Has Pixar lost its fastball?


Luca, Soul, Onward, Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2… the last five movies released by Pixar.

The other day, I saw an article blurb on the home page of an entertainment-news-based web site. It basically wanted to know why Pixar movies weren’t as good as they used to be. To that, I ask you to look again at that list of their most current five releases: Luca, Soul, Onward, Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2.

My response is simple: Pixar fading? They have to be kidding.

Out of that batch of five you can use words like classic, ground-breaking, extraordinary, and fun. All of them are good, enjoyable films. Not a clunker in there. Pixar is doing just fine, thank you very much. And the quality of their productions continues at a high level.

The crazy thing is, any run of Pixar’s history includes this type of quality. Tenth through fourteenth movies? That would be Up (and, we could just stop questioning anything about this group of movies after the segment featuring Carl and Ellie, which is beyond masterful), Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University.

The point is, at any point in time since their first feature film releases, Pixar has a movie in production that any studio would be proud to claim as its finest work ever.

Let’s step to the side for a moment and consider another Disney branch. Marvel. It seems as though every Marvel project is greeted by explorations of the company’s latest challenge. Can they survive using what many would consider a b-list of heroes? Iron Man took care of that. Can they create a watchable film that has a decent story and treats an ensemble cast with respect? Avengers-based efforts answer that one. What to do after Iron Man? Can they work with Sony to keep Spider-Man on screen? Will the Disney+ efforts be good? And with every new effort, the questions are rephrased and asked again.

Eventually, you have to stop questioning things. Undoubtedly, there will be projects that don’t reach the levels of the legendary stuff. But the success and quality overall eventually comes to reflect both the company whole and the individual projects.

Back to Pixar. Same idea. When you look over the roster of films, shorts, and more, there comes a point where Pixar gets a nod for what they’ve done and continue to do.

So, why do people do it? Why are they waiting to see the giant trip and fall? And, it creates a funny twist… after so much consistent quality, does one or two misfires really reflect troubles? And for the answer, I’m headed back to Up.

The sequence I mentioned a moment ago is, for me, one of the most amazing sequences in any motion picture. It involves Carl and Ellie getting married, buying a home, and sharing their lives. It contains moments of unlimited joy and incredible heartbreak. It is life and love and so much more. Smiles and tears. Not a moment of dialogue. Perfection.

There are people that look to Inside Out and Brave and any of the other Pixar films, and they see moments that have the same impact upon them that the stretch of Up has upon me.

I suppose it’s in out nature to wonder when the ride will end. That’s the big question about life, right? Well…


Stop wondering about if or when the Pixar run will end. Just enjoy the ride they’re offering.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com