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Snarcasm: Disney Ruined Pixar Because Why Not?

disney pixar

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read

Did Pixar lose its way, or did we lose our way with Pixar? There’s no real answer to the latter part of that question because it makes no sense. But the article we’re snarcasming this week actually does make a lot of sense and deserves to be approached thoughtfully. Even though it’s basically wrong for the most part.

Writing for The Atlantic, Christopher Orr titles his piece “How Pixar Lost Its Way,” because at this point, Orr is confident there’s no other conclusion to reach.

For 15 years, the animation studio was the best on the planet.

Studio Ghibli would like a word.

Then Disney bought it. 

And the Fire Nation attacked.

Orr begins his piece with a line from Ed Catmull, Pixar’s own president who at one point claimed that sequels can represent “creative bankruptcy.”

He was discussing Pixar, the legendary animation studio, and its avowed distaste for cheap spin-offs.

Good thing Pixar doesn’t make cheap spin-offs!

Hold on, we’ll get to Cars 2.

More pointedly, he argued that if Pixar were only to make sequels, it would “wither and die.”

Good thing Pixar doesn’t only make sequels!

Yet here comes Cars 3, rolling into a theater near you this month.

Ah yes, it wouldn’t be a hot take on Pixar without car-related puns.

You may recall that the original Cars, released back in 2006, was widely judged to be the studio’s worst film to date.

“Worst,” however, is a misleading phrase. It wasn’t the strongest of the Pixar films, but most critics believed the film was good mainly on the strengths of its production value and a decent story. The problem was that Cars was the first Pixar movie made mostly for children. Cars 2 was made for merchandising to said children and was the studio’s first flop, coincidentally.

if Cars 3 isn’t disheartening enough, two of the three Pixar films in line after it are also sequels: The Incredibles 2 and (say it isn’t so!) Toy Story 4.

Of course, Pixar has made great sequels as well, including two for that last movie you mention. And they just made Finding Dory, which audiences loved—

The golden era of Pixar is over.

Yeah, ok, here we go.

It was a 15-year run of unmatched commercial and creative excellence,

Filled with sequels and large gaps in between movies.

Since then, other animation studios have made consistently better films.

This is somewhat true, but not necessarily fair. The only studio that’s been making those better films is Disney, which has been creatively led by Pixar’s John Lasseter since the studio’s purchase. Orr also mentions two Laika films, but one came out the same year as Up and the other came out the same year as Finding Dory.

To Orr’s point, Disney has made Wreck-It RalphFrozenBig Hero 6Moana, and Zootopia, all of which are widely regarded as better than BraveCars 2Monsters University (arguably), The Good Dinosaur (arguably), and Finding Dory. But Pixar has also made Inside Out, which most critics consider the superior film out of every single one of those Disney and Laika films.

Now, I get Orr’s point. That’s just one Pixar movie while Disney has had an aggressive output of great films that have managed to catch up to Pixar’s level of quality. If that were Orr’s only argument here, it would be a noteworthy one, but the jump to concluding that this means Pixar has lost its way ignores plenty of other important information, including Pixar’s excellent short animated films, which are consistently better than Disney’s, and the fact that they’ve still made good movies in the last seven years.

One need only look at this year’s Oscars: Two Disney movies, Zootopia and Moana, were nominated for Best Animated Feature, and Zootopia won. Pixar’s Finding Dory was shut out altogether.

First of all, Pixar won an Oscar just a year ago. Second, Finding Dory isn’t any less of a good film simply because it didn’t win a certain award. It just wasn’t as original and compelling as Zootopia and Moana, which is fine, and the Academy has a persistent stigma against sequels, anyway. Orr’s standard of Pixar being on the right path is too restricting, apparently arguing that movies are best when they manage to best other movies, ignoring, for example, Kubo and the Two Strings, which numerous critics argue was better than both Zootopia and Moana. Even if they’re right, all three movies are pretty good.

Simply put, a film being great doesn’t make another film any less great. This is only relevant if the value you hold in a movie is tied into how it compares with the reception of its competition.

