Pixar Jumps Shark: Sequels and Drab Originals Taint Once Great Studio

Pixar Jumps Shark: Sequels and Drab Originals Taint Once Great Studio

There are precious few “event” moments in modern cinema.

For this critic, any time the Coen brothers release a new film it’s mark your calender time. The same holds true for Quentin Tarantino projects or animated features from the wizards at Pixar.

Strike that.

Pixar is slumping. Badly. And the animation studio’s future doesn’t hold much promise.

Just look at Pixar’s last two films – “Cars 2” and “Brave.” The former earned the dubious distinction of a “rotten” rating over at RottenTomatoes.com, while the latter generated some polite huzzahs, nothing more. And the qualified raves for “Brave” might have had as much to do with the studio’s first female heroine as the film itself.

Now, the studio is prepping a sequel to “Finding Nemo,” a story that’s both wonderful and wonderfully complete. And that’s not all. A new installment of “Monsters, Inc.” (“Monsters University”) is coming our way, and Tom Hanks says a fourth “Toy Story” installment is already in the proverbial works.

Now, “Finding Nemo: Lost in America” (or “Finding Nemo: Find Me if You Can?”) could be that rare sequel that can thrive on its own merits. Heck, the last two “Toy Story” films did just that. But after seeing “Cars 2” can anyone have faith that these sequels will follow in Buzz and Woody’s foot steps?

Pixar used to tell bold, beautiful stories about culinary rats and crotchety old men who prefer to stay around the house. Now, it’s all about branding, selling Wall*E lunch boxes and playing it ever so safe.

We can still look forward to movies by the Coens and Tarantino. But the next Pixar release will be just another day at the darkened office for this film fan.

Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @TotoMovies