On Pixar's Sequels

This post and a few others circling around the web discuss Pixar's recent rash of sequels. I think this is a valid critique on Hollywood, in general, but misses two aspects unique to Pixar. Sequels are much more guaranteed money when making a movie - witness the success of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" even though the movie was poorly edited, and we know that Hollywood is hugely risk-averse. That's why Adam Sandler can keep making $80 million crappy movies that earn back their keep.

But with Pixar, we have the example of Toy Story, whose two sequels added to the story and, especially in the third, did something that an original movie cannot do by using the nostalgia of the first movies as a part of the story. Andy's departure to college meant something to all of us who were in elementary school when Toy Story came out, and that amazing scene in the incinerator grabbed us because we knew these characters, and had known them for a decade. It's like the death of Coulsen in the Avengers - we knew that guy.

So I'm tempted to give Pixar its due. I'm sure there's a component of money-making in these decisions - see "Cars 2" and merchandising - but I want to revisit these characters and get something that most movies - and most sequels - don't offer.