Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cars 2??

Hunh. I didn't know there was a sequel to Doc Hollywood.

This kinda flew under my radar. Am I the only one who missed this? Is this a for real movie or am I being punk'd? I thought Cars was arguably Pixar's weakest film to date. So if ever there was fertile ground for a sequel...

I'm certain it will make a tidy profit, though.
Just like Jungle Book 2.
Just like Shrek 3.


Connor de Jong said...

I'd have to agree with you their Keith. I love all of Pixar's films, except for Cars, which I saw as mediocre. I don't understand why Pixar would bother doing a sequel, it isn't like them to do so, and what with Toy Story 3 coming out as well, it is a bit too much. I much prefer watching an original plot with original characters.

I dunno though, it's Pixar so they must have a good idea or they wouldn't have run with the movie.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that Pixar isn't making as much moolah as they used to, or one of the bigwigs is changing their direction, with Cars 2, Toy Story 3, and a stereoscopic Toy Story re-release.

I feel almost as if I am witnessing the death of a giant.

Randy said...

Yeah, Keith, it's for real. Apparently Cars merchandise is a multi-billion dollar cash cow for Disney, so out comes the sequel. :) Least that's what I heard.

For the record, I enjoyed Cars, but it's definitely not one of their most re-watchable efforts.


Kevin Williams said...

Cars nailed (or accidentally found) its target audience. While it's not one of my favorites, , it's pretty, and it appeals to a whole group of people who buy Larry the Cable Guy as a legitimate comedian.

I'm becoming a fan of learning peoples reactions who are outside the industry. Sure, they are less picky, but they are ensuring my employment.

Keith Lango said...

"I dunno though, it's Pixar so they must have a good idea or they wouldn't have run with the movie."

That's the thing- how long do we give them a free pass just because they're Pixar? The Incredibles was 4 films ago. Everything since has been.. meh. There's no way a shop like Dreamworks of Blue Sky gets this kind of a freebie.

Keith Lango said...

hey Randy,
yeah, I'm not saying making the film has no merit. I was more pointing at the less than subtle hypocrisy of the Emeryville fanboy crowd. I've worked on some real stinker projects. But hey, that's why they call it work. Everybody has a right to get their millions and make a movie. I just grow weary of the 'Pixar can do no wrong' mantra.

Keith Lango said...

der... I meant that previous comment to be for Kevin, not Randy. But Randy I still like you and your comments! ;)

Jeff Simon Animator said...

I agree 100%

CM said...

I wish to see Incredibles 2. It looked like it will have a sequel at the end.

Adam Kaszycki said...

well I'm not a huge "Cars" fan, but I disagree everything after "Incredibles" is "meh"...I think "Ratatouille" is equally as great if not better!

Having said that, I don't think Pixar should continue to get a free pass. "Cars 2" seems like nothing more than an excuse to make more dough off the merchandise per the Disney biz model. I think it's too hard for Pixar to change that culture and they do need to make money to keep making films, but we should hold them accountable for those choices. They chose to be bought.

Dshum said...

Its all about the audience right?
I guess kids like to see Cars 2, as much as I want to see Incredibles 2, haha.

And CM,
The end of incredibles, with the underminer.... I believe that story was made into a game. Or the sequal to The Incredibles game.

Anonymous said...

1 billion at the box office
4 billion in merchandise

From a business standpoint, it would be stupid *not* to make a sequel. From an artistic standpoint, it's hard to justify a follow-up to such a lackluster film. But if doing sequels like this gives them the financial freedom to experiment a bit (e.g., more stuff in the spirit of Up or the first part of WALL-E), then in my eyes that's a fair trade-off.

I just hope they're willing to use some of that income and take chances on more experimental stuff.

Connor de Jong said...

"That's the thing- how long do we give them a free pass just because they're Pixar? The Incredibles was 4 films ago. Everything since has been.. meh. There's no way a shop like Dreamworks of Blue Sky gets this kind of a freebie."

