In the nearly fourteen years since it first released Toy Story, the first completely computer-animated film in history, Pixar has somehow gone from a well-liked animation studio to the last, best hope of the Hollywood studio system, the final piece of proof many critics can point to and say, “See? The old system can work if you know what you’re doing.” Since the release of Toy Story, Pixar has gone through A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up, and nearly all of these have die-hard defenders who proclaim their film of choice to be a modern classic (well, maybe not Cars). The release of each new Pixar film in the summer can be rather predictably greeted with a spate of critical hosannas, but with a few exceptions, reviews of Pixar’s work often boil down to the following: “Pixar makes great films that both parents and their kids can enjoy!” And true though that may be, the studio has provoked surprisingly little solid critical discussion in mainstream outlets, outside of the annual attempts to rank Pixar’s latest effort against their former films.
Enter Pixar Week at The House Next Door, running Oct. 4-10, 2009, to coincide with the re-release of Toy Story and its sequel in theaters on Oct. 2.
What sorts of pieces are we looking for? Follow us after the jump for more.
We’re looking for any sort of writing you want to do on Pixar. I (Todd VanDerWerff) am an unabashed fan of the studio, and I’ll probably be contributing a piece or two along those lines, but if you absolutely hate them, we’ll want to read your contrarian pieces as well. We’ll be looking for arguments for and against the studio itself and the individual films in its history, examinations of thematic throughlines in the nine films the studio has released so far, angry rebuttals to prevailing critical sentiment about the studio, discussion pieces between people on different sides of the fence about the studio or one of its specific films or anything else you can think of. If you want to produce a video essay, go nuts. If you’d like to draw a Web-comic or do a podcast, go even nuts-er.
I’ll be taking care of scheduling the pieces and doing the editing, so feel free to contact me to pitch an article or two. If you want to do a piece at your own place, as well, we’ll be happy to link to it, even though this isn’t an official blog-a-thon. The best place to reach me to pitch article ideas is the e-mail address above (firstname.lastname@example.org), but you can also message me on Facebook or hit up my Twitter if you are too shy for e-mail. If you think you’ve got an idea, no matter how stupid, e-mail me, and we’ll see if we can’t find a way to help you write about it. If this works well, it’ll be both a celebration and a reconsideration of Pixar’s output so far, something there hasn’t been a great deal of from more mainstream outlets.
So, again, if you have an idea, e-mail me (or use one of the other links above). We’ll start up the fracas on October 4. And we’ll hope to see you (contributors and readers alike) there.