It’s no secret that Pixar’s once perfect critical track record has been sullied in recent years, thanks in large part to the creatively bankrupt sequel Cars 2. However, although their most recent efforts Brave and Monsters University have been a bit more respectable, they are still a far cry from the masterpieces that critics and audiences have come to expect from the studio. It has prompted a lot of people to ask if the Golden Age of Pixar has finally come to an end and whether the studio will ever regain its lofty status again. To their credit, Pixar seems to at least be aware of their predicament and they are now taking steps to rectify it. First order of business: scaling back the sequels and putting more emphasis on telling original stories again. Here’s what Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull had to say about it:
“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.”
It’s certainly worth noting that just one of Pixar’s first ten features was a sequel or prequel, while three out of the last four have been based on a previously existing property. Fortunately, next year will see the release of Bob Petersen’s The Good Dinosaur, while Pete Docter’s Inside Out will arrive the year after. The success of these two films will play a large part in restoring confidence in the once untouchable animation studio.
However, the fact remains that sequels are still a part of their strategy moving forward. The Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory will also be released in 2015, the first time Pixar has released two films in one year. The good news is that this sequel will be directed by Andrew Stanton himself. What do you think, is the renewed focus on original stories a good idea? Are sequels inherently bad or is the creative well just running dry at Pixar?