Pixar is renowned for original storytelling in the realm of animation. Often, the stories spun by these visionaries wonderfully meld style and substance together in a way that please both children and adults. And while the Cars franchise started off in this same vein, the sequel was a clear sub-par cash-grab. It’s easy to see why: merchandise from Cars was one of Disney’s biggest cash cows. You got keep that cow fat, so Cars 3 is the product. The plot, characters, and themes are familiar: anthropomorphic cars trying to win races to prove that they can still win races, with themes of obsolescence, expectation, following dreams, and believing in people (or, in this case, cars). Cars 3 is all of this and exactly nothing else, another lap around the track.
Disney recently released the first teaser trailer for Pixar’s next original feature film, Coco. The teaser introduces us to a world full of music, magic, and spirits centered around Dia de los Muertos. In accordance with standard Pixar protocol, this teaser offers us only a slight glimpse at the characters and story, and instead envelopes the audience in the world of the film. After presenting the teaser, this piece will focus on what we can learn about the aesthetic of the film from the trailer, discuss the creative team behind the film, and flesh out the narrative and potential themes based on other interviews. Here we go:
The latest film from Pixar, Finding Dory, is a sequel to one of the studio’s most-beloved early films, and one of the first with a true pathos, Finding Nemo. The original often ranks among Pixar’s best, and one of the big reasons was the character of Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. The filmmakers thought that this character (who suffers from short-term memory loss) was a good one, so they chose her to headline her own film. Ancillary characters don’t always make great focal points, so there were a lot of people worried about this one, but it was all unwarranted. Finding Dory is very good, introduces a number of interesting and distinct characters, and further develops the themes of family, friendship, and belonging of the original. It acts as a wonderful companion piece to the original on account of the fantastic union of story structure, plot, and themes – all hallmarks of Pixar.
Pixar’s fifteenth animated feature film, Inside Out, is inarguably its most conceptual, ambitious, and distinctive; it may also be its greatest. The studio is known for its unique brand of emotional storytelling and blending of humor and heart, but generally the stories follow a familiar narrative structure. Inside Out transcends this trend by offering two parallel narratives taking place in disparate but related worlds. On the surface, the story follows the 11-year old Riley and her struggle with her family’s move from Minnesota to San Francisco, but more fundamentally shows Riley’s inner world: in her mind, we see five personified emotions which work together to guide her through her transition. The film magnificently marries these two worlds, as each element of the story, characters, and theme involves some aspect of one world informing the drama in the other. This synthesis is the true majesty of Inside Out, and establishes it among Pixar’s greatest offerings to date.
With all the horn-blowing I have been doing for Inside Out, it sometimes slips my mind that we’re actually due for a second Disney / Pixar film in 2015 with The Good Dinosaur being released in late November, marking the first time we get two Pixar features in the same year. So far, we’ve been treated to mere descriptions of the film, and it has been plagued with pretty serious problems during production which I will not go into here, but I am sure you can seek them out if you want to. Anyway, earlier today the first teaser trailer was released. We obviously don’t get too much to go on here, but the idea has interested me since I heard about it, so it is good to get a first look.
The newest Disney and Pixar film, Inside Out, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier today to uproarious applause. Directed by Pete Docter, Inside Out is the first Pixar film to debut at Cannes since Up (also from Docter), and looks to be a worthy entry into the Pixar canon. In celebration of the successful showing of Inside Out, of which I have been excited for nearly four years, I decided to post this reaction to the most recent full trailer for the film which can be seen here.