I watched a BBC 3 show the other night called ‘Pixar: 25 Magic Moments’ (that’s the iPlayer link, it’s worth a watch if you have a spare hour) and it really brought home just how phenomenal this little studio is. Look at their list of films:
- Toy Story
- A Bug’s Life
- Toy Story 2
- Monsters, Inc
- Finding Nemo
- The Incredibles
- Toy Story 3
Not a bad one in the bunch, and the majority are exceptional. If it wasn’t for Cars, we’d be able to watch every Pixar film, without having read any reviews, in the surefire knowledge that it would be excellent. Now we can only watch in the knowledge that it will be, at worst, merely good.
Any studio whose first feature is of the quality of Toy Story is already well on the road to greatness. Pixar’s roots go back to the day when John Lasseter, a Disney animator, saw Tron. He was inspired by its mix of computer graphics and live action and pitched a computer-animated film to his bosses. They didn’t like it and they let him go. He moved to Lucasfilm but the graphics division there was sold – to Steve Jobs! That’s when Pixar was formed.
Of course, Pixar had the last laugh as they ended up being bought by Disney, who had presumably realised (far too late) that traditional animation was on the way out.
Actor John Ratzenberger (formerly of tv series Cheers) is a very lucky man. He’s had a part, some large and some small, in every single Pixar film. That’s quite a record. There’s even a joke at his expense in the outtakes for Cars. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I can’t find a Youtube link. There is one, though, for the outtakes of Toy Story 2:
I love that Pixar do this. It’s an animated film – producing outtakes takes a lot of time and money that isn’t really necessary, but they are very funny, mostly by nature of being made up!
The quality of the computer graphics is incredible. Picture the hairs on Sully in Monsters, Inc, all individually animated, or better yet, watch this sequence from Wall-E:
Here’s my favourite Pixar scene. I’ve never even seen Up but I saw this clip a while back and it’s lovely and heartbreaking at the same time.
That sequence is too sad to end on, so here’s a funny scene from Finding Nemo which I think is my favourite Pixar film – although I’m still yet to see Ratatouille or Up.