“Gravity’s $ucce$$ will lead to a new round of 3D films NOT conceived for 3D…” These words, from Pixar stalwart Brad Bird via Twitter last fall, are unshakably true; if we have learned anything from Hollywood over the years, it’s that they will ride a passing fad into the ground, well past its expiration date. The industry’s leaders presume that if one unique aspect represented in one popular film works, that same aspect will work in every upcoming film. Though there are various add-ons Hollywood loves to graft upon its products, such as an IMAX presentation for something that wasn’t shot in the IMAX format, the most prevalent remains 3D. There are a handful of major films, from Gravity to Avatar to Hugo, that have been aided enormously by being presented in this immersive format; however, for each Gravity, there are 10 Need for Speeds right behind, films that were post-converted to the 3D format not because they require it, but because the studios want to make a quick buck.
Nine months after this article kickstarted the Pixar Perspective column, it’s worth taking stock of the calendar year 2013. (With just three weeks left before we start 2014, it is, of course, possible that there may be more news on the horizon, but doubtful.) In that first editorial, the topic was the now-common choice among writers to pit Pixar Animation Studios against Walt Disney Animation Studios, only a few weeks after Brave won the Best Animated Feature Oscar over the apparent underdog, Wreck-It Ralph. A similar inter-company battle may occur once again, as Frozen and Monsters University are assumed to be among this year’s top challengers for the prize, along with another film being distributed under the Disney banner, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises. And unlike even Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen has performed extremely well to this point; it’s too early to know for sure, but it could easily wind up as the highest-grossing feature in the Disney animated canon since The Lion King. Never mind, of course, that Monsters University, despite not being as widely embraced by critics, made nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide. For yet another year, Disney has “beaten” Pixar, in some people’s minds.
It’s high time that Pixar Animation Studios made a musical. In some ways, it’s been high time for them to make a musical ever since they started making features. From the beginning, the people at the top of Pixar’s food chain tacitly, vocally avoided making animated musicals in the same way as many of Walt Disney Animation Studio’s most beloved classics, either from the 1930s and 1940s or from the Disney Renaissance period. Pixar has defined itself, and the genre of computer animation as a whole, by refusing to have its characters break into song and dance on the regular. But why hold back on embracing one of the ironclad tenets of mainstream feature animation? All this refusal represents is a strange, stubborn unwillingness to be risky.
We’re just a few weeks away from the debut of Pixar’s first prequel – Monsters University opens June 21 in theaters everywhere. To celebrate, we asked you to submit your best Monsters Mash-Up. Take any of the characters from the ‘Monsters’ universe and smash ’em up with just about anything else. The results have been unsurprisingly entertaining! In this first batch alone, we see monsters invading the worlds of Star Wars, The Incredibles and The Lord of The Rings.