Disney Accused of Animation Theft

asha from Disney's Wish film
Credit: Disney

Disney’s animation style is distinctly recognizable even though it has evolved and introduced different techniques. Globally loved characters have come to life in vibrantly colored hand drawn animation, equally stunning computer animation, and even stop motion. But the art style used in the upcoming Disney Princess movie Wish has fans divided about what Disney animators were thinking.

disney's animation style art style animation technique disney animators wish film 2d animation 3d animation walt disney animation studios spider-verse puss in boots steal

Credit: Disney

The character and film design in Disney’s Wish incorporates its trademark fantasy, whimsy, and anthropomorphic storytelling, but its animation style is something fans are focussed on. Princess Asha’s magical story will involve BOTH 2D and 3D animation. 2D animation notably has yet to be used since 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, while 3D has been implemented for hits like Frozen (2013), Tangled (2010), Moana (2016), and more recent projects.

The most interesting aspect of Disney’s animation style in Wish is the seemingly “watercolor” visual elements, which resemble a moving painting. The watercolor hand-drawn art is combined with CGI technology like never before, and while many find the result innovative and beautiful, others are accusing Disney of theft.

disney's animation style art style animation technique disney animators wish film 2d animation 3d animation walt disney animation studios spider-verse puss in boots steal

Credit: Sony, Universal Pictures

Fans of the wildly popular Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) praised the innovative and creative art style of the various types of animation incorporated into the character-driven film. Critics are drawing parallels between the animation style of Disney’s Wish and certain scenes in Sony’s Spider-Verse sequel and even the design of Universal’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022). But are Disney animators in the wrong?

Here’s what social media thinks.

This looks pretty darn good but the artstyle is kinda strange, it’s like they wanted to pull a Spiderverse or Puss in Boots 2 but didn’t fully commit

For those saying #spiderverse and #pussinboots “INSPIRED” this style for #wish NOOOOOOO, disney has begun and experimented with this style a decade ago until now starting with Paperman, their most beyond the stars project

I don’t know who is the art director, but fire him. You clearly are trying to hop in the 2D-3D from Spider-verse and Puss in boots and I don’t know why you are failing since you used that animation for a short more than a decade ago.

Two of these posts mention Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning Paperman (2012) short, known for its unique blend of traditional hand-drawn animation and computer-generated graphics. Check out a trailer for it below and see what you think.

Does Disney deserve the theft accusations? Or did they actually think up this animation technique first?

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!