A plea to Pixar: Lose the sequels, keep the legacy alive
I remember the first time I went to see Toy Story in 1995. It blew my mind that something like that could exist; the graphics were unlike anything I had seen before. But the thing that truly captured me was the story. I was 6 years old at the time it was released, and every kid who loved his toys hoped that they had adventures of their own. That’s what Pixar has been about for me — the original stories. Pixar is able to take something insignificant like a fish story and make it timeless.
However, Pixar recently announced that it is making a Finding Nemo 2, and it’s been heavily rumored that there may be a release of a Toy Story 4. Normally, sequels aren’t surprising in the movie industry because studios will make a quick buck any way they can. But I was quite surprised with the number of sequels that Pixar is doing. Of course, it has already done Toy Story 2 and 3, but I think those worked because they addressed three stages that kids go through with toys. I was able to connect with all three of those movies during a point in my life. Plus, viewers got to reconnect with characters they have been with since they were kids.
So why is it a bad thing to have sequels if Toy Story succeeded in this field?
The first example is none other than Cars 2, which was the next Pixar movie to receive a sequel. I wasn’t a big fan of the first one as I didn’t connect with the characters and felt it was aimed too closely at kids for someone older to appreciate. But it did have mostly positive feedback and made $400 million at the box office. When I saw the trailers for Cars 2, however, I wasn’t hopeful. Sure enough, when it was released it became the first Pixar film to be critically panned and did not receive an Academy Award nomination. However, it did make incredible numbers at the box office by earning over $500 million.
The main issue I have with sequels is that they cheapen the legacy of Pixar and make any new movies coming out feel not as special. I’m OK with a sequel when it advances a great story or gives us more character development, but when it’s done just for the sake of getting everyone back together to make some money, it really does show.
Sequels in general are hard to accomplish because few of them actually achieve all three goals of winning critical praise, money and awards.
Brave wasn’t as good as the other Pixar films, but I can respect a film that takes a chance to tell a story we have never seen before. Making a sequel is just so safe.
I guess we will know for sure if Cars 2 was a blemish when Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters, Inc., is released next year.