Orr goes on, however, to expand on his own standard for what makes Pixar great, citing its technical achievements (which none of the sequels have erred on) and how it has provided great cinema for kids and adults (which hasn’t changed at all since Toy Story 3).

Even as others gradually caught up with Pixar’s visual artistry, the studio continued to tell stories of unparalleled depth and sophistication.

Some Pixar movies, however, weren’t so brilliantly received by critics at the time they came out. Films like Ratatouille and Wall-E, for example, were criticized plenty for trifles that no one even considers now. Monsters Inc. wasn’t exactly critic-proof either (it didn’t even win an Oscar?!), and that goes even more for A Bug’s Life.

Two films that unquestionably cemented Pixar’s eventual reputation beyond Toy Story were The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. Several other Pixar movies have managed to match them, in my opinion, but only Inside Out has truly reached the standard Orr sets here, which isn’t one that has been consistently met by Pixar with every film they’ve put out. Good Dinosaur is a good example, in that it’s a film directly trying to be far more bizarre and experimental than what’s worked for Pixar in the past.

Orr goes on to talk about Pixar’s achievement with crossover storytelling, raising some great points about how and why their movies are so consistently well-received.

And then, after Toy Story 3, the Pixar magic began to fade.

Here we go.

The sequels that followed—Cars 2 (a spy spoof) in 2011 and Monsters University (a college farce) in 2013—lacked any thematic or emotional connection to the movies that spawned them.

I truly take issue with Orr essentially lumping these two movies together, because Monsters University in no way lacks thematic connection to Monsters Inc. If anything, it adds flourish to the Mike Wazowski character and tells a poignant story about how we deal with our limitations. It’s far from merely being a “college farce.”

Though better than either of those two, Brave, Pixar’s 2012 foray into princessdom, was a disappointment as well.

I’m not sure which movie is better—Monsters University or Brave. Orr isn’t wrong in saying that Brave was a bit of a disappointment, but it’s about as serviceable as Cars and hey! It won an Oscar.

The studio rallied with Inside Out in 2015.

If by rallied, you mean they put out one of their best films in 20 years, sure. They “rallied.”

But the inferior The Good Dinosaur (also in 2015) and last year’s mediocre Finding Dory only confirmed the overall decline,

Here’s where Orr and I differ the most. To him, Pixar has lost its way because it’s made a few movies that aren’t as good as its very best ones. For me, Pixar has been unable to top themselves year after year, same as Disney wasn’t able to do in the 90s, well before that, and in the near future. But in reality, they never really did that in the first place.

Is Pixar experiencing an overall decline? Sure, no one really disputes that. But does an overall decline mean that the studio has lost its way? Not necessarily. It might just mean we’re witnessing a studio in transition, swinging for the fences with some movies and biding time with sequels as they prepare for a new era that may be entirely different.

Even Orr points out that at the time of the merger, Pixar was already facing huge problems as a studio. And these are the shifts that have led to the Pixar we know today, which has produced occasional masterpieces like Inside Out and artful experiments like The Good Dinosaur. Orr doesn’t even mention Coco, which comes out later this year, but laments Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2, the latter of which is a sequel to one of Pixar’s best films ever and could very well be the first Pixar sequel since Toy Story 3 to actually be better than the original.

The Disney merger seems to have brought with it new imperatives. Pixar has always been very good at making money, but historically it did so largely on its own terms.

I agree. Merging with Disney is a big reason for the sequels, but that’s likely because Pixar knew they couldn’t survive much longer without them. Pixar movies take years to make, and their standards are too high to make new worlds from scratch at a quick enough speed to pay the bills. Sequels take much less time and can make even more money when done correctly. That’s not an excuse, of course, but it is indicative of what could happen next.

Merger or no, there’s plenty reason to believe Pixar would have kept making sequels anyway in order to support their simultaneous need for great original films to also fill the pipeline. That’s not Pixar losing its way. It’s Pixar changing course in a more sustainable direction, consolidating their talent and taking steps toward a future where they may not have to rely on sequels so badly. And this has led to some good results over the years, along with some unfortunate branding ones, admittedly.

