Friend Like Me Work in Progress

As you might or might not known Aladdin was supposed to be a boy around the age of 11 or 12 but late during the production run the then head of the studio Jeffery Katzenberg told  to the directors Ron Clements & John Musker and their production team among many other things to beef up the age of the lead character in-favor of making the romance between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine believable. But by then many scenes with Aladdin where already pretty far along in the animation process and since the deadline was approaching quickly and Jeffery didn’t want it to move forward the day became known about Disney animators as Black Friday. I believe it’s on the DVD documentary at then end animator Eric Goldberg said the redesigning the lead character came a few months later but that day did kickstart a complete rehaul of the movie. There are plenty of sketches of the young Aladdin in it’s early forms roaming the internet since the late 90’s.

They are from the Making of Book I earlier wrote about.

That’s why the younger version of Aladdin still can been seen in some of the shots during “A Friend Like Me”. In this Work In Progress version it’s clearly how far exactly the animation for Aladdin was done. The voice track and music is pretty much the same as in the final film but the visuals are a mix of storyboards and clean-up ready to be colored shots. Robin Williams is hilarious as always with marvelous animation by Eric Goldberg.



A Whole New World Work in Progress

I’ve always been interested in how Disney’s Aladdin was made, from the page in the Donald Duck to the extensive making of documentary on the Platinum DVD and every interview with a cast member and sketch by one of the key animators to small things like early versions of the movie poster that surfaced o

Making of Aladdin Page from Donald Duck 1993

Making of Aladdin Page from Donald Duck 1993

ver the past 20 or so years. With the demise of extra’s on DVD and BL I saw the chances of any significant new material surfacing through official channels is getting smaller as time goes by. For me it all started with a Making of Aladdin Page from Donald Duck comic back in 1993. The next big article was from a December 1992  issue of Entertainment Weekly The ”Aladdin” gamble I picked up in 1993. The article was part of a series of stories surrounding the new Disney holiday box office hit. Another was Pretty In Ink discussing the rise of Disney heriones that kick ass so the say. A trend that still holds strong in today’s Disney features like Frozen.

For many years my most precious possession was the book by John Culhane describing how the production team struggled getting this great movie together in a limited time frame filled with interviews and production artwork. Any fan of Aladdin or Disney 2d animation should get hold of this book. .

Then there was nothing significant for many years until Disney finally released the DVD with the well known Diamond in the Rough Documentary hosted by Leonard Maltin. All the key people except for Robin Williams and Douglas Seale behind the film spoke on their experiences working on it and how it all finally fell together even when halfway through it’s production run they had to rewrite half the movie.

And now this Work in Progress version someone send me. Here about 2/3 of the movie is completed, while rest which starts after the “Prince Ali” number is mostly cleaned up cell animation still in black and white  another shots are still in rough animation there are  even just storyboards. Which surprised me since the film was probably just months away from release.

It’s a exciting peek in how Disney produced their hand animated features in the 1990’s. We as viewers see a film linear, from beginning to end and assume it’s animated that way as well. But it turns out it isn’t, for instance one long scene with multiple characters is in rough animation while another shot of a single character is final including color. Then the next shot is back in cleaned up form. I haven’t enjoyed watching the film so much in years!

Take the iconic balled A Whole New World for example here the song as it is in final film is set but the animation is still far from finished varying between storyboards, rough animation and clean animation with carpet (without it’s CG pattern) but with the final audio track.complet with Lea’s and Brad voices and the orchestra track. Just amazing!