Monsters Inc. is definitely getting a prequel. Deadline reports that a Finding Nemo sequel is in the works. There are (fairly unsubstantiated) rumors about a Toy Story 4. There's even been the vaguest of chatter about an Incredibles follow-up. Theoretically, this news should amaze and delight the millennials who were raised on these Pixar classics, but our reaction is a big 'ol Do Not Want.
Pixar made its name on two things: The visual strength of its computer animation, and the emotional strength of its stories. Pixar movies have universal appeal, but, at the same time, are creatively unique. Unlike Disney, which is at its best when spinning new movies out of age-old tales, Pixar gives us stories we've never seen before, but resonate as if we've known them forever.
And guess what? Sequels don't cut it in the creativity department. We're not saying Pixar should never make a sequel. Toy Story 2 and 3 are both beautiful movies that take the characters to new places while expanding on the theme of what it is to grow up. Indeed, we'd be actively excited about some of the proposed sequels (though, ironically, the one that makes the most sense to us — The Incredibles 2 — is the least substantiated.)
But the idea that sequels could make up anything approaching the bulk of Pixar's output makes us squirm. Yes, there is financial security in following up on an established franchise with high tie-in potential (Cars 2, we're looking at you), but a Pixar that falls back on the same old, same old is not a Pixar we want to see.
This trend toward sequels is especially concerning in light of Brave being released to so-so reviews, many of which highlighted that the film, while good, just didn't live up to Pixar's standards. While we applaud the studio for finally featuring a female protagonist (what took so long?), we wonder why she had to be a princess. We've seen a million princess movies before; the entire concept behind the film lacked that Pixar spark.
And therein lies the real concern: It feels like Pixar may be losing its creativity. It's telling that 2011 was the first time since 2005 that no Pixar film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. Maybe there are legitimate creative reasons (beyond the financial) for all these sequels, but we have a hard time buying it. Finding Nemo is perfect as is. Perfect. And sure, maybe Pixar can manage to squeak out sequel that won't make us rage, but we'd rather see the team put their considerable talents towards bringing us something new.
After all, that's why we fell in love with Pixar in the first place.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.
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Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.