I'm not referring to a free pass... I don't give those out except for rare occasions. I personally found Ratatouille and Wall-e to be great films and both were very entertaining. I agree that making Cars 2 is a blunder on their part, and especially to make Toy Story 3, and it definitely has pained me to see that happen. However my comment was referring to the quality of the film. I read a quote from one of the head honchos at Pixar (can't remember who it was, maybe John Lasseter) saying that they don't make sequels unless they get a really good idea, not just for the sake of making a sequel.

We can't really tell until the movies come out, but until then, I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that they will not disappoint. And just one more thing I want to make clear... I don't give out free passes, no one should.

Connor de Jong said...

One last point I want to add to my last point.

This very well could be a business move, which would definitely bring Pixar down a notch in my eyes. If that is the case I will be sorely disappointed, I don't want to see Pixar become the 'stagnant Disney' from after the Golden Years and before the revival.

Marcos Gp said...

I like Cars better than Wall-e

Wonkey the Monkey said...

Ed Catmull (President of Pixar, now a bigwig in Disney Feature Animation) gave a great talk at this year's SIGGRAPH conference in L.A. One of the things he talked about was Toy Story 2 and the lessons they learned from it.

When pre-production began on Toy Story 2, it was intended as a direct-to-video sequel at Disney's request. Pixar continued in that direction for a while, assigning their "B" team to the film while leaving their "A" players to develop the next theatrical release (I believe it was A Bug's Life at the time).

What they decided in the process was (in my own interpretation) that a studio will rise to its expectations, and that direct-to-video quality wasn't a high enough expectation for Pixar. So they lobbied Disney to make it a full-on theatrical film with their studio's full talent on board. Disney agreed, and the result was a really good Pixar film, sequel or no.

I suspect that Pixar was under a lot of pressure to make this sequel from their Disney overlords, but the Pixar people still have enough clout to insist that the film be made according to their highest standards. There are no "step-child" films at Pixar.

I may be an Emeryville fanboy, but I don't give Pixar a free pass. The fact is, though Cars wasn't the strongest Pixar film, it was better than Ice Age (1 or 2), it was better than Robots, it was better than Shreks 1 - 3. It was better than Igor or Madagascar or Open Season or Monster House or Over the Hedge. None of these movies I've listed were terrible, but even the weakest Pixar offering so far has been a better film than most of the big money-makers at the other studios. No "free pass" needed. To suggest that Pixar gets special attention "because they're Pixar" is sour grapes, and untrue to boot. Look at the fan response to Kung Fu Panda, a movie from another studio that finally got most of the pieces right! We all (well, most of us) love it! Same goes for Horton Hears a Who. Special status doesn't belong to Pixar alone, it belongs to really good animated movies.

Anonymous said...

It's really funny to see this comment.. I just watched the Pixar Story last night! While I have always thought that Pixar characters were simple as were the stories, they have always sought innovation in other areas.

If you're not aware, Disney was going to make the sequels WITHOUT Pixar! Pixar stepped up and from my understanding was rather upset with this decision... especially given their history. One thing I've learned about Disney (as it's own entity) is that it has grown so very far away from Walt's vision. Everything I see now from Disney is a business decision. Whether it's the sugar-Disney branded crap they entice kids with, or the overuse of IP that should be respected... not played out like a top 50's pop hit.

One thing most artist types come to realize, is that a true masterwork posseses all of the normal earmarks of a "good" work, but also, is laden with subtle touches. Suffice to say, I feel that Disney has become quite heavy-handed.

Remi The Rockstar said...

I really liked toy story two as well... who says that toy story three can't be good either without watching it first!?

Anonymous said...

Cars 2 has been in the works for a while now. What do you mean weakest movie???

It had clear, interesting characters, strong plot and tons of appeal.

If anything Rataoutille was their weakest film yet. The plot changed 3 times and it ended up somewhere totally different than where it started.

And remember, Pixar released Toy Story 2 which was as good, if not better, than the original.

Keith Lango said...

