I grew up with Pixar, that is to say it was in its infancy when I was born and its first slew of non-stop hits were released whilst I was still their key demographic.
However, now, as I verge on adulthood, the company has begun to bring out sequels, prequels and spin offs to the films I hold dear, most of which were released over a decade ago. Whilst this may be beneficial in reigniting an interest in the properties and introducing more
younger viewers to them (as well as giving them a part they an seemingly take a sense of ownership over, as one of their ‘childhood films’), it runs the risk of damaging the originals and tainting them.
Pixar is a company that has always seemed to have imagination and children’s happiness at its heart. It’s films, whilst of course hugely successful, never feel build with commerciality in mind, instead they feel carefully crafted with a lot of heart. Despite this, the question of why create another, as it does so often with additions to franchises these days, arises. When stories seem complete and a long time has passed since they were released, it provokes the idea that their continuation may be done purely as a cash-grab. The creators may still take the same care as they did initially, but if the instigating driving force is money, it lends a sense of falsity to the final product, where genuity is what Pixar is most known for.
However, it may be, as they often claim, that inspiration has struck, simply after a prolonged period of time, and whilst this may be true, some stories are better left untouched, even if a new idea seems exciting. Take Toy Story for instance, a film which did not seemingly require a sequel, yet spurned out two incredibly successful and welcome additions to the franchise, allowing audiences to follow their favourite characters, or be introduced to them for the first time. However, many agree that the conclusion to the trilogy, in Toy
Story 3‘s finale, tied up the stories perfectly, leaving behind old times, yet giving the characters a hopeful place in which to thrive. The memories of the touching ending did spark an outcry at the announcement of Toy Story 4. The film could never take place as the 4th film in a quadrilogy, instead it would be counted as separate, due to the closed nature of the trilogy, focusing on Andy’s journey with the toys. Whilst, with John Lasseter at the helm, this would not be assumed to be a film made solely for money, it underestimated the affection people have for the trilogy, and how protective they feel over te fact it ended 6 years ago.
This is a trilogy which, in my opinion, should remain untouched. It was rounded off perfectly for the audience and Andy to leave the characters behind, yet always know they can revisit those 3 adventures at any time. A fourth film will take away from the touching finality that graced the third movie, making it less impactful and this tainting it’s original legacy. However great this new idea may be, it feels unnecessary and unwanted after Pixar left it’s audience so fully satisfied after toy story 3 that however much the films were missed, they never truly wanted more.
Likewise, other sequels such as Finding Dory seem incredibly unnecessary, especially 13 years after the original film. Finding nemo was what it said on the tin, a
film about finding a fish called nemo, a story which was completely wrapped up at the end. However, whilst long gaps between films may make the sequel appear to be a cash grab and even more unnecessary, the break from the characters may make a revisit more welcome, a chance to catch up after a long period of time. This may certainly be the case for Finding Dory, as well as The Incredibles 2 (although this appeared to be setting up for a sequel that never came in its ending, so seems more widely welcomed anyway, in all honesty, I’m excited for it), as fans who are now grown up can revisit their childhood days and the characters that entertained them.
Other films whose ingenious concepts allowed them to stand out and be held up as great, have also suffered a little by having a delayed continuation which does not meet the lofty conceptual heights established by the first film. For example, Monsters Inc. was a film with a truly original and fantastic concept, which was then followed by a less original buddy-college prequel 12 years later. Despite the idea of a monster-scaring college being something we hadn’t seen before, it was simply a play on the original concept set up in the first film. Similarly, it was simply the film’s setting that provided something new as it then fell into the expected plot of most buddy-college films of how they made friends, were hazed, and helped eachother with the academic/physical aspects they each had difficulty with. It is a plot seen in many films, including the set up of 2012’s 21 Jump Street. Whilst this did still make for a good film, with all of the Pixar trademarks thrown in, it couldn’t be as good or rewatchable as the original, making it one of those sequels that you may flick to occasionally if it’s on TV, but won’t forever link with the original.
Long-awaited, or unexpected, sequels and prequels can have their upsides, however, sometimes its simply better to leave the originals alone.
And yes, I may be a little possessive.