Then Orr makes his worst argument.

There are a dozen Disney theme parks scattered across the globe in need of, well, themes for their rides.

Don’t do it, Orr. Please. Think of the children.

the overlap between the Pixar movies that beget sequels and the movies that inspire rides at Disney amusement parks is all but total.

Seriously? You’re trying to argue that Pixar is basing its creative decisions around theme-parks?

Theme-park rides are premised on an awareness of the theme in question, and young parkgoers are less likely to be familiar with movies that are more than a decade old.

That explains why Disneyland is filled with movie themes from over 50 years ago.

This idea that kids are going to forget what Toy Story is without a Toy Story 4 is almost enough for me to dismiss all of Orr’s previous arguments out of spite. I won’t because clearly he’s not entirely wrong about a lot of this, but…really? Theme-park rides?

Look, there’s a point to be made about how sequels can be properly timed with theme-park attractions in order to maximize exposure. But to suggest that a legendary storyteller like Lasseter is guiding one of the best animated studios of all time (with Catmull’s approval) around what will look good on a brochure is nothing more than a brainless conspiracy theory. They’re not making Toy Story 4 because of a theme-park ride. At best, and if we take Pixar at their word, they’re making it because they truly believe in the story and it would be easier and more profitable than a new IP.

Pixar has promised that after the upcoming glut of sequels, the studio will focus on original features.

And honestly, I believe them. Pixar has built up decades of credibility with its fans, but Orr would dismiss all of it because the studio has only put out one masterpiece in seven years, assuming Coco isn’t as good as it looks, while other studios like Disney haven’t really made any masterpieces of their own in the same amount of time.

I’m not sure I dare to expect much more of what used to make Pixar Pixar: the idiosyncratic stories, the deep emotional resonance, the subtle themes that don’t easily translate into amusement-park rides.

Seriously, it’s been two years since Inside Out. Two. And the people who made it still work at Pixar, and for the last time, they’re still making good films. What makes Pixar Pixar hasn’t changed, just the frequency of its best material, and impatience (while understandable) is a poor excuse for trying to accuse an animation studio of being enslaved to theme-park rides.

Orr finishes by rounding off examples of what he loves in RatatouilleWall-E, and Up, finally stating:

Would Pixar even bother making those pictures anymore?

So the implication is that because these movies supposedly wouldn’t translate well to a theme-park ride (though they actually would, considering the Axiom is begging to be in Tomorrowland and Ratatouille has its own part in Disneyland Paris, which Orr even admits), he questions Pixar’s willingness to make great movies. You know, despite the fact that Coco comes out in November and virtually nothing about Pixar tells us that they’re disinterested in making great movies.

As I’ve pointed out numerous times here, Orr makes a lot of accurate observations, and I don’t blame anyone for believing Pixar really has lost their way. But it really depends on what you look to Pixar for. Even their worst films still contain a level of quality that far surpass the worst of the Disney movies and DreamWorks movies for that matter. It’s definitely true that they’re not putting out a slew of original breakthroughs almost every year like they once did, and yes, that is a shame.

But we also can’t discount that their competitors really have caught up to them in a lot of ways. And there are a ton of learning curves to managing a bigger studio that is no longer as unique and creatively compact as it once was. From what I can tell, Pixar has embraced this decade with a new caution, desperate to preserve its best material by investing in more conventional ways of making money. I’m not saying this is necessarily the best choice they could’ve made, and I don’t agree with all of their decisions since Toy Story 3. But all of this does mean that Pixar can still make the masterpieces we want to see from them.

In other words, I very much doubt a movie like Inside Out, heralded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, would have been able to come out if it weren’t for Cars 2 and Monsters University. These are movies that came out instead of failed concepts like Newt, and Pixar would have been in a tailspin if not for the box office they made off of Toy Story 3. You don’t have to like it, and hopefully this isn’t a new norm for Pixar, but it is the reality of a studio that has reached maturing age. It’s a different time for Pixar, but not necessarily a bad one.


