As Movieline also points out, Planes isn't the first time we've heard about a direct-to-DVD sequel for a Pixar property. Toy Story 2 was initially developed for home video before current Pixar/Disney Chief Creative Officer and Toy Story director John Lasseter stepped in at the last minute (well, 9 months before the release date) to convert preexisting material into a theatrical feature. What audiences received was far from the second-rate effort many feared. Toy Story 2 retained the original's strong storytelling, taking full advantage of the strides in computer technology that occurred in the intervening four years.
That's a long way of saying that we lucked out with Toy Story 2, but in that case, Pixar's best and brightest were working to deliver a high-quality, feature-length animated film comparable to the original. The fear many share right now is that once Pixar begins developing, producing, and releasing straight-to-DVD films, storytelling and visual quality will drop noticeably. Putting an optimistic slant on the news, Slashfilm's Russ Fischer suggests, straight-to-DVD titles will give younger, less experience animators the chance to prove themselves before moving on to bigger-budgeted, higher-profile (and higher-stressed) feature-length films.
I prefer to wait and see Planes before making any judgments, but I'm also concerned that the originality long associated with Pixar, a potent element of its branding success, will erode over time as Pixar and Disney attempt to exploit Pixar's back catalog, rather than focusing on developing and producing new, original content, something already missing from Pixar's upcoming slate (e.g., Cars 2, Monsters, Inc. 2).
So what do you think? Yay or nay on Planes? Yay or nay on Pixar/Disney's plans to move into the direct-to-DVD market?