Glen Keane and Ollie Johnston

Mark Kennedy has a really cool story on his blog about a meeting between Glen Keane (one of my all time favorite animators) and Ollie Johnston (another one of my all time favorite animators) after the screening of The Little Mermaid.

It seems that Ollie didn’t like some of the expressions that Ariel made at times. Apparently the more modern animators were trying out something new at the time. They were using micro-expressions. Personally I’m not 100% convinced that these things are any kind of indicators of true feelings of the subconscious (hey, maybe they are just the face relaxing for a fraction of a second and we’re just giving it meaning that isn’t there…), but apparently the animators tried to incorporate these unattractive faces here and there to make her more ‘modern’. The result, according to Ollie, was that she looked ugly at times. Was the sacrifice of beauty worth it? Or could it have been a better film without these modern additions?

I need to look closely at this film… The Little Mermaid is one of those rare animation films that I actually don’t own. All that I recall of the film is that the one time that I watched it, it didn’t impress me and that shortly thereafter everyone named their new daughters Ariel.