Remember the good old days of Pixar? Remember such favorites as The Incredibles and Ratatouille and WALL-E? Remember the first ten minutes of Up, easily the most beautifully established exposition of any feature film? Remember how Disney changed from an animation studio releasing crappy film after crappy film to becoming the most progressive in the industry, buying out Marvel and LucasFilm?
Granted, I despise the classic Disney animated movies because of their blatant racism and sexism, plus its promotion of appearance above everything else. Others consider them to be timeless, I consider them to be garbage that needs to be forgotten from history. Luckily, they’ve recovered mostly with films like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, which are miles above the crapola they used to make.
But for the longest time, for almost twenty years, Pixar was the crown jewel of the Disney family. While Disney Channel made crappy teen sitcom after teen sitcom, and while every Disney film that wasn’t Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t make a dent, Pixar reigned supreme. But even the kings fall.
With a one-two punch, Pixar first delivered a sequel to its worst film so far, Cars 2, a blatantly racist piece of crap that made the mistake of trying to turn animated cars that can’t move properly into action heroes. It’s bad on a Twilight level. The year after that, they made Brave, a conventional fairy tale about a girl who learns that her place is in the kitchen. Brave wasn’t an awful film, but it was subpar considering the incredible work done in the past. Apparently Monsters University‘s pretty good, and its baby steps to regain their animation crown that’s been sadly lost.
But I gotta count myself impressed by the work shown off at this year’s D23 presentation. For once, Pixar is actually working on original movies that sound like fantastic ideas. We’re going to ignore the upcoming sequel Finding Dory because it frankly sounds pretty terrible. It sounds like the next Cars 2, focusing on a fan favorite character who works far better in a minor role. If it were called Finding Bruce The Vegetarian Shark, I would reconsider.
But the first movie advertised was one coming out next year called Inside Out, which uses the emotions of a little girl as the main character. That sounds pretty groundbreaking even in conception. Emotions like Joy and Sadness and Anger are actually the characters. Plus they made the brilliant decision to cast Lewis Black, easily one of the best modern comedians (on a Louis C.K. level of hilarious), as Anger. For an example of what a fantastically underrated person he is, I show you the following from a decent comedy. Warning, the following clip is very NSFW:
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Accepted is a pretty decent comedy, but when Black is around it becomes hysterically funny. And they have this guy representing Anger? I’m sold.
The other movie that they talked about at the presentation is referred to as The Good Dinosaur. It takes the plot from the surprisingly good The Croods one step further: a world in which the infamous asteroid never killed the dinosaurs. From what was discussed, it’s they who discover agriculture and go through the Neolithic Revolution instead of humans. In a reversal, it’s the humans who are the functionally brain dead ones instead of the reptiles. I will regard this one with cautious optimism since Cars 2 weighs heavily on my mind.
So all in all, it’s very possible that Pixar may well regain its throne after the couple years it spent peddling out movies worthy of the direct-to-DVD label. We may enter a new golden age of animation after all.