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How ‘Big Hero 6: The Series’ Could Bring Back Tadashi

Big Hero 6 is being made into an animated series on Disney XD, set for sometime in 2017. For those of us still hoping for a Tadashi comeback, this is a good thing.

You can read a full transcription of the video above here

Hey friends, hope you enjoy the video this week. My new channel, Jon in Theory, is growing pretty well so far, and the feedback has been awesome since last week’s Doctor Strange video.

Be sure to send me your content suggestions, even if it involves topics I’ve already covered on this site. I’m even planning an updated Pixar Theory episode, which would be quite the undertaking. Again, send me any ideas you think are worth exploring.

One last thing: I want to plug my weekly live show yet again, The Pixar Detectives, which you can check out on Super News. Every Wednesday at 7pm (Pacific), Kayla Savage and I nerd out about Pixar and Disney movies, and we’ve been doing weekly giveaways, like Pixar T-Shirts, paperback copies of The Pixar Theory, and plenty more.

The audience on that show has become huge in recent weeks, and while that’s great, I’m definitely hoping more of you lovely readers check in as well to see what all the noise is about. Last week, for example, we did a live tutorial on how you can draw Doctor Strange as a Pixar character. Next week, we’ll be exploring Moana during an on-location pre-screening, so be sure to check that out, too.

Alright, that’s all from me. Let me know your Big Hero 6 theories in the comments below!


Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


 

 

Review: ‘Zootopia’ Is a Preachy Comedy, But Not In a Bad Way

zootopia review

Unlike the scores of other animated movies starring talking animals with clothes, Zootopia opens with a lengthy explanation for why the creatures of their world are “evolved” enough to stand upright and build cities. And it’s at this point that the predator vs. prey racial dynamics are introduced, setting the tone for what is mostly a two-note movie about how bigotry and tribalism can manifest when we work to “be anything we want.”

The hero for this adventure is Judy Hopps (voiced perfectly by Ginnifer Goodwin), a small bunny from the boroughs who dares to have a job mostly held by larger mammals and predators (for the sake of keeping things simple, the movie only features mammals).

That job is being a police officer in Zootopia, which is this world’s “big city” filled with hopes and dreams for animals of all shapes and sizes, or so it’s advertised. One of the unique flavors of this animated movie about culture relations is how these animals actually live amongst each other. Each part of the city is geared toward a different environment suited for different species, and we observe the implications of each location throughout the running time.

Often, these shared spaces bring about their own baggage for the creatures of Zootopia, and it’s no different for the first bunny to become a police officer. Judy Hopps passes at the top of her class, yet her family still worries she won’t be able to coexist with predators in such a dangerous environment.

For the first half of Zootopia, subtle details  like Judy’s unwillingness then willingness to carry around fox-repellent to protect herself illuminate some of the subtle prejudice sprinkled throughout. Only to come about in an unexpected twist that says something meaningful about the very tropes Disney has championed for decades.

zootopia review

Much of the movie centers around Judy’s reluctant friendship with a hustling fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) who helps her track down creatures going missing throughout Zootopia. Their teamwork is probably the most genuine chemistry we get in the first half of Zootopia, as their values are mismatched — though not exaggerated — enough to provide some bits for clever comedy. And ultimately, their relationship is what elevates the movie to being a must-see.

That said, the film suffers a few lingering flaws, such as a simplified resolution to the disappearing cases and some worn gags and dialogue that borrow a little too liberally from buddy copy movies, Chinatown, and The Godfather. But for the first time in years, it seems Disney is comfortable creating inside jokes for its movies, poking fun at Frozen on multiple occasions, as well as some of its other movies dressed up as animals.

Further, Zootopia has more of an imagination than any of the other recent Disney computer animated movies, even Big Hero 6. This is one of Disney’s most carefully considered and beautifully detailed worlds ever, as Zootopia itself actually feels like a world designed by animals.

