Disney Slowly Ends CGI Era

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Asha (Ariana DeBose) kneels down next to her goat in 'Wish'

Credit: Disney

A lot has been said about Disney’s latest animated feature, and Wish certainly looks like a magical delight. However, could there be something else at work with the new direction at Disney Animation?

Asha (Ariana DeBose) stands looking shocked in 'Wish'
Credit: Disney

Wish (2023) has been described as an animated feature “100 years in the making,” and it certainly feels like a return to a classic, more conservative side of Walt Disney Pictures. However, its animation deviation might be a subtle hint of the studio and production company realizing the error of their ways.

Disney Animation Returns to Tradition with Wish

From the teaser trailer alone, viewers can see a distinct animation style that blends multiple mediums made famous by the Walt Disney Company. The CGI models are to be expected, but the use of sketchy cell shading and watercolors is more than a little unexpected.

Related: Disney Replaces Mickey Mouse With $500 Million Character

While this might easily be dismissed as simply an artistic choice to pay tribute to the Disney films of yesteryear, this very well might be the first step in reclaiming the company’s sterling reputation.

Disney Animation Studios Logo
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

To say Disney has been going through a rough patch in recent years would be a grand and glorious understatement. What better way to reclaim the glory of the golden days than by revisiting the fundamentals that made them great?

Related: Immersive Disney Animation is Nightmare Fuel

Nowadays, it seems Disney continuously struggles to stay relevant with its fanbase, as the studio continuously misses the mark with its core audience. While the parks and products are still a massive money maker, most continue to look to the past as Disney’s heyday.

While it’s ludicrous to expect Disney just to axe a multimillion-dollar animation department, primarily when so much of the brand’s products depend on its cartoon prowess. However, interest in a mix of mediums and animation styles has definitely risen to the top.

Miles Morales in Into the Spider-Verse
Credit: Sony Pictures

Look at recent releases like Across the Spider-Verse (2023), Nimona (2023), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023). They all blend styles, but there’s a distinct focus on hand-drawn animation from older cartoons and comic books.

Related: Walt Disney Ideologies Spark Vocal Debate

Disney itself isn’t immune from it, as a handful of their recent projects like The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse (2020-2023) and upcoming attractions like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure heavily rely on a more traditional approach.

Asha's hair blows in the wind in Wish
Credit: Disney

While there will be no definite answer until the film is released, going full force and including this blend of styles could be a sign of Disney healing from recent turmoil. It might not be long until fans see the jump to full-fledged hand-drawn artistry again.

Related: Disney Prepares ‘Wish’ Attractions Ahead of November Release

While some might consider this as too little too late for the studio, there’s no denying that seeing Disney celebrate what made them a household name won’t have a vocal response. With any luck, Wish won’t be the last time viewers see this level of commitment from the studio.

Do you think Wish will be Disney’s saving grace? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!



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