Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 Myths About Pixar

Pixar has a new movie out soon (Brave), so it's time to start hearing some "myths" about the successful animation studio. Here are some brief responses to five myths about Pixar.

1. Sequels are ruining Pixar

Nonsense! Didn't you see Toy Story 3? Only bad sequels can hurt Pixar, not good ones. Sure, Cars 2 didn't do too well with critics, but Pixar isn't nearly as sequel-heavy as people think. Yes, Monsters University, a prequel, is due out in 2013, but we'll have to wait and see how it does. Also, it doesn't really matter if a film is a sequel, so long as it is well crafted. Ever heard of The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather: Part II?

2. Pixar has lost its creative edge

Really? Have you seen the Pixar short La Luna? It plays before Brave and, in a word, it's fantastic. There are also three upcoming projects that sound really creative: The Good Dinosaur; a Pete Docter-directed movie that will go "inside" the mind of a young girl; and a movie exploring the Mexican Day of the Dead, directed by Lee Unkrich (director of Toy Story 3). And that's only the stuff we know about. Since Pixar works as much as five or more years ahead of schedule, who knows what creative efforts they have planned after these projects?

3. Disney is a bad influence on Pixar

This is doubtful. John Lasseter, who's been with Pixar since the beginning, is now Chief Creative Officer at Disney Animation and Pixar. If he doesn't know what's best for Pixar, who does? Besides, Pixar is way up in Northern California. I think this geographical separation from where Disney is located is a plus to retaining Pixar's unique style and culture as a studio. It's possible that at some point Disney might make some bad calls in reference to Pixar, but so far I think this has largely been avoided. Since Disney bought Pixar in 2006, Pixar has released what are arguably some of their best movies.

4. Pixar's new movies are nowhere near as good as [insert popular Pixar movie title here]

Everyone has a few favorite Pixar movies--those that they keep on a pedestal. For me these include Up, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo. I think each of these films is near perfect in its own way. But is it fair to always compare Pixar's latest movies to their so-called classics? It's hard not to compare, but when it gets down to it, Pixar makes really good movies that can stand well on their own. Sure, some people just hate the Cars movies, or for some bizarre reason don't like WALL-E, but in general Pixar makes some great entertainment and they put the time into doing the best they can.

5. Pixar has sold out

This myth claims that Pixar has sold out and, as a result, is more interested in money and merchandising than in storytelling. I highly doubt this claim. We're dealing with artists here--storytellers who want to make a positive difference in the world, not junk dealers. Yes, there is merchandising, but in my assessment this doesn't even come close to defining Pixar's projects. Yes, they can sell billions of dollars worth of Cars toys, but if there is a demand for it, so what? About a billion dollars of Cars stuff is probably in my house alone. My kids love it. So there.

Is it possible that some or all of these myths might become a reality some day? It's possible, but it would take a lot of bad decisions over many years to make that happen. Let's hope it never does.


  1. This is quite possibly the best thing I've read today. So true in every way. This whole "Pixar has sold out nonsense" needs to stop.

    Again, fantastic article. :)

  2. I love robots and I love WALL-E!