I love how the comments prove my point. :)

This isn't a commentary on the quality of Pixar's films. That's a red herring and not the point. And I'm sorry, but 'sour grapes' is barking up the wrong tree. You couldn't find a man happier with his station in life than I am right here, right now. Working at Pixar/Disney would be a HUGE step down in my quality of life as well as my enjoyment as an animator. No, I'm just trying to point out that Lasseter & Co. are behaving just like any other group of animation executives behave. They are not special or different. Which is fine. I have no expectations that a duck would act like a horse- but I find it infinitely amusing that others do.

I write these things with nothing more than a mischievous smile. What can I say- I like to tip holy cows for giggles. :)

Mike Lawler said...

Saaaay... what was the point then?

Mike Lawler said...

If that wasn't your point then what was... your follow on remark goes back more or less to that point.. After all.. the question/concern about sequels IS a quality issue is it not?

Keith Lango said...

The primary point here is that a large swath of the 'animation world' in general bestows some special amnesty toward Pixar and their leadership even when facts dictate that they're not behaving any differently than anybody else. You could fill a library with the endless howls of indignation when Eisner & Co. 'ruined' Disney with commercially motivated sequels just to cash in on merchandising. We all know how much folks ripped on Dreamworks for being nothing but a sequel factory. Then there's the old complaint against Eisner Disney that key creatives were discouraged and left the company, yet the same has happened with Pixar/Disney under the Pixar braintrust. And the oft heard complaint that the Eisner Disney had huge, heartless layoffs of talent- but Lasseter & Co. has also regularly laid off crew, the first layoff coming right after they took control, and most recently in giving a large part of the Bolt crew their walking papers. Just because a Pixar guy does the laying off makes it warm and fuzzy? Note: I am NOT saying that they are being cruel. Business is business. The wise understand this.

I'm just saying- just because they made some nice movies along the way doesn't mean that Lasseter & Co. are immune from thinking and behaving like your run of the mill animation executives. They're just the beneficiaries of very good PR. The Kool Aid has been stirred and served for years and I'm amused that it still works. Pixar is no more or less pure than anybody else. That the topic has a tangental application to the quality of their films is not accidental on my part, but it isn't the point of the original post.

Randy said...

Couldn't agree more, Keith. Pixar's PR has gotten them a long way. That was one of the "shocking tales from the inside," once I started working in the industry. "You mean some people who have worked at Pixar don't like it there? I thought it was an ever-luvvin playdate of a place to work!"

Then you realize that it's called work for a reason and there are still days you really don't wanna go into the office, and days where you don't like what's going on, blah blah blah, just like any other job. But the difference for me is that those days aren't *every* day.

God is good. ...even though he isn't stopping the release of Cars 2. :)

notanymike said...

Why couldn't Cars go out as a TV series, where it could be more succesful; I still recall all the animated vehicles on PBS where for Theodore the Tugboat there was only the human host and even he was seprate from Theodore's world, and I still liked it a little (nothing will ace Ringo Star's Shiningtime Station for this heart though)! Or does Disney or Pixar feel that would be 'undignifying' for a studio of their clibar, or would Cars really overstay it's welcome at that juncture?

Wonkey the Monkey said...

Just to clear up something that's gnawing at me, I didn't really mean that Keith personally was envious of Pixar with my "sour grapes" comment, and I apologize that I sounded that way.

What I meant was that many of the anti-Pixar commentary I hear seems to be jealous on behalf of some studio or another. As in "people are more critical of Dreamworks than Pixar, and that's only because Pixar has good PR." The person saying that doesn't have to work for Dreamworks -- but they certainly sound jealous on Dreamworks' behalf for some reason.

In any case, I now realize that all of this is beside the point. I jumped on the somewhat tangential comment that Cars was "arguably Pixar's weakest film to date" and the follow-ups in the comment thread suggesting that there is no value other than money in a Cars sequel.

I suppose that I'm most bothered by the attitude that "sequel = sucky" and can only be profit-driven. From everything I've seen, Lasseter LOVED Cars. Isn't it conceivable that he wanted to revisit the characters out of affection for them and their world?

