I’m not sure that the winning formula for Pixar is to revisit our favourite characters. There seems to have been a subtle sea change since the Disney buyout/ takeover/ merger (whatever you wish to call it) in 2006. Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up proceeded the transaction from 2007 to 2009, but all would have been in full swing at Pixar at the time of the merger. So the first bone-fide feature to be green-lit under the Disney/ Pixar umbrella was Toy Story 3. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Toy Story 3 was the best of the set and a fitting conclusion to the narrative arc of Woody, Buzz et al. But since then we’ve had Cars 2, Brave and now Monster’s University – sequel, Brother Bear retelling, sequel. I enjoyed Cars 2 and was moderately taken with Brave.
I also enjoyed Monster’s University. A nice answer to the “how did Mike & Sulley meet?” question. It tipped its hat to the original with the use of the same style of “hand-drawn” animated credits at the beginning of the feature and it was great to see other characters from the original cropping up. But it was good. And let’s not kid ourselves, there are a fair number of animation studios out there that would kill to be “Pixar good”! And that’s just it. Pixar raised the bat to dizzying heights, peaking with the quadruple-whammy that was Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up & Toy Story 3. We wished they could go on ad infinitum, producing animated features that not just pushed the envelope of what was technologically possible, but what could also be considered as bold story choices. Monster’s University was good. But I don’t want good from Pixar.