Hidden in the Disney vault for years, sandwiched between unusable Little Mermaid clamshells and Songs of the South's racist undertones, the revealing Disney documentary The Sweatbox has finally turned up on YouTube.
Shot in 1997 by director and bride of Sting, Trudie Styler, the film captures a rarely seen look at Disney's troubled production on Kingdom of the Sun--the feature-length animated film that, through years of exhausting evolution by committee, would eventually become David Spade's best movie, The Emperor's New Groove. The Sweatbox is a sometimes funny, often painful look at the confused bureaucracy running Walt Disney Studios after the heyday of the early '90s. It is also a snapshot of Sting's struggles to write some songs for Disney's struggling production. A Stingshot, I call it.
As CartoonBrew notes, "If any questions remain about why Disney fizzled out creatively and surrendered its feature animation crown to Pixar and DreamWorks, this film will answer them." As the YouTube uploader also adds, the documentary shows "what happens when an animated Disney musical becomes too dull even for the people that accepted Chicken Little, and what it especially meant for Sting." Indeed, what did it especially mean for Sting? You ask me, that's a question we don't stop and ask ourselves enough.
And that's what it meant for Sting.