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‘Incredibles 2’ Just Premiered: Here Are The First Reactions

incredibles 2

Pixar’s Incredibles 2 premiered in Hollywood last night, which means the social media reactions are already rolling in. The embargo for Incredibles 2 doesn’t lift for most critics until Monday, and I won’t see the movie myself until tomorrow (Update: saw it, agree with a lot of stuff below), so if you can’t wait until then, here are the earliest (spoiler-free) takes.

Let’s start with the most positive:

Go on…‘Incredibles 2’ Just Premiered: Here Are The First Reactions

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Pixar Delayed ‘Toy Story 4’ Because They Threw Out Most Of The Script

toy story 4

From RadioTimes:

It’s been a long wait, but Toy Story 4 is getting close. Well, closer: Although we originally expected the toys back in town last year, changes in personnel – most significantly with the departure of writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack – saw Pixar rework the animation, pushing it back to a June 2019 release.

Part of me has always suspected that the movie was delayed in order to stagger Pixar’s next few movies coming out through 2019. At the moment, Toy Story 4 is the last officially announced Pixar movie with a release date and title. The rest are still under wraps, including “Untitled Suburban Fantasy,” but Pixar has confirmed that their next wave of releases will be original stories, not sequels.

Go on…Pixar Delayed ‘Toy Story 4’ Because They Threw Out Most Of The Script

Which is Better: Zootopia or Finding Dory?

zootopia

Disney’s Zootopia is a better film than Pixar’s Finding Dory.

Both 2016 films are competently made. Both films are humorous, well-realized, and stunning to look at. Both films have engaging, wonderful main characters with goals and story arcs that are as insightful as they are entertaining. Both films share many of the same strengths, making it hard to objectively point to one being better than the other on any sort of technical level. But…

Go on…Which is Better: Zootopia or Finding Dory?

Incredibles 2 Will Be Way More Successful Than (Some) Think

I don’t usually dive into the prediction game, but this year I’m feeling uniquely compelled to weigh in on the box office future of Incredibles 2, a Pixar film some are strangely underestimating as we close in on Summer 2018.

Will it be #1 for the whole summer? Not necessarily, thanks to Avengers: Infinity War. But here’s my breakdown on how I envision the summer playing out in general, from Deadpool 2 to Solo. Spoiler alert: it involves Disney making way more money than everyone else. In part thanks to Pixar’s latest sequel based off of one of their most beloved movies.

Go on…Incredibles 2 Will Be Way More Successful Than (Some) Think

Pixar Is Taking a Break from Sequels After ‘Incredibles 2’

pixar sequels incredibles 2

Turns out that tip I reported was correct after all.

Allanah Faherty confirmed the rumor yesterday on Movie Pilot:

Pixar President, Jim Morris has revealed that after the release of the last sequel on the current slate, The Incredibles 2 in June 2019, the studio will release four original films.

“Everything after Toy Story and The Incredibles is an original right now,” he said. At the moment there are two untitled original films scheduled to be released in March and June 2020, and a further two are in early development, and look “highly likely” to join the studio’s schedule soon.

This is interesting news for a few big reasons. The most obvious one is that this addresses the “sequel-fatigue” many of us have been experiencing with the studio since Cars 2, as well as the doubts people have been having about Pixar’s quality in comparison to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ recent wave of huge success.

But the other big reason we should consider is how this will reflect on Pixar’s massive hit, Finding Dory, which is of course a sequel. The film has been a box office juggernaut in the U.S. (it will soon dethrone Captain America: Civil War as the biggest domestic hit of 2016), and the movie has also enjoyed steadily positive praise from critics.

In other words, this news implies what a lot of us have always suspected about Pixar as a business. Their decisions on which movies to release are not solely driven by short-term numbers and cash grabs. It seems they’re more interested in telling the stories they want to tell.

Note: the top image is a reference to Pixar’s next original film, Cocowhich will release next year.

The Humans of ‘WALL-E’ Were Probably Better Off Without Him

Have you ever seen Pixar’s WALL-E? No? Then go watch that, come back, and let’s discuss something somewhat troubling about this film.

There are a lot of movies that you can point to and say that the protagonists (i.e. heroes of the film) actually do more harm than good. There are some movies with tragic endings that would have been just fine if the protagonist had done nothing at all.

And I think WALL-E accidentally does the same thing, and not for the reason you may be thinking.

wall-e theory

Let’s recap the story. WALL-E is set 800 years in the future. In this universe, Earth becomes incredibly overpopulated by the year 2105, with 200 billion humans contributing to an environmental disaster for obvious reasons.

In response, a world-dominating organization called Buy n Large (BnL) pledges to clean up the mess, though it’s heavily implied it’s mostly their fault, and they send all humans to space on executive cruise ships called “starliners.” But after only five years, BnL decides to abandon the planet completely because the air has become toxic.

Side note: Soon, my book on The Pixar Theory will be coming out, and it’s packed with theories that concern this movie and BnL in general. What you’re about to read is something that didn’t make it into the final draft, so BONUS!

wall-e theory

Anyway, humans remain in space unbothered for 700 years, which is when the movie’s plot begins with WALL-E. When a probe named EVE arrives to find hospitable life, WALL-E falls in adorable robot love with her, and when she returns to deliver the plant-life she found, WALL-E frantically follows her.

WALL-E ends up on Axiom, one of many starliners running in a lifestyle “loop.” The humans there have been raised from birth to support and trust BnL and it’s routines for their entire lives. The robots satisfy all of their needs, and life is pretty much perfect in their minds, even though they do nothing for themselves.

