According to The Huffington Post, Pixar’s John Lasseter will direct the film, based on an idea by Lasetter, Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “Finding Dory”), Pete Docter (“Up”) and Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”). Also joining the team are Rashida Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack. The reason for Jones’ is her perspective as a woman; in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lasseter said he wants the movie to have a “strong female voice.”
Lasseter released a statement saying:
“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us. We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. ‘Toy Story 3’ ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another ‘Toy Story’ movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie–and I wanted to direct it myself.”
Um, you’re not pulling the wool over our eyes anymore, Lasseter. We know this film is for the money. Sure, you might genuinely love your characters, but we also know how much money the Toy Story franchise brings in; there’s no way you’d give up on such a lucrative thing, especially since Pixar seems to have forgotten its core value of never making a sequel unless it was really warranted. I get you have to pay the bills, but you’re also PIXAR. You have some of the most creative people working for you–there’s no need to rely on sequels like this!
Lasseter does address Pixar’s sequel-making with the Los Angeles Times. “A lot of people in the industry view us doing sequels as being for the business of it, but for us it’s pure passion,” he said. “We only make sequels when we have a story that’s as good as or better than the original.” He went on to say, “We don’t just, because of the success of a film, automatically say we’re going to do a sequel and then figure out what we’re going to do.”
I want to believe what Lasseter is saying, but I don’t, not when all the sequels being made–Cars 2 and the upcoming Cars 3, the upcoming Finding Dory, and Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3–are only for the properties that have been extremely lucrative in terms of dolls, toys, and other kids consumables. It makes financial sense to keep making films about these characters, even after their welcome is worn out. Meanwhile, an announcement about the sequel most fans wanted immediately–a sequel to The Incredibles–didn’t come until many years after the original film.
Today’s culture of movie-making is to have a bankable franchise; a brand name that everyone’s familiar with. Film studios are now afraid of testing their audience with something new and original. It would seem Pixar has adhered to that strange way of thinking.
The fall of Pixar into a film studio full of sequels reminds me of the story of the pigs in Animal Farm. They started with the best of intentions–to truly have freedom from the humans–but soon, the pigs started wheeling and dealing with the humans, and in the end, “[t]he creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from pan to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” Pixar started out as a new, idealist voice in animation, but now they’re barely distinguishable from other voices out there, and that’s a shame.
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Photo credit: Pixar/Disney