surely must watch what they say. The fact that they say this much speaks volumes to me. I think it's press politeness rather than a genuine head-scratcher that they feign "conjecture" as to why this film doesn't play, even to supporters, as a "Disney Classic." The general public's response, when you take away brand loyalty, has been pretty clear. And pretty global, too, so it's not just or even primarily about those uniquely American race issues, either.
I said once when I was feeling particularly full of conspiracy theory, that P&tF feels like it was made intentionally to publicly kill the Princess marketing (an "emergency exit," if you will...see link at bottom of post) and to "prove" that 1) black characters can't be stars in Disney animation without race issues polarizing the audience and 2) 2D animation is dead so that the studio can choose not to pursue it anymore without outcry from fans. I'm not feeling so paranoid today. Today, I think it's possibly just that bad a movie, a collection of ill- and half-made choices with just enough shimmering potential to be heartachingly disappointing.
On a related note, this link is also interesting, about the retitling of Rapunzel, etc.