Happy Birthday, Ward Kimball (& Maybe “The Croods” Should Have Won)

by John Holbo on March 5, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday, Ward Kimball. (I almost forgot!)

Speaking of those we love for the energy of their animation, and continuing my Oscar animation contrarianism: Frozen was great and all, but part of me feels The Croods should have won. Or at least gotten a bit more respect for doing something new and great.

I really love the smash&grab football chase scene, for example.

Scroll down this page and appreciate Chris Sanders’ wonderful storyboarding. So much spring and motion! What a clever solution to a basic problem – how to make them look all tangled up?


Just add an extra arm!


Also, be it noted: Chris Sanders has a cheesecake cartoon style when it comes to the ladies. In the movie, Eep isn’t good girl pin-up art – kind of a cross between a zaftig Frazetta girl and Tweety Bird. That would, of course, be age inappropriate in a kids movie, so no points for not doing the obviously inappropriate. But they grew Eep out of Sanders’ sketch style in a better than just obvious way, making her so heavy and not Disney princess-y. This facilitates more exuberant action. All the Croods crash around like a bunch of bowling balls spun in a nylon sock and it’s great! Frozen has amazing snow and kind of crazy camera work (minus the real cameras, of course). But The Croods has a heaviness I loved. Just great physical comedy, requiring the full force of gravity, in all her hammer-on-anvil-like majesty. I think Ward Kimball would have approved.

I only just learned, by the by, that pressure from Disney may have nixed a Ward Kimball biography by Amid Amidi. Talk about taking clean character design too far!

In the name of protecting their brand’s integrity, the Disney company has also tried to claim ownership over Ward’s personal life. They have gone so far as to insist that I eliminate stories from Ward’s childhood because his experiences as an eleven-year-old weren’t “Disney” enough. Such attempts to edit the private and personal lives of their former employees are absurd and disturbing, to say the least.

I love Disney stuff. But it’s not for lack of the Disney Corporation trying to make me hate them for the things they do.



Chaz 03.06.14 at 2:19 am

Man I hated that movie. The entire plot was just the moral “Change is good,” and they repeated it a good two dozen times. Even for a kids movie it could have been deeper, like “Change is good because . . .”

Found Eep’s appearance very offputting. The super broad shoulders, super short legs, short wide face. I don’t think you can claim non-pinup cred when your character doesn’t even look human. And she does have large breasts and a narrow waist.

The scenery was cool though.


The Temporary Name 03.06.14 at 2:32 am

I liked The Croods, but it was a mess. It was sort of like The Simpsons switching the focus from kids to Homer but in one movie. The animals were kooky and amusing.


Main Street Muse 03.09.14 at 3:08 am

Frozen was much better, IMHO. Rarely do we get to see sisters as the heroes in a film, let alone a Disney film.

Plus Croods has Nick Cage, which diminishes the appeal.

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