Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pixar and Sequels

Andrew Stanton, the director of Pixar's Finding Nemo and WALL-E, showed up at the Hero Complex Film Festival last weekend and talked about his experiences working with Steve Jobs while also offering a screening of WALL-E. He then brought up the idea of Pixar making more sequels. That's right, you heard it, more sequels.

“I’m sure you’ll see some other sequels of things as they grow because now we are not so blinded. It’s the originals that keep us really going and it’s the sequels that are like comfort food, and I think it’s the same way for the audience," he stated. He also spoke enthusiastically about Monsters University, stating it was the only sequel/prequel in the works and that the crew doesn't want to "taint" the original. He once again stated the Pixar tradition: They won't make the sequel unless they have a good idea, be it a fourth Toy Story or a second Finding Nemo.

Personally, I don't want to see any more sequels from Pixar. Sometimes it's best to leave the original films on their own, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 happened to be rare exceptions that formed an excellent trilogy. I just can't see them making another one, because the trilogy ended so perfectly with Toy Story 3. Also, if Pixar doesn't do sequels if the story isn't strong, then how come we got Cars 2? Your opinions may be vary, but I felt that Cars 2 was something that needed more work. It was a messy story that focused too much on one character while downplaying everyone else. It got negative reviews, and many Pixar fans were unsatisfied with it.

Which also brings up an interesting question, is Cars 3 going to happen? Now I did not entirely dislike Cars 2, but I've said numerous times that I don't ever want Pixar to go down those roads again. Cars 2 lacked a strong story and it had an incredibly disastrous final act. Now I wouldn't be surprised if Lasseter and the crew genuinely learned from that mistake (though Lasseter seemed to use the commercial success as an excuse to prove that people liked the film, regardless of the critical reception) and improve the story for a third film. Cars 2 would've been fine as a non-serious romp from another studio, it just felt out of place coming from Pixar. Hopefully it's just rumors, but it might happen given the dough this franchise brings in.

As for a sequel to The Incredibles, I'll support it if director Brad Bird has a great idea for the sequel, but I am in the minority. I never wanted a sequel back when it came out, and nor do I really want one now. It's great as a stand-alone film, it does not need a sequel. Then again, Toy Story didn't either, so you never know. If Bird comes up with an idea, then I will be excited. If Lee Unkrich, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and several others have an excellent idea for another Toy Story, I won't be upset, but for now, I don't want another Toy Story. They should stick with the Toy Story Toons or have Disney make something without Pixar's involvement that will still bring in the bucks for Pixar, much like the direct-to-video Cars spin-off Planes.

I'm not going to jump the gun and yell "Pixar is selling out!" We still have Brave, The Good Dinosaur, the untitled Inside the Mind project and Dia De Los Muertos, which director Lee Unkrich talked about today. I'm just not happy with the idea of a potential fourth Toy Story, which doesn't need another installment. I could probably tolerate a third Cars, given how disappointing the sequel was. I just hope that Pixar isn't doing this to support bigger projects because their original non-sequel films do so well and Cars 2 didn't outgross riskier projects like Ratatouille and Up.

I would actually be fine with just Cars being that franchise that supports bigger projects, because I can't see Dia De Los Muertos selling a line of toys, since Ratatouille and Up weren't quite market-friendly. I wouldn't mind if Cars was like an Ice Age-type franchise for Pixar, one that reels in the bucks from time to time. If Cars 2's $559 million worldwide total supported the upcoming original projects, then I don't see much harm in a third one. The damage is already done. Also, what if that third one is an improvement?

What do you think of Pixar doing more sequels? Do you think they have sold out? Or do you think there's potential in certain sequels? What would you like a sequel to Cars or The Incredibles to be about? Sound off!

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Kyle! Fantastic read!

    I agree about Cars 3 and Toy Story 4 to be fair. But I'd love an Incredibles 2, and A Bug's Life 2 too!

    But I agree they shouldn't supplant original ideas.