Despite some of its weak points, Zootopia delivers a solid punch in the final act that will resonate with both adults and children. It will undoubtedly start helpful conversations among families concerning the prejudice and bigotry that coincidentally occurs between the police and civilians of America, for instance. But beyond all the messages and preachiness of Zootopia, there’s a sincere cast of characters who make these challenging themes come to life in the best way possible.

Grade: A-

 

Extra Credits

  • Some of you may be wondering if I now agree with Germain Lussier that Zootopia is the best Disney film in 20 years. I don’t, simply because Mulan is stronger, but I can understand why many people will prefer this to FrozenWreck-It Ralph, and Tangled.
  • And then there are people who say this is the best since Beauty and the Beast. Those people need to calm down.
  • Sitting through the first half of Zootopia is not easy, actually. I thought it dragged quite a bit, and a lot of the jokes didn’t land for me. Things pick up Frozen-style later on, but you’ll still be entertained enough by the amazing visuals to let it slide.
  • What they did with Nick Wilde’s character was genius, restraining from making him yet another “Han Solo” type. Wish they had been kinder to Bogo as a character, though Idris Elba does his best with this annoyingly familiar police chief.
  • I did not care fro the “Shakira Gazelle” thing. It felt more like product placement than a real character existing in an animal city. Weird sentence, I know.
  • I wish I could get into spoilers, because there’s so much to talk about. Needless to say, this is akin to Frozen‘s dismantling of the “strangers falling in love after just meeting” trope, but with some more serious subject material. Disney better not lose John Lasseter. anytime soon.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Disney is Eating Pixar’s Lunch

disney pixar

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

This week’s Snarcasm will be a tad different and (dare I say it) a little more serious than usual. Rather than take down one of the worst articles on the Internet (which have been nothing but fan theories lately), I’m addressing some fear, uncertainty, and doubt crisscrossing the world of animation.

And it really needs to stop.

See, I’m all for criticizing Pixar when they deserve it (see Cars 2 and the third act of Brave). They’re not perfect, and we can all agree that mistakes were made in how they executed their latest feature, The Good Dinosaur.

But the groupthink has been reaching a bizarre consensus lately that ignores the triumph of Inside Out and yes, the underrated value offered by The Good Dinosaur. It seems that some people want  Pixar to be taken down a notch in the public eye because Disney Animation has been killing it lately with computer animated hits like TangledFrozen, and Big Hero 6.

disney pixar

Is that fair? Let’s dig in.

Germain Lussier at io9 writes:

Walt Disney Animation is Officially as Good as Pixar Now

Look, I know that the tagline for io9 is “Welcome to the Future,” but that doesn’t mean we can just skip ahead to a time period that doesn’t exist.

And I know that the last few movies made by Disney’s own animation studio have been big hits, but has anyone actually considered Big Hero 6 or Frozen to be better than Inside Out? Let’s read what Lussier has to say.

For several years, Pixar’s animated films made Pixar’s parent company, Disney, look good. And meanwhile, Disney’s own in-house animation studio was going through a rough patch—the company wasn’t making the kind of films people expected from Walt Disney’s namesake.

Lussier goes on to explain how most people don’t even realize that Pixar and Disney are separate entities. But a key thing he points out is that Pixar has long made their own movies outside of Disney’s control (even after Disney bought them).

just as Disney was releasing all those Pixar hits, Disney Animation—a branch of the company with one of the most amazing resumes in film history—was still releasing its own films. Films that usually, and unfortunately, were much less memorable.

These movies include decent but forgettable flicks, such as Meet the RobinsonsBoltThe Princess and the Frog, and other “nice tries.”

disney pixar

It took lots of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears—but with films like Frozen, Big Hero 6 and next month’s new film Zootopia, Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally done the impossible: It’s regained its former glory and can easily share the animation throne with Pixar.

First off, Zootopia hasn’t even come out yet. Lussier caught a screening and gave it high praise later in this article, but we have to just assume that his opinion will match everyone else’s. We’ll revisit this later.