It’s a strange setup because you’d think the people on Axiom would grow bored and feel stifled, but in contrast, they seem completely intent, until WALL-E arrives and causes a chain of events that leads to their return to Earth.

wall-e theory

 

This brings me to the main point: The people of Axiom are incredibly nice, well-functioning people.

Not once do you see a human on Axiom acting spoiled or rude. Instead, they’re incredibly polite, especially when they meet WALL-E for the first time. John and Mary are two great examples. They’re not used to robots having a personality, and when they meet WALL-E, they are very positive and nice to him. You’d think they’d treat him terribly, but instead they befriend him and get eerily excited when they see him again.

The humans we see have friends, romantic relationships, and excellent living accommodations. The screens they view everything through are translucent, so they have no shame in letting other people see what they’re working on.

wall-e theory

Even life expectancy isn’t a problem. When we see the panel of past Axiom captains, you can see that all of them live well over 100 years.

When the current captain of the ship becomes enamored with Earth, he appears to have the joy of a child. He’s incredibly optimistic, and in many ways, one of the central heroes of the film when it comes down to it.

In some of the final scenes, we see the humans showing a lot of empathy for WALL-E and EVE, even though most have them have no idea what’s going on. They cheer for the captain when he’s fighting Auto, and John and Mary don’t hesitate to risk their lives for the babies falling down the platform.

wall-e theory

What caused humans to be this nice?

Well, BnL apparently did. The society created by this “loop” of never-ending pleasure created a culture of interestingly polite humans, contrary to the spoiled rich kid syndrome you’d expect to see.

So was what WALL-E did for them…for the best?

If he had never followed EVE, the humans would sill be on the Axiom, but when the movie closes, the humans have returned to Earth. It’s depressing, but history repeats itself. Though we see shots of life rebuilding itself peacefully, won’t humans just make the same mistakes again and damage Earth completely this time?

wall-e theory

It’s tricky because the movie is clever about how it makes you hate BnL, despite it being the invention of the very humans we sympathize with. Pixar overtly makes the conditions of the Axiom both horrific and enticing at the same time, but few people walk away from it thinking the humans made a mistake.

From a storytelling perspective, it’s genius on Pixar’s part. They present the humans in a way that makes us want the best for them. If they had made the humans spoiled and insufferable, we wouldn’t care about them as much as we do by the end.

But the weird side-effect of this characterization is that Pixar is unintentionally saying that BnL’s methods created a better society than the one we already have. We know it’s better because Pixar is intentionally saying the society we have is what caused the problems emphasized in the film.

wall-e theory

So, here’s the question: Were the humans better off living in a society that made them the best they could be personally and socially? Or is living on Earth too important to ignore? I’m not convinced either way, to be honest.

Sure, the effects of gravity make you a blob dependent on a chair, but then again, it’s an awesome chair.

In Axiom’s society, there’s no crime from what we see. Everyone has their needs met. There’s likely no poverty, racial injustice, or food shortages. It’s utopia, but we think it sucks because the people aren’t skinny. Isn’t that a little messed up when you think about it?

wall-e theory

Still, the captain makes a good point when he says, “I don’t want to survive, I want to live!”

But does everyone on Axiom want that, or is it just the result of one man who wants to impulse buy something he read about on the Internet? It’s hard to say.

Of course, I’m not saying Axiom would be the best for me or you. We’re accustomed to bike rides, trampolines, and Taylor Swift concerts. But if you told me there was a way to solve all of Earth’s problems in exchange for a few extra pounds, I’d have a hard time saying no.


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Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

The Official Character Descriptions for ‘Inside Out’ Are Brilliant

inside out character descriptions

From Stitch Kingdom:

JOY (voice of Amy Poehler)
Joy’s goal has always been to make sure Riley stays happy. She is lighthearted, optimistic and determined to find the fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley’s life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. As long as Riley is happy, so is Joy.

FEAR (voice of Bill Hader)
Fear’s main job is to protect Riley and keep her safe. He is constantly on the lookout for potential disasters, and spends time evaluating the possible dangers, pitfalls and risk involved in Riley’s everyday activities. There are very few activities and events that Fear does not find to be dangerous and possibly fatal.

ANGER (voice of Lewis Black)
Anger feels very passionately about making sure things are fair for Riley. He has a fiery spirit and tends to explode (literally) when things don’t go as planned. He is quick to overreact and has little patience for life’s imperfections.

DISGUST (voice of Mindy Kaling)
Disgust is highly opinionated, extremely honest and prevents Riley from getting poisoned — both physically and socially. She keeps a careful eye on the people, places and things that Riley comes into contact with — whether that’s broccoli or last year’s fashion trend. Disgust always has the best of intentions and refuses to lower her standards.

SADNESS (voice of Phyllis Smith)
None of the other Emotions really understand what Sadness’s role is. Sadness would love to be more optimistic and helpful in keeping Riley happy, but she finds it so hard to be positive. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do is just lie on the floor and have a good cry.

Unfortunately, Pixar hasn’t released the official character bios for any of the human characters, like Riley and her parents, as well as Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong.

But I absolutely love the ideas behind each of these characters, especially Fear, Anger, and Disgust. When you watch the trailer, it’s easy to find these emotions less “important” because they mess everything up without Joy and Sadness around. It’s sort of easy to look down on them for being themselves.

These character descriptions go a long way toward generating real depth to these emotions. Anger isn’t just angry because he’s voiced by Lewis Black. He has a real interest in making sure the world is “fair” for Riley. Fear is simply trying to protect her. In the same way, Disgust preserves Riley’s true sense of self. That’s just good writing.

inside out character descriptionsInterestingly, Sadness is the least fleshed out, which is surely intentional. Her motivations are something we’ll have to see pan out over the course of about an hour and a half. Is it June yet?

Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

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