John Lasseter is Walt Disney incarnate. Disney is far from dead; if Walt were still alive, I doubt he'd disapprove of the quality of work that Pixar is producing in terms of storytelling as well as technical innovation.
If anyone today has a claim to the title of Walt Disney's heir, it's Japan's Hayao Miyazaki just in terms of pure creative wattage and versatility. But even he is a leagues behind Disney.
Lasseter is a quality storyteller and has his company moving in the right direction, but I'd be hardpressed to put him near the top of any list of animation greats.
For the record, everyone is 70 years behind Disney at this point. There have been a lot of innovations that I'm sure Walt would appreciate, but in terms of pure animation Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi remain unsurpassed.
However isn't Jeffery Katzenberg credited with the reviving of the art of the animated feature film with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc?
Katzenberg advocated dismantling
the animation division when he and Eisner first appeared and even personally took the scissors to "The Black Cauldron" to tone down the climax.
It was only the success of An American Tale, particularly after it reached home video. When they saw the cash cow, Katzenberg and Eisner gave the studio the resources they had been denying them and they went to work reviving Disney's flagging feature division. They released the bomb Oliver and Company in 1988 as a learning experience, and then the young animators figured things out with The Little Mermaid (and reached even greater heights with the little seen The Rescuers Down Under).
Ironically, Katzenberg's later partner Steven Spielberg deserves more credit for saving American animation than Katzenberg. If it were left to Katzenberg, there would never have been an animation reviaval in the United States.
When he left it seems the movies turned a corner and eventually jumped the shark.
Before he left, Katzenberg greenlit Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and saw Pocahontas through most of its production. That was the turning point for the studio.
Disney's problem wasn't that Katzenberg left. It was that they remade Ariel from The Little Mermaid half a dozen times and, with Pocahontas, it finally caught up with them. That was Katzenberg's fault more than anyones.
The quality of their films (and even box office) actually increased for a period of time after Katzenberg's influence wore off (Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000), so it's difficult to say that the studio collapsed without his hand.
i reckon if disney were to got back to cartoons, and work on an original story, they might well have a hit on their hands
It will happen, but I doubt it will be Disney. Disney has abdicated the throne.