But fine, let’s “welcome the future” and assume that Zootopia will be as good as the trailers make it look. Are FrozenBig Hero 6, and Zootopia enough to take this “animation throne?” And “easily” as he claims?

Lussier is at least half correct from a box office standpoint. Obviously, Frozen made tons of money well out of the reach of Pixar movies. But I hesitate to consider cold, hard cash other people have earned to be a reason for liking a movie.

And to be honest, I don’t even want to compare these movies because they’re so incredibly different. For one thing, Pixar movies are original, unique concept movies that make you fall in love with seemingly mundane yet lovable characters. Disney works to be more accessible with glossy characters and environments that are beautiful from the onset because they’re often derived from pre-existing stories. As a result they usually feel more like pretty art instead of affecting art.

I’m here to tell you things are just getting better. Last week, I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of Disney Animation’s latest film, Zootopia.It’s the best film Disney Animation has made in 20 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hope that Lussier is right about this because that’s great news for everyone. But watch what happens next.

Not only is it a film worthy of Pixar, it’s light years ahead of Pixar’s most recent movie, The Good Dinosaur.

Frequent readers know that I completely, absolutely disagree, considering The Good Dinosaur was my second favorite film of 2015 and one of the few films I gave an A+ last year. And while plenty of people agree with Lussier’s sentiment, many also find The Good Dinosaur to be an underrated gem like I do.

disney pixar

And then he says this about Zootopia:

Now, is it as good as Pixar at its best? Inside Out or Toy Story good? No, probably not.

Wait, let me get this straight. Disney Animation’s best film in 20 years isn’t as good as one of Pixar’s most recent movies?

Do you see why I chose this article for Snarcasm? It’s obviously well written, and Lussier is a very smart person. But for whatever reason, people are making grand conclusions about the quality of Pixar based on very slim arguments. If the best Disney animation movie isn’t even better than Inside Out, then how can you even argue that the studio itself is “just as good?”

Lussier seems to be basing his argument on the fact that he thinks The Good Dinosaur sucks, but that’s just one movie. And he’s also saying that the pinnacle of Disney isn’t as good as the best of the Pixar movies. So why say they are easily just as good?

I guess it frustrates me because Inside Out proved so well that Pixar hasn’t slipped the way so many people claimed they would over the last few years. And now we’re already hearing the narrative that Disney Animation is getting better while they’re getting worse, and it’s just bonkers.

And yet even with all that, there are other factors in play here too. Disney Animation and Pixar now create films in the same way, and share creative resources, so the two balancing out makes sense.

Pixar movies and Disney Animation movies aren’t even remotely similar. Can you honestly say that Frozen and Tangled are legitimately made like Pixar movies? These are fairy tales that are built up on source material. Wreck-It Ralph comes closer, but it also relies on a huge list of existing entities to make its video game world come to life. And Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel Comic of all things.

disney pixar

Well, loosely.

Meanwhile, Pixar creates entire worlds. They make you feel for rats, monsters, and even the very idea of emotions. Their creativity is absolutely unmatched when they’re at their best. Even The Good Dinosaur pushes animation itself in ways Disney has barely touched (aside from Big Hero 6) with effects shots and photorealistic landscapes that actually contribute to the narrative.

They may be in the same sport, but Disney and Pixar are in two very different ballparks.

Plus Pixar’s films were so successful in the past, Pixar’s begun to make more and more sequels (Monsters University recently, plus Finding Dory, Cars 3, Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2 coming soon)

Just keep in mind that Pixar has only made one lackluster sequel. We still don’t know if they can pull off another Toy Story 2, but I’d bet money that Incredibles and Finding Nemo are worthy of the challenge. Lussier sort of points this out as well and even makes the case that Disney is also making sequels for its popular movies with Frozen 2.

But none of that changes this basic fact: From a time when Pixar was ruling everything and Disney Animation Studios was making Treasure Planet and Home on the Range, things have once again aligned. Disney has not only gotten back to the high bar of quality set by Pixar, but that of its namesake, too.

