Ugh- I deleted this the first time I typed it, so lets try again.
I was thinking about this while watching Aladdin last night, and actually have thought about it often. I wondered if anyone would agree with me or had any thoughts of their own about it.
The Walt Disney Company's animation division had its' renaissance when Roy Jr. took the helm in the late 80's and gave us 'The Little Mermaid'. Once that film was released, we were treated to a sucession of visually dazzling, entertaining, and al in all, stunning films that did not dissapoint. We learned what to expect from them because we knew what they were capable.
Welcome to the late nineties, the dawn of the new millenium. We are very dissapointed people. The last film of any merit to come from the animation division was 'Tarzan' (oh, and maybe 'Lilo and Stitch') and we no longer expect excellence from a Disney animated film.
Why is this? When did the shift occur?
I believe the mediocrity of recent animated offerings comes from the death of the animated soundtrack. This applies only to 2-d since Pixar has proven that an excellent story will drive a film no matter what. But all the great 2-d films of recent memory had great, plot driven songs and soundtracks. Many of these soundtracks were so fine that they transfer very neatly into broadway musicals. These worldclass scores are what I think set apart disney films from all others.
So IMHO, bring back the soundtrack and the 2-d feature might stand a chance.