Dust off your spandex, throw out your cape, The Incredibles 2 is coming. Pixar CEO Robert A. Iger officially announced the follow up last month so lets take a look at some reasons why Incredibles 2 may (or may not) be Incredible too.
5. Pro: The Toy Story sequels offer hope
It seems odd to think it now, but Toy Story 2 was the only sequel to surface from Pixar's first 10 outings. John Lasseter famously wasn't keen on the project but the film, none the less, became a box office smash. On top of that, it's still considered by many to be the better of the two.
It came just four years after the original but it would be over a decade untill we would see Woody and Buzz again. In part two Lasseter had shown us a mid life crisis of sorts, a certain fear of going out to pasture, but for the series' conclusion he showed something even more melancholic; an acceptance of old age.
Lasseter dropped his beloved creation in the old folks home confinement of a saccharine sweet day care centre. The remarkable third instalment nabbed a best picture nomination and became not only Pixar's highest earner, but- at the time of its release- the 5th highest grosser of all time.
So with these fine films in mind; if the writing staff can indeed find the right next step, there's no reason to believe Incredibles 2 wont deliver. Dash and Violet holding down relationships; Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl passing on the torch... and then there's Jack Jack...
So far so good, but if Woody and co. fill you with confidence...
4. Con: The others unfortunately do not.
Cars 2 might have looked like a million bucks but critically and commercially it was a relative dud. It felt like a pet project for Lasseter, who hadn't directed a film since the series' first instalment. Whatever the man's intentions, it felt like a cash grab too. There's not much merchandise potential for old Carl Fredricksen and his floating house but a gang of colorful race cars will always set the cash registers ringing.
Monsters University- the studio's latest- was far from terrible, but still a mark below the Pixar standards of old, and creatively speaking, it just felt plain lazy. Take some beloved characters, throw them in college, slot machine eyes go Ca-Ching!
The theme here is crystal clear. Quality must come first, and only then the bottom line. It was the Pixar way, and with Incredibles 2 perhaps it can be again.
3 Pro: A new Mouse House quality M.O.
A quick look at next year's releases might send a shiver down their competitor's spines and set the rest of us salivating but that wasn't always the case.
The Avengers project looked like an absolute minefield to begin with, now it's the most profitable franchise of all time. Equally, the thought of a new Star Wars film used to set fans of the franchise waking up in pools of Jar Jar induced sweat but the studio have even turned that, for now at least, into something worth pining for. The reason for both is a dedication to quality.
The appointments of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams (who was pried from the Enterprise with enormous difficulty) show a care and intelligence at work behind the money men. It's simply hard to think of two guys better suited for the job.
Relative to those two properties Pixar seems like a problem child, picking its nose while the others run track, slowly turning away from its inherent originality to become a conveyor belt style sequel machine, but, if creative chief Ed Catmull is to be believed, that's all about to change:
For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.
All well and good, but one question still remains...
2. Con: What if it's just too late?
There was a time not so long ago when Pixar was a monolith of unquestionable and absolute quality. Cars, while far from terrible, was seen as the exception to that rule. A rule of high standards and originality which no studio had equalled for many many years. In a recent piece looking back on 2009's Wall-E, a critic wrote:
In an era when audiences had long ago stopped paying attention to studios — gone were the days when MGM meant escapism and Warners promised realism — Pixar unquestionably became the one film company that mattered to punters.
A quick look at the studio's back catalogue might suggest that Up was a terminal velocity moment, a peak before the stall, but the reasons are a wee bit more complicated. Disney completed their takeover in 2006 and the decay can perhaps be tracked back to then.
Brad Bird took Ratatouille in 2005, Pete Doctor began writing Up a year before and Wall-E was said to be in production as far pack as 1994. So what does that leave us? Toy Story 3 (as we mentioned above) was the perfect way to end a trilogy but after that things start to get a little grim. A ho-hum Monsters Uni, the decent if forgetable Brave and then of course, Cars 2.
Did we have it too good? Will it ever be as sublime as this:
Carl and Ellie gave us life in five minutes, cinema at its very best, but dry your eyes, it'll all be ok once...
1. Pro: Brad Bird returns
Its hard to believe Brad Bird has only directed 4 films since he left the Simpsons in 1998. Three of those (Ratatouille, The Iron Giant and The Incredibles) made the top 20 of Timeout's 100 best animated movies last week; placed 19, 7 and 5 respectively. His latest, Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol, was his first dip into live action, his first taste of sequel town, and the highest rated instalment of that generally decent series. No one seems to know what his next film, Tomorrowland, will be about but it's without doubt one of the most anticipated around.
His films have shown us an intelligent, moving director. A film maker who can orchestrate jaw dropping action but, far more importantly, an artist who knows the way to the human heart. With The Incredibles he used superpowers to show us normal family life; a dad carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders; a mother who has to be everywhere at once; a manic, hyperactive young boy; and a teenage girl who just wants to disappear.
Bird might be adverse to returning- he reportedly turned down Star Wars just last year- but surely if there was to be a sequel he would want it to be him. Of course we all hope he signs on with his best intentions at heart but whatever the case, the day he does decide to, is the day we do too.
But what do we know. How cautious are you lot feeling about The Incredibles 2? Please let us know in the comments below.
Stay tuned. More on this one as we get it.