With every new Pixar feature released, the critics’ community responds with a list of the studio’s output. Beginning with their debut (1995’s Toy Story) and concluding with whatever their newest release may be, the regurgitation of this material can make for a wicked case of déjà-vu. But as of recent years, the one revered brand in contemporary cinema has become just that: a brand. Once the purveyors of expanding the cinematic terrain with breathtaking and perceptive animated features, one need not look further than their 2011 effort, Cars 2 to see the chinks in the armor. As disappointing as that film may have been, their follow-up, Brave may have just been more crushing. Like that film’s lead character’s hair, the film itself was untamed, opting for broad hysterics rather than anything substantive. The news that the studio would be moving forward with a sequel to 2001’s Monsters, Inc did not bode well for the perception that Pixar has lost its touch.
Well, I’m happy to report that while Pixar may not have made the sort of instant classic in the same vein as Ratatouille , WALL-E, or Up, they’ve come to a happy medium – merging commercial intents with humanistic warmth and sharp comedic instincts.Read More