Pixar Week: Why Do We Love Pixar Films?

Family GeekMom TV and Movies
We can't help ourselves, Pixar knows how to make everyone relate to their characters, whether they're toys, fish, robots or (in this case) superheroes. Photo: Dave Vollmer.

During these weeks leading up to the release of Brave, we GeekMoms have been happily discussing our favorite Pixar films, our favorite characters, and our favorite storylines. Also, we’ve been sharing memories of our first Pixar films and our first experiences with taking our kids to Pixar films on the big screen.

I shared my story of our September 2004 evacuation for Hurricane Frances. We had one kid’s DVD for our brand new portable DVD player: Finding Nemo. What do you think we listened to for 12-hours in each direction? “Just keep swimming…just keep swimming…just keep swimming….”

Which leads to the question: Why do we GeekMoms love Pixar so much? Why aren’t we this excited over, say, Madagascar 3?

Because the Pixar directors, writers and artists are GEEKY! That’s why! And by “geek” I mean the pop culture definition of the word: someone with an above-the-standard level of knowledge about a topic. The Venn diagram shown here says it best.

When Pixar decides on a story, they go big or go home. We all understand the level of detail their animation has. We also all understand the incredible storytelling that goes on.

But the thing I love the most is the research efforts the studio puts into the story and the animation.  They’re trying to tell stories from very unusual perspectives and they spare no expense ensuring the perspective is scientifically accurate.  Many of the Disney DVDs and Blu-Rays include documentaries about the research trips and classes that the writers, artists, and directors offer to those involved in making the films.  We enjoy those as much as we do the feature films and the shorts.

I offer you this list of examples of research efforts in their films.  Hey Pixar, do you need a meteorologist?

  • And I’ll leave you with Ratatouille.  A lesser-known Pixar film that I happen to love because of my passion for cooking. Crew members spent time in Paris learning the geography and culinary culture in which they’d be telling the story.  But many challenges faced them, such as animating Paris’s sewer system — and a bunch of rats swimming and rowing in it!  The Pixar artists tackled CGI-rendering of gourmet food in painstaking detail, taking cooking and food presentation classes from a Pixar set designer who also had formal culinary training, as well as with internships in San Francisco’s finest restaurants. Learn more about Ratatouille’s research on Wikipedia.
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