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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Remember When Pixar Was Great?

Disney - Pixar's Monster University - Disney Promotional Photo
My Disney crazed co-worker couldn't wait till Pixar's Monsters University opened last week. She took off a little early from work and met up with her husband, daughter, and two grandsons over at the theaters ($$$). And when I spoke with her about it a few days later, her comment was "the movie just wasn't that good." She went on to say that the story just wasn't up to to the charm and entertainment of the original Monsters Inc. and while the younger grandson (3 years old) was kind of bored with the movie, the grandson who was five and should be in Monsters University wheelhouse for kids entertainment was actually a little afraid of a couple of the characters. She saw the movie in 2D since here grandkids have problem with 3D movies (understandable). She had planned to go back to the movies this past week and see it in 3D but after her first viewing, she decided to skip it. Just wasn't worth her time?

A Pixar movie that is not worth someone's time? Something like that just wasn't said a few years ago. Pixar meant beautifully written stories artfully produced using state of the art technology. The name Pixar oozed quality. But since Pixar hit its highwater mark of Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3, the trend has been downward and its beginning to ripple through the studios staunch supporters. What happened?

Well many of Pixar's top directors have gone on to pursue projects with live action movies but still, the man at the top is still there he needs to shoulder much of the blame for the deteriorating quality. John Lasseter is Pixar's man in charge. John is responsible for all 3 Toy Story movies. He directed the dreadful Cars 2. John is also head of Walt Disney Animation Studios and also wears the hat of Chief Creative Officer for the theme parks. The man has a lot on his plate. Too much perhaps? It's a fair question to ask.

But we can't let Disney as a company off the hook in this matter. Here is also a fair question. Does Disney care as much (or more) about the sale of products and merchandise than they do  about source movies that launches their huge consumer products enterprise. Is selling "Cars" merchandise for years on end more important that making a really great Cars movie? How do you think Walt Disney would feel about this constant to need to sell, sell, sell.... rather than having a company that defines excellence in creative imagination. These are questions worth pondering especially as competitors are nudging their way up.

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