So I was just sitting around minding my own business when I saw a teaser trailer for Cars 3. It is about 43 seconds and, because I am such a wonderful friend, I linked it below.
Now that you have watched the trailer and are up to speed (no pun intended) what the jail was that? Is the Cars franchise not the bright, silly series of uneven quality that kids love to have on their lunch kits and book bags? Why is this so dark and gloomy? What does “everything will change” mean? Is Cars 3 getting the Christopher Nolan treatment? I really have no idea what they are planning but I doubt Pixar will be adopting a darker, grittier tone for their kid friendly franchise and 12th animated film scheduled for release June 2017.
Anywho this confusing teaser trailer got me thinking about Pixar prequels/sequels – the good, the bad and the indifferent. And you know what that means? Ranking time! The studio does not do a lot of sequels – they usually prefer quality over quantity – therefore this list is a short one. And 2018 is too long to wait for Incredibles 2! Too long! Breathe Julien, just breathe.
With a brightly animated SPOILER ALERT let’s count down the Top 5:
#5 Cars 2 (2011)
We just started the list and we are back to Cars again. Oh Cars 2 aka the single oil stain on the glorious waxed finish that is the Pixar repertoire. While the original Cars was a fun romp about fame hungry rookie race car Lightning McQueen learning about sportsmanship, someone had the bright idea the make the sequel a generic spy thriller focusing on dim witted, bumbling tow truck sidekick Mater. Now Mater is funny in small doses but an entire film of him was way too much.
A spy story would have been cool for a short or a straight to video movie but for the theatres we wanted more Lightning and his racing adventures. Moving from Cars to Cars 2 was like going to a Grand Prix and instead getting a box cart race. Yes it’s still fun and moderately entertaining but not what you came to see and not what you paid for.
#4 Finding Dory (2016)
Next up on the list is the sequel to one of my favourite Pixar films Finding Nemo. Like Cars 2 it upgraded a previously supporting character to a lead but thankfully Dory was much more capable of carrying a movie than Mater. Generally I enjoyed this film and I liked the new characters, especially the grumpy octopus Hank and bubbly whale shark Destiny.
But Dory’s memory loss did start to get old after a while and though they tried to pull on my heart strings I was not as emotionally invested with her search for her parents as I was for Marlin’s search for Nemo. Still the film set a number of records including the highest grossing animated film opening of all time in America, though a lot of that was probably on the back of its much higher quality predecessor.
#3 Monsters University (2013)
Monsters University tells the story of how the protagonists of the hilarious Monsters Inc., Michael “Mike” Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, met at college. The only prequel on the list, I had a great time with this movie. I loved the college hijinks, new characters and change of setting. It felt like an organic part of the franchise and not an unnecessary cash grab. While it lacked some of the heart of the original this tale of friendship and doing the right thing still resonates and, of course, delivers on the laughs.
#2 Toy Story 3 (2010)
For our runner-up entry we come to the flagship Pixar franchise Toy Story. The second sequel finds Woody, Buzz and the other toys accidentally ending up at a daycare ruled by a tyrannical teddy named Lots-O’-Huggin’-Bear. This Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song winner was a wild old adventure. It was funny, sweet, touching and also had a sense of stakes and excitement. The scene at the end when Andy gives away the toys to the Bonnie is all of the feels. All of them! We will have to see where they go next for Toy Story 4 in June 2019.
#1 Toy Story 2 (1999)
When your film features on the list of greatest animated films of all time then you know that you have got something special. Toy Story 2 took all the wonderful things about the original and improved upon them. We have fantastic new characters like cowgirl Jessie, Barbie (yes that Barbie), old prospector Stinky Pete and the adorable Mrs Potato Head.
And the adventure to rescue Woody for an overzealous toy collector was like Mission Impossible but with toys! It is so witty and entertaining that you enjoy it with every watch. The very best of the Toy Story franchise, the best Pixar sequel and one of its best films ever (a list for another time).
So which is your favourite Pixar prequel/sequel? Feel free to comment below.
For more Disney love you can check out my review of Finding Dory here and my look at the Moana trailer here. And for more family friendly posts from redmangoreviews you can like the MovieVille Facebook page here and follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates.
Julien is to infinity and beyond! l8rs