I'm probably wandering off the point again. I was going to wag my finger at people for pre-judging the movie, but I do that all the time. I assumed that Kung Fu Panda would be lame for no good reason whatsoever. Pixar doesn't need me to defend them, and the movie will speak for itself.

banjodevon said...

Agree that Pixar are not infallible, are businessminded, and are likely making these sequels more for the commerce than the art.

I do take issue some of the Pixar PR talk. Pixar have good PR because they have made movies that people like. The average moviegoer has little or no interest in which studio has produces the films they watch; they choose which movie to go see based on advertising or recommendation and decide whether or not they like it based on how well the characters/dialogue/story/look etc. appeal to them. These types of studio-ignorant audiences have consistently made Pixar films hits.

Critics are surely more studio savy but that does not mean they give past favorites a free pass. Critics are...critical. For every critic who gives the newest Pixar film an automatic A+ there is surely another who watches arms folded "show me what you got you cocky animation hotdoggers!!". My point being that as much as Pixar benefits from its good reputation it is also held to a higher standard and even so has risen to the occassion with shocking consistency.

As far as their last few outings go I feel that they are producing as well as ever for the most part. I sort of hated the humans in Wall-E and felt the ending was a tacked on piece of trash that left a bad taste in my mouth but the Wall-E and Eve charachters are great and I applaud the vision and scope of the project. Ratatouille is probably my favorite Pixar movie of all. The whole concept is so absurd and, well, lame, but they pull it off magnificently.

We'll see whether or not Cars 2 is a clunker but as of yet I see Pixar as one of, if not THE only studio that has yet to make a true stinker.

Anonymous said...

Keith,I agree. The irony there, is that Lasseter himself was laid off from Disney.

Slightly off topic yet strongly related.. the recent Speed Racer movie actually brought a tear to my eye for pointing out this very aspect of the real world. I've not been a creative professional for long (4 years), I have seen "the system" at work, and what it does to creative projects.

Knowing that Pixar is no different than either their Disney or their Lucasarts heritage, I have to say the disenchantment has deepened.

Hope isn't lost :) I can't help but smile every time I check out what the Blender guys are doing. The main reason... it's not about marketing... There's love, hate, joy, and everything in between thrown in... both to the software and their projects. Pixar/Disney, and the others could learn a thing or two.

FleaCircusDirector said...

I loved the panoramic backgrounds in cars and thought the characters were good.

I saw the Elephant film from the blender guys and found it confusing and lacking structure, I was disappointed given all the hype about it, perhaps their newer films will be better.

Anonymous said...

I agree. There should not be a cars 2 or Toy Story 3, although Toy Story is fantastic it would indeed end up like Shrek 3. Still think Ratatouille is the best of pixar's. I don't know what all the fuzz was about with Wall-e. It was ok. Thinking of the Wall-E trailer they said they came up with all their ideas for the upcoming movies in a single afternoon. Maybe they should meet for a cup of coffee once more in that place. :)

andyoko said...

Cars mediocre?! I absolutely adore it! Thought it was wonderful, witty and totally enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Well, my daughter (!) still have a couple of Cars toys which she likes. She completely ignored Rats..
Nuff said..

Anonymous said...

Keith, I think that Pixar is sitting on their laurels. They established this huge brand recognition, and if they don't wise up soon, they will be run over like the Roman Empire.

They could get away for a long time because they were on the front line of this new medium. At that time anything CGI was cool.. even Bugs Life or Antz.

Story telling my *ss. Pixar has just this one constant theme (few exceptions aside): Internal struggle with ones character:
- Woody: Am I obsolete or still loved?
- McQueen: Does fame or friends fill this void in my life?
- Remy: Am I a rat pretending to be human or a human pretending to be a rat?
Anyway.. you get my point.

Anonymous said...

" At that time anything CGI was cool.. even Bugs Life or Antz. "

Ummm... no, actually A Bugs Life was cool because it had a charming characters and story , and Antz was painful to sit through because of the clunky story and characters (and even clunkier animation) .

Nothing at all to do with them being CG .