Pixar and Sequels: A Mixed Bag

I admire Pixar and all they’ve done over the last 15 years or so. They really do deserve all the success they’ve earned. They practically revived the animation artform and movies in general with their unique (and oft-copied) form of film that’s universally acceptable for kids with enough adult humour thrown in there to keep adults entertained.

However, I find it somewhat deplorable that their resolve is gradually weakening in relation to sequels. Toy Story 2 was a bit of a one-off, where the Pixar guys became disheartened at the prospect of what was to be a straight-to-video cheapquel and decided to redo the entire thing properly.

Since then however, we have heard announcements of a “Monsters Inc. 2” and “Cars 2” and, God help us all, an Incredibles 2 (although my faith in Brad Bird remains strong until I see something concrete). I particularly hate sequels. Not only do they stifle creativity (in fairness though, Hollywood, for the most part hasn’t put out something really creative in a long, long time) and inevitably ruin the spirit of the original. The only exception I make is if the film is part of a trilogy and such a trilogy is outlined before the first movie is released.

Pixar has a proven track record of releasing hit after hit. Why do they feel the need to go back and revisit old stuff? They employ perhaps the most talented and creative team ever assembled and I find it very hard to believe they are running out of steam after 15 years.

The vast majority of sequels are made with an eye on the bottom line. Sequels already have market recognition, and, if the original did well, the sequel likely will too (Evan Almighty is an exception, but then that was also just a bad movie). That’s why studios love them, they remove the fear of the unknown. Yet it is that unknown quantity that make movies so successful in the first place!

I’m sure that when the above mentioned movies come out they will do fantastically well and all, but I just can’t help but feel that with each one, Pixar dies a little on the inside.