Wednesday 6 July 2011

Letters to Editors | Rest In Peace, Pixar

Dear Pixar,

Have I told you lately that I love you?

No, really: I do. You're smart, you're beautiful, you're funny. You have legs and head and heart - the very kind I can get behind. What more could anyone ask from a computer animation studio?

Was it love at first sight? Well, no, not exactly; after all these years I'll admit it. Sure, Toy Story was wonderful, but you have to understand, I was at school when it came out, and when our usual teachers were off, or we were nearing the end of term, it was Toy Story that the substitutes resorted to; Toy Story in mean little half-hour chunks, again and again and again. This one VHS would do the rounds - from class to class and back - so often I swear there were times I had to splice the tape together. So too much of a good thing... all that. To be honest I got a bit sick of your first film.

But hey. It wasn't you, baby - it was me.

Mind you, I can't be held responsible for A Bug's Life. What was that, eh Pixar?

Never mind. I didn't; not for long at least. Because after that one little misstep, you just kept getting better... and better... and better. From Toy Story 2 through Monsters, Inc and on, finally, to Finding Nemo, which I could not at the time conceive of any possible improvement on.

Yet - bless your fluffy little lamp - you kept on at it. You gave us The Incredibles, which was super. Then came Cars: not the best thing since sliced bread, but at least it was better than A Bug's Life. That it to say, I didn't despise it like everyone else seemed to.

Anyway, onwards... and upwards! So it was that our affair continued, with a string of original, touching, truly masterful films beginning with Ratatouille - foodie good times - and ending with Up, which featured a three-minute musical masterpiece that can still bring a tear to the eye of this grumpy old asshat here.

Between those two beauties, however, a movie that is and will I think forever be among my very, very favourite films: WALL-E. WALL-E was incredible. Perfectly judged, elegiac yet optimistic... just... just something else. I don't have the words, and here I'm meant to be all about the words.

But - though I hate to say it - something's happened to us since. Perhaps it was because you'd scaled such impossible heights, and the only place you could go was back. A third Toy Story was one thing, and it worked; against all the odds perhaps, but still, it worked: for a goodbye it was good, great even. Yet where did you head next? What did you do with all that affection? You took it back to Cars.

This Summer, with Cars 2, I fear you've forsaken much of what made you such a marvel in my eyes, Pixar. And alas, the road ahead looks equally uneven. First and foremost, what's all this about Monsters Academy? Can I just say no thanks now, save you the wait? And of late - twist the knife why don't you! - there's been talk of Toy Story 4 too, and a sequel to The Incredibles.

Pixar, my darling... my dear, sweet Pixar: what in the name of all that's rendered are you up to? Where do you think you're going in such a hurry?

Deep into the annals of the damned Mouse House, I dare say.

Please, enough with this nonsense. This new agenda of yours to push out two movies a year rather than the one beautifully polished gem that you've found such success with... it's a deeply misguided modus operandi. Certainly it is if all you mean to make of it are the very sequels you nearly broke up with Disney over, a couple of years ago.

I'll be plain: two shitty nothings do no make one great something. Give me Brave.

Brave could be brilliant - in fact, on the basis of that trailer and my faith in One Man Band director John Andrews, I full well expect it to be. But I beg of you, Pixar: never mind the rest of your slate. Stop right there and save us all the heartache. Take a year out after Brave, or however long it takes for y'all to come up with something new and shiny and exciting rather than paving the way for the selfsame road to ruin you nearly went AWOL over in the dark part-ownership days.

Pixar, you've been with me for a long time. Through the happy times and the sad. And I know as well as anyone that all good things must come to and end, but... just... please... not like this.

Pretty please?

Hopefully yours,
Niall Alexander.


  1. Sequels should only be done if there is a good reason for them. They took their time with the TOY STORY sequels and that worked really well, plus there was scope for further stories with those characters. MONSTERS INC 2 has the time benefit (it's been a decade since the first one, so they're hardly rushing it) but the story seemed pretty much wrapped-up in the first movie.

    THE INCREDIBLES, I think, could have some genuinely good sequels if they do them for the right reasons. It's certainly the only Pixar movie I've heard people actively asking for a sequel to, so that could work if handled right.

    Personally, I'd be much more worried if they announced either a WALL-E 2 or UP 2. Both of those films are complete works in themselves and I cannot see any reason why they'd need expanding.

  2. I grant you that the decade between Monsters movies might give the impression that no-one's rushing anything, and mayhap they aren't... I don't know.

    But just look at Pixar's slate of late: Toy Story 3, Cars 2, with Brave up next and then Monsters University. And going forward, we're very likely looking at The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and a live-action John Carter. Seven films, five of which are sequels. I might be over-egging the pudding some, but assuredly that is not the Pixar I fell for.

    Maybe they'll all be great. If anyone can do it, I suppose these guys can. Really it's only that I thought Pixar were... better than this. :(

  3. John Carter's next yeah, I believe. And it's made by a Pixar director, but isn't a Pixar movie as such.

    As for the rest, year, listed by that it looks a bit iffy. Especially TOY STORY 4. TS3 rounded off the story very well. Maybe having more TS shorts before some of the other films could work, but I don't see anywhere else for a big film to go.

  4. Maybe art imitates life, and the Toys sell out, or just - fuck it - rob a bank? :P

    I'm looking forward to John Carter for sure, and 1906 as well, if it ever happens. But everything else (other than Brave) makes me a sad Scotsman.

  5. I have to say the prospects of a fourth Toy Story make me mildly ill. But an Incredibles sequel sounds awesome to me.

    I feel like Cars could have been left alone as well though.

    Hopefully they take a lead from DreamWorks and come up with some more original stuff to spice up all those sequels.

  6. Truly a fantastic piece of writing there, Niall. I'll admit that I missed a few of the films discussed (never saw Cars, or - forgive me! - the toy story movies), but Monsters Inc. was once my favorite movie bar none, and Up and The Incredibles were both fantastic.

    I always found it interesting that, while adult cinema tore through endless sequels and remakes and generic nothings, children's animated features just kept on imagining new things. No more, I guess...

  7. As long as The Incredibles 2 retains Holly Hunter for Elastigirl, I'll be one happy little camper.

    Her accent is like a purr. Yummers :3

  8. The Fantasizer7 July 2011 at 10:59

    PLeaaase no more sequels, is originality so dead, that we must resort to sequel after sequel after sequel to go on?
    Cursed be thy sequels Pixar, may they never see the light of day.