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Beyond Infinity: The Future Of Pixar

Just a few short years ago it was very unusual to hear a bad word said about Pixar. The Emeryville based animators were modern-day cinema's golden-boys (and girls), knocking it out of the park time and again- both critically and at the box-office. Yet more recently, the tide has turned. While their films continue to bring in big bucks, the fans have seemed to have turned on them in great numbers. Every mention of Pixar these days comes complete with complaints that they are just not what they once were.

It's true that since the high of Toy Story 3, their output has not been their best. Cars 2 was critically savaged, and Brave and Monster's University had mixed receptions. But having had an almost unprecedented run of such unparalleled quality it was perhaps inevitable that their luck had to run out eventually. Many blame the Pixar/Disney merger for this supposed decline, suggesting that their increased reliance on sequels is at least partly down to losing their independence. Compare this to the fortunes of Disney themselves, who have had a very strong run of late, thanks to Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and most of all Frozen. The latter has even surpassed Toy Story 3 in the all-time box-office ranking.

But we say.. not so fast! We at AFA don't really subscribe to the notion that Pixar's best days are behind them. Sure, the increased numbers of sequels is a shame, but it's not as many as Dreamworks pump out. To really get a grip on where Pixar are headed though, you need to look into their future. 2014 is the first year since 2005 that we've not had a new Pixar film, but beyond that there's a lot to look forward to. There may be a few sequels incoming, but there's also a number of very interesting sounding original films too- two next year alone- that could very well be the next Wall E or Up. So there may have been a few bumps in the road but it's far too early to be writing off Pixar completely. 
Take a look at the Pixar's upcoming slate and see if you agree...


The Good Dinosaur (2015) 


Frankly "Pixar does dinosaurs" is enough of a pitch to sell this on its own. It's instantly appealing to the inner child in us all -unless, I guess if you were one of those rare kids who didn't go through a dinosaur phase. The film will deal with the friendship between a dino and a human named Spot,  and it was originally planned for release in 2014. It has been delayed due to production problems, and original director Bob Peterson (co-director of Up) has reportedly left the project. Before you get overly concerned though- it's worth remembering that numerous other successful Pixar flicks have had similar behind the scenes troubles and changes of staff, from Toy Story on.

Inside Out (2015)

Peterson's Up co-director Pete Docter is helming next year's other Pixar film Inside Out. Of all the studio's upcoming releases this has the most intriguing pitch- it is a story told from the perspective of the emotions inside a little girl's brain. Not only does this idea have huge potential, but the decision to tell the story from a female perspective sets it apart from most of Pixar's output. The voice cast includes Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, while Toy Story 3's Micheal Arndt returns on screenplay duty.

Finding Dory (2016).

The ocean world of the classic Finding Nemo gets a welcome return visit in Pixar's next sequel. The plot is currently under wraps, although the title itself gives us a pretty big hint to where this one might be going. Most of the original cast will return from the 2003 original, with the exception of the (now adult) voice of Nemo himself, Alexander Gould.

Untitled Dia De Los Muertos Project (TBA)

Very little is known about the next film from Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich. What we do know is that the film will somehow revolve around the Mexican festival of Dia De Los Muertos... or "The Day Of The Dead". Disappointingly, it has nothing to do with zombies. Still, this sound very much unlike anything else the studio has produced so far... so consider us well and truly intrigued....


Cars 3 (TBA)

OK, so maybe nobody over the age of 8 asked for this, but it's coming anyway. Although the second film was a bit of a clunker, the original was perfectly charming, if nowhere near the studio's best work. So well keep an open mind, if that's all the same with you. If nothing else, this will probably help bankroll the next Up or Ratatouille


The Incredibles 2 (TBA)

Now this is the sequel we've all been waiting for. Since the original came out Superhero movies have exploded somewhat, so it'll be fascinating to see how this sequel reacts to that. With original director Brad Bird currently being distracted by his jaunt into the world of live-action, it could be some time before we see Mister Incredible and family make their much anticipated return.


....And beyond?

Although Toy Story 3 was a perfect ending to the story of Woody, Buzz and co, rumours persist that Toy Story 4 is on the cards. With the trilogy-closer earning more than a billion dollars, it's hard to imagine the House of Mouse would leave it there. On the other hand, the Toy Story franchise is being kept alive with occasional shorts, and perhaps that's the way to go, rather than risking tarnishing the reputation of what is arguably their greatest film to date. Toy Story 4 or no, animation fans still have a lot to look forward to from Pixar in the near future.