Pixar Developing Monsters, Inc. 2?

It’s funny how the tides change so quickly. At WonderCon 2007, Brad Bird insisted that Pixar was not in the sequel business. Bird said:

“At Pixar, the bottom line is the story that you’re telling. And Pixar does not look at sequels as a financial plan. We feel we have a relation ship with the audience and that they believe in each movie we put out. We believe completely in every movie we put out. If I can come up with a story that is as good or better than that first film, then I’d love to return to that world, but it would have to be story first.”

After Disney acquired Pixar, Toy Story 3 was confirmed. Less than a year after Wondercon, Disney announced that the Emeryville powerhouse would be making a Cars sequel. And just last week at Comic Con, Monsters, Inc director Peter Doctor revealed to MTV that they have quietly been developing ideas for a sequel.

“We’ve thought about it,” “Monsters, Inc.” director Pete Doctor told MTV. “We’ve got a couple ideas.”

It seems to me that Pixar is in the sequel business. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti sequel. I’m just anti-bad sequels. And yes, most sequels are not The Dark Knight or The Godfather 2. Most sequels are made for money reasons rather than story reasons. So the question is, does the world of Monsters, Inc have enough laugh juice for a second movie? I’ll tell you this: I have a lot more faith in a Monsters, Inc sequel than I do in Cars 2.

Comic Con: Teasing Pixar’s Up

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Disney has released a sneak preview of the teaser trailer for Pixar’s Up. The full teaser will also be included on the upcoming DVD release of WALL-E. Other promotional footage shown at Comic Con touted the film as from the “creators on Monsters Inc, Co-creator of Toy Story, and Co-creator of Wall-E”. Pixar takes us “to a lost world where anything can happen and will happen.” Director Peter Doctor promises that “In Up, we’re taking you to a world you’ve never seen before, a place I didn’t know existed before.”

The setting will include fantastically weird mountains of South America – big rocks which scale high into the sky made from some of the oldest rock on earth. We got to see an entire sequence from the film, some of which was unfinished.

The hero of the film is a 78-year-old man named Carl Fredricksen, who walks around hunched over with a tripod cane. When he was a kid he met a girl named Ellie, who grew up in small midwestern town. The two fell in love and eventually got married. Her dream was always to explore the world and visit paradise falls, but as usually happens, life got in the way. They were never able to make good on their promise, and Ellie eventually passed away. Now Carl is a widower living alone in his small home. Developers are threatening to move him into an old folks home.

The clip we saw began as the people from the old folks home arrive, but Carl escapes by launching tons of brightly colored balloons from his roof, lifting the whole thing into the air. “So long boys!” A little girl in a high rise apartment looks on with excitement as the balloons go by her window. People in the street are in disbelief over what they see. The house floats by a window washer who is also shocked. And a flock of birds decide to join in on the journey. Carl looks out at the ground below and puts out sails which help him guide the house. He looks over at a photo of Ellie and kisses it. He’s finally beginning that journey they planned so many years ago.

Carl sits down comfortably in his chair and closes his eyes to rest. The house glides above the clouds. And all of a sudden, there is a knock at the door. Carl is in disbelief. He walks over to the door and looks out of the peep hole and sees nothing. But he still opens the door. And that is where the clip ended.

It was then explained that a 9-year-old wilderness explorer named Russell had stowaway on the house in an attempt to earn the final badge (assisting the elderly) he needs to become a senior wilderness explorer. The house eventually makes it to South America where Russell and Carl must slide to the ground using a garden hose. We were then shown more test footage of Carl and Russell dragging the house like a float in the Macy’s Day parade, with the floating home breaking through the leaves and branches high up in the jungle sky. Russel is tired and has to go to the bath room. He gets distracted and unhooks himself from the garden hose harness which results in Carl being dragged unwillingly into the air.

The film looks really interesting, probably their most untraditional film to date, which is saying a lot coming after WALL-E. The whole thing is very fantastical, like an American Hayao Miyazaki film.

“We’re all huge fans of his. He’s an amazing filmmaker,” said Doctor, who worked on the American translation of Howl’s Moving Castle. “Miyazaki pays so much attention to small details that make you feel like you’re actually there. And we’re trying to do that in this film as well.”

The film doesn’t really fit neatly into any genre category. Doctor relayed a quote of Brad Bird’s, insisting that animation is “not a genre, it’s a medium”. When asked to provide a one sentence logline, Doctor said: “Pixar takes you to a lost world, Its a love story and it’s a Pixar movie.”

It was also confirmed that Michael Giacchino, the composer of The Incredibles, Lost and Star Trek, is writing the score.