Thursday, February 9, 2012

Upcoming Animated Films - My Thoughts (Part 9)

The following animated features don’t have a release date yet. I’ll be going by studio instead of the films themselves. Some of the films listed here could also be mere rumors. (i.e. The Incredibles 2) First up, the hopping lamp:

Untitled Dinosaur Project
This project was originally scheduled for release on November 27, 2013. If that had went through, it would be the first time two Pixar films were released in one year. Disney’s 53rd animated feature, Frozen, has taken that date instead. This film remains unscheduled, so I’m assuming that we’re going to get the film in either the fall of 2014 or the summer of 2015. One thing I’ve noticed about Pixar is that when two of their films are scheduled to come out the same year, it never happens. Back in 2008, Brave (back then titled The Bear and the Bow) and Newt were supposed to be released in 2011. Brave was moved to summer 2012 and Newt was cancelled. Then Monsters University (back then, it was just called Monsters, Inc. 2, no one announced that it was going to be a prequel) was scheduled for November 2, 2012, right after Brave. It got moved, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph took its place. Now this film and Monsters University. It just looks like two Pixar films coming out the same year just won’t happen.
Okay, so enough rambling about release dates, what’s this project all about it? Well, it takes place in an alternate timeline where the meteor never hit Earth and dinosaurs evolved from there, and are living among the human race. Prior to being announced, concept art of a boy and a brontosaurus was seen in a photo of Pixar sculptor Greg Dykstra, so this proves that dinosaurs and humans are co-existing in this world. Bob Peterson is directing the film. He was the co-director of Monsters, Inc., so this is the first time he’s actually at the helm of a project at Pixar. I always like it when new directors are announced, because it’s nice to see them take a shot at directing a feature film rather John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird and Pete Docter on indefinite loop. Don’t get me wrong, these men are the very definition of brilliance, but it’s nice to see someone else give it a shot. There is mountains of potential in this project, that’s all I’m going to say. It sounds incredibly creative, and the stars are dinosaurs. What more could you ask for? No, this probably won’t be a debacle of prehistoric proportions like Disney’s Dinosaur, this’ll be probably be the best animated film about dinosaurs yet.

Just because Gary Rydstrom’s love story about two blue-footed newts was canceled doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Remember, Pixar first conceived WALL-E in 1994 as Trash Planet. That didn’t go anywhere, until 2003, when it was revamped. Production began in 2006 and there you go, WALL-E hits the big screen in the summer of 2008. A similar situation was Cars. In 1996, Pixar conceived The Yellow Car, an Ugly Duckling story of an electric car living in a world of gas guzzlers who reject him. It didn’t work out, and it was scrapped. After John Lasseter went on a vacation to reconnect with his family in 2000, Cars was born and six years later, it hit the big screen. Give the folks at Pixar some time, Newt will definitely come back. A lot of concept art was created a couple years back. They wouldn’t waste all of that work, one day, they’re going to bring Rydstrom’s idea back. Maybe it’ll be their 2016 release after the dinosaur project. Who knows? Pixar had something really ambitious on their hands, but Pixar knows when something isn’t working.
Now the easy answer would be, “Newt was scrapped because Cars 2 was safer and could sell more toys!” If so, then why did they announce two new original projects, one with a very risky concept? Cars 2 was a mere gap filler, it was scheduled for release in 2012 and then something happened and it moved up to summer 2011. If it was released in the summer of 2012, chances are it could’ve been better. There’s no clear answer on why the film was green-lit, but apparently it’s just something to keep Disney happy while Pixar can go on and keep making risky, ambitious films. Remember, Ratatouille and Up weren’t merchandising monsters. Brave doesn’t really seem like a merchandising monster either, although Princess Merida is supposed to be included in the Disney Princesses line. Cars just happens to be a behemoth in merchandising, and Disney is keeping that gravy train going with the direct-to-video sequel, Planes. (This is a good thing, because Pixar won't have to make sequels and spin-offs that will stain their "quality" track record)
I think it was scrapped for two obvious reasons. First of all, the story wasn’t working. There is a time when Pixar films’ stories aren’t working. This is nothing new. What's strange is that they outright cancelled it, rather than just delaying it. If it is cancelled for good, then that will be the first time that this has ever happened to a Pixar film. Most Pixar films that are scrapped come back and are reworked. The same just might happen to NewtSecond of all, we all know this, Newt’s plot was similar to Blue Sky’s Rio, and John Lasseter heavily implied that recently. It’s an idea that's already been done to death, so maybe the writers felt that it wasn’t fresh. I’m sure the story crew at Pixar can come up with something and make it much more than just a love story about two [insert animal species here] that are the last of their species. Rio, while it was a fun flick, didn’t really have much of a fresh take on that story. Still, the film did well and was a smash hit on home video. (Blu-ray sales were beyond impressive) Who knows, by 2016 or so, if people will bring it up if a trailer for Newt shows up? Who knows.

The Incredibles sequel
Several fans have begged for an Incredibles sequel, but Brad Bird keeps saying that it will only happen if he has a good story. Power to him, Bird can do a sequel whenever he wants. Or not. Anyways, what would the sequel be about anyway? The Underminer tears up Municiberg in the film’s closing seconds, but that was turned into a video game in 2005, The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer. Who knows what they will do with a sequel, if they even want to do a sequel. If it does happen, I’d say 2017 is when we’re getting it. Bird is probably going back to his 1906 after finishing Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which went on to become the series’ highest grossing and best received installment. That film should hit theaters in 2014 or 2015, if he gets to make it. Again, The Incredibles sequel will only come if Bird wants to make one.

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