The Good Dinosaur

GoodDinosaur4

One Pixar film a year almost always feels like a treat. Two films in one year (actually less than six months) feels unearned largesse, but that’s assuming the second film, in this case The Good Dinosaur, matches the first, Inside Out, in the depth and breadth of its storytelling, of its emotional resonance, and visual and verbal wit. Unfortunately, that assumption would be wrong were The Good Dinosaur, a long-delayed, shockingly short-on-imagination animated film stitched together through several, ill-fitting conceits, beginning with the asteroid credited with the extinction of dinosaurs as recently as 65 million years ago. In The Good Dinosaur, the asteroid comes closes, but misses, burning out as it hits the earth’s atmosphere, saving the dinosaurs and, in turn, relegating the descendants of small rodent-sized mammals to never-was, supporting status. It’s clever, certainly, but what The Good Dinosaur does with that conceit isn’t clever at all. It’s often plodding, dull, and uninventive, dolling out child-oriented life lessons minus the subtlety and nuance typical of Pixar’s significantly better, previous efforts. (more…)

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Pixar is a powerhouse studio, and not only among animation houses. Ten of their 14 film have Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings above 90%, and their first flop – not that a 74% RT score or being the sixth highest grossing film of the year makes you a flop –  was Cars. So even when they fail, they fail far better than most movies ever dream of succeeding. It was only when the studio made a sequel to their lowest rated film did their mass appeal drop dangerously low with Cars 2‘ 38% RT score. And sadly, since then films like Brave and Monster’s University haven’t recaptured that universal love.

Some say Pixar is suffering from sequelitis, spending too much time retreading old characters and stories with a succession of sequels: Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monster’s University, and the announced Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory. To be fair, only four of their 14 released films have been sequels, but most have happened recently, and those last two weren’t very well received. I find Toy Story 2 and 3 to be the rare exceptions where the films actually improved as the series progressed, with Toy Story 3 easily being one of the best films of the past five years. But, when you set the bar soooo high, eventually you’ll stumble, right?

Okay, enough of me waxing on about Pixar and how great they are, or were and how they’ve been slipping from their perch in recent years. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar – which must be, like, the best fucking job in the world – has heard the outcry for a return to original films and tone back on the number of sequels the studio produces.

Speaking with Buzzfeed, Catmull said,

For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.

We’re going to have an original film every year, then every other year have a sequel to something. That’s the rough idea.

This fits nicely with what know of Pixar’s slated upcoming releases: The Good Dinosaur (2014),  Inside Out (2015), and Finding Dory (2015). There’s also the recently released dates for a whole slew of unannounced Pixar projects for June 17, 2016; June 16, 2017; November 22, 2017; and June 15, 2018. You can see a pattern emerging. /Film‘s Germain Lussier seems confidant that 2017 sequel will be Toy Story 4, but I’d like to dream we may finally see an Incredibles 2.

Are you happy to hear Pixar hasn’t forgotten about focusing on the original films that brought the studio such acclaim? Which of their films do you believe deserve sequels?

Source: Buzzfeed via /Film