It’s as though Pixar’s storytellers are so good they have to handicap themselves. We’ve done bugs, monsters, and a culinary rat; what next? I know, we’ll make an epic romance between two robots who don’t speak. And yet it works. Great love story, unforgettable minor characters, and many moments of effortless physical comedy.
Of course, the absurd constraints Pixar forces itself to work under are in large part the reason for its success. We saw four trailers for forthcoming CGI animated movies, and it was immediately obvious that they were all going to suck. Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bolt, Madagascar 2, and The Tale of Despereaux: With these movies, it’s clear the animators and writers knew where they were going from pretty much the moment the high-concept pitch was pitched. But Pixar lives by the chess adage “If you see a good move, look for a better one!” And going with unlikely-seeming projects is a way of sweeping the obvious—and therefore trite—gimmicks off the table before they even get started.