I agree that Disney is back on track when it comes to recapturing its former glory, and Pixar’s own John Lasseter is a key reason why this is happening (Lussier also points this out). But the idea that Disney is somehow on the same level because they’ve made a few good movies in a row is a gut reaction, not a careful analysis. Pixar consistently makes superb, excellent movies, while Disney Animation makes good, sometimes great movies.

disney pixar

And if you don’t agree, then just try to tell me which current Disney movie even comes close to matching Toy StoryIncredibles, Finding NemoUp, and now Inside Out. Because not even Lussier could seem to do that.

One of these days I need to put together a full analysis on The Good Dinosaur and why I consider it to be vastly better than it gets credit for. While I’m not worried about Pixar’s foreseeable future because of the box office failure of that movie, it hurts to know that a movie with so much effort put into it is being considered worse than movies that are, at their core, deceptively generic.

At any rate, I’ll be seeing Zootopia for myself at a screening next week, and despite everything we just talked about, I couldn’t be more excited. Isn’t it great to know that both Disney and Pixar are putting their best efforts into animation right now?

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

 

Frozen 2 Is Officially Happening, Which Is Great News (Even If You Hate Frozen)

frozen 2

Everything happened today.

At a Disney shareholder meeting in San Francisco this morning, Bob Iger revealed a wealth of new information about several big projects, including Frozen sequel (announced with John Lasseter), the release date and director of Star Wars VIII, and the name and cast of the first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One.

I already wrote at length about the latter Star Wars news here, which goes into more detail.

Honestly, it’s the breaking news about Frozen 2 that has me the most excited. Though it’s not the movie itself that has my attention.

See, it’s very surprising that Frozen 2 is being made. Disney has said many times that a sequel would never happen, which baffled many people who think Disney is missing a huge opportunity to milk this franchise to death.

But they’ve “seen the light,” so to speak, and yes, it’s great news for people who don’t care about Frozen. Why?

Because it sets a new precedent for Disney sequels.

Long ago, in a decade not that far away, Disney was completely averse to ever releasing sequels on the big screen. That’s why the Disney Renaissance sequels (Lion KingAladdin, etc) are all shoddy for the most part and direct-to-DVD.

Pixar, however, paved the way for how lucrative and critically acclaimed sequels can be if the studio badly wants to make them with Toy Story. Even the Monsters Inc. prequel and Cars sequel, though not culturally impactful on their own, generated a ton of revenue for Pixar.

If Disney is now OK with making Frozen 2, then that’s great news for Big Hero 6 fans like me who really want Big Hero 7 to happen. Now THAT’S a movie that demands a sequel, and I have zero doubt the talented group behind BH6 would love to continue the franchise if they haven’t already.

So rejoice Frozen fans and non-fans alike. Today’s a good day.

When Disney Makes A ‘Big Hero 6’ Sequel, They’ll Almost Certainly Bring Back Tadashi.

I’ve been hanging on to this theory since before I even watched the movie back in November. In fact, the movie itself almost confirms that this is what will happen when Disney ultimately makes the Big Hero 6 sequel.

Oh? You don’t think there will be a sequel?

Here we go.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Big Hero 6 is one of the riskiest animated movies Disney has ever made. Period. They’ve never spent that much money to make a film based on something so obscure. Even Wreck-It Ralph and Meet the Robinsons looked better on paper to a Disney executive.

And it paid off. On top of getting the Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Movie, Big Hero 6 made half a billion in the box office. Only Frozen and The Lion King have made more money than this film.

That, and it’s based off of a serial comic connected to Disney’s other money-making machine: Marvel. And if there’s one thing Marvel and Disney know how to do together, it’s making Marvel sequels.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Keep in mind that although Disney has traditionally shied away from making sequels to its flagship animated features, they’ve also learned from Pixar and even DreamWorks that sequels are worth doing if the creatives behind them want the story to be told.

