Yes, it’s been a while since I posted. But I’m back, and will be at it again, more often, I promise. Today’s topic: our friends at Pixar.
There was a day I used to love and admire the folks at Emeryville for their creative drive. Their innovation. Their dedication to telling new and innovative stories. But those days are long, long gone. Let’s go to the tape.
If you’ll look at the release schedule for the what was arguably the best CGI Animation Shop since Disney took over, you’ll notice a trend: sequels. Movies like Toy Story 3, Cars 2 and Monsters University fill the release schedule.
I suppose it makes sense. Sequels are easier.You don’t need to think as hard with a sequel – you already have a world and characters, so two-thirds of the creative work are done.
The thing is, this is a modern thing. Walt Disney originally didn’t believe in sequels. He believed there were so many stories to tell out there, sequels were unnecessary But his successors definitely didn’t hew to that philosophy. If you look a the Disney Video Catalog, you can find a virtual plethora of direct-to-video titles such as Beauty and The Beast II: Belle’s Magic Christmas, or Cinderella II and Cinderella III.
We even had the theatrical release of The Rescuers Down Under, which filled the space between The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast and gave us the sight of George C. Scott voice acting opposite a lizard.
But as much as I dislike most sequels, I still hope for one: a sequel to what I consider one of the best superhero films ever made. Brad Bird’s first film with Pixar, the film which seemingly lent itself most naturally to a sequel, the one with which explained why capes were such a bad idea. I speak, of course, about The Incredibles.
Disney believes that these characters are sch a strong property that they are making them one of the core worlds in their new online gaming system, Disney Infinity – and this is almost a decade after the original film came out. And Pixar had announced at the Disney shareholders meeting a to be announced film to be released in 2015.
Well, they held the press conference yesterday… and announced it was indeed a sequel…to an even earlier Pixar film:
Now, I enjoyed Finding Nemo. As a father, the story of loss and an epic journey to reclaim your family resonated with me.
I don’t comprehend this sequel, although I understand the appeal of doing it (the star, Ellen Degeneres is a hot property and thus brings a natural fan base).
But then again, that’s my issue. They calculate doing these sequels on factors other than telling good stories. Cars 2 and Monsters University appear to have been chosen based on selling toys. Brave was specifically approved based solely on having a female character (didn’t anyone else notice the story was directly lifted from Brother Bear)?
So. I guess it’s really happened. Disney really has sucked the soul out of Pixar. We’ll have to wait again for some young wizards to do something new and amazing to set the world of entertainment on its ear again and see how long it lasts before they get sucked in and corrupted by the wealth and power of the system.
It’s all marketing and money… story telling is becoming a lost art.
Coming back and looking at this post now three years later, I’m kind of amused. It’s a “yes, but…” sort of endeavor. The main brain trust for Pixar split up with the Disney purchase – Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, while keeping their Pixar cred, mainly work for the House of Mouse. And one of their projects was turning Disney animation into Pixar. Did they succeed? Well, different budget, different story priorities, but the look? Pretty much the same.
As for the Incredibles, we do get the sequel, finally – in 2019. But there is Yet another Cars sequel (which looks surprisingly dark) and another Toy Story sequel (which makes ones shake one’s head – when TS3 ended on literally a perfect note).