As you may know, I’m a big fan of animation and I’m a big fan of Disney animator Glen Keane. Keane’s impact on Disney’s so-called “second golden age”, starting with the films of the 90s such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast can’t be understated. It could be argued that there hasn’t been a single animator so essential to Disney’s success and animation style since Ub Iwerks invented Mickey Mouse.
But now there’s rumors that Glen Keane is very unhappy with Disney— very unhappy with their projected line-up of films and unhappy with the company in general, where he’s regarded as royalty. And sensing that disappointment, Dreamworks has apparently been wooing him heavily, trying to pull him over from Burbank to Glendale. There’s nothing set in stone or any other material at this point, but if Dreamworks can pull in Glen Keane, it would be the biggest coup in recent animation history. Disney’s got a long history of pushing out some of its most creative artists— Don Bluth and Tim Burton to name a couple, so for their sake, I hope they hold on to him. If they lose him, it could be decades before they put out a non-Pixar film that’s worth a damn.
On the other hand, I’d love to see Keane blast a hole in the way that Dreamworks does animated features. They’ve had some good ones, but I generally don’t like the angular character design they and Fox Animation have adopted. Bring Keane in there and bring some life into those characters.