That’s why even Wreck-It Ralph is getting a sequel, and Frozen is of course getting milked in all sorts of media. Even though it’s not in development yet, Big Hero 6 is almost 100% for sure getting a sequel. And it will probably be called…

Big Hero 7.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

That “7” will belong to a character we know from the first movie: Tadashi. I’m calling it right now. He’ll be a villain of sorts in the sequel, inevitably joining the team fully to add that number (after all, Big Hero 6 2 is just weird branding).

But wait! Tadashi isn’t a superhero. He’s not even alive!

Only one of those statements is true, considering he was a hero, as proven by your belief he died.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Let’s put on our flashback hats and revisit just what exactly happened to the older brother of Hiro Hamada.

Hiro wanted to get accepted into the robotics program at the university where his brother and friends attended. To do this, he had to impress Callahan amidst a competitive group of other scientific geniuses. Somehow, a fire broke out, trapping Callahan. Tadashi, Hiro’s older brother, ran back inside to save him, but the building exploded moments later.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Later, we learn Callahan survived by accessing Hiro’s microbots, but it appeared Tadashi didn’t make it.

Look, if you know anything about movies, it’s that if there’s no body, that character is alive. That’s just a rule. I’m not the one who made it up.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Second, the inclusion of a fire is tantamount to how this theory works. Where do you think it came from? Most likely, one of the inventions, and no one else apparently died from its flames.

I believe this invention had to do with nuclear energy. Why? Because Big Hero 6 (and Disney) is purposefully setting up Tadashi to be Sunfire, one of the original members of the first Big Hero 6 team and a prominent character in the Marvel universe.

One of the inventions, or even something special about the fire itself, must have given Tadashi abilities that would protect him from harm, ultimately transforming him into Sunfire.

Now, I imagine a good number of you already assumed this because you know certain things. Well, here’s some more ammunition for you to spread around.

Sunfire is a Japanese mutant (like X-Men mutant) who can absorb heat and turn it into plasma. In the comics, his mutant powers were triggered by radiation from Hiroshima. He’s been in comics since the 1970s as an Uncanny Avenger, member of the X-Men, and of course, a member of the original Big Hero 6 team.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

One important thing to note is that Marvel is currently forbidden from even using the word “mutant” in its movies, making it difficult for them to use any characters from the X-Men side of Marvel. But they have managed to find wiggle room with characters like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who have many affiliations.

The same can easily go for Sunfire, and his story arc is already perfectly progressing. When Sunfire reluctantly joins Big Hero 6 in the comics (after being found by Hiro, no doubt), he actually gets possessed by their enemy and becomes a villain.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

I doubt the movie would use this villain, who is known as Everwraith, because he’s literally the combined legion of souls destroyed by the atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s tough to write out. But Disney could easily find another way to leverage this story arc to create some compelling narrative surrounding Hiro and his lost brother.

After all, can you imagine a fight between Tadashi/Sunfire and Baymax/Hiro? That would make Revenge of the Sith look like The Babysitters Club.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

And hey, if Elsa can have ice powers…

My biggest evidence for this theory being true is the fact is that this all fits way too perfectly for Disney not to do it. I can’t even imagine what else the writers should or could do to make the sequel even bigger than the first movie, which frankly suffered from being too much of an origin story instead of a movie about superheroes actually being superheroes.

tadashi big hero 6 sequel

Big Hero 6 is one of the most beautiful animated films of our time, and a beacon of the Disney Revival. And that’s why I think it deserves a sequel that delivers a story that is just as sincere and passionate as the first one.

And hopefully, more of the team outside of Hiro and Baymax…


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

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

Best Animated Movie Of 2014

Best animated movie of 2014

This week on Now Conspiring with Jon and Maria, we debate the best animated movie of the past year. From How to Train Your Dragon 2 to the recent release of Big Hero 6, which film do you think deserves top praise?

Also on the show, we finally discuss whether or not  Interstellar is actually worth watching, along with an impromptu overview of the surprise hit, Whiplash. And stick around for some awesome discussion over the future of Toy Story 4.

Introducing for the second week in a row, guest Sara Peery! Hope you enjoy the show.

What’s your favorite animated movie of 2014?

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