Getting Acquainted with Pixar

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In my constant quest to find something Disney-related on TV, I happened to find “The Pixar Story” on Netflix. On any other occasion, I would have a hard time sitting through a documentary, but being that this was “technically” Disney, I decided to give it a try.

Starting way back when, long before anyone really even knew what computer animation was, this 2007 movie gives you a bit of the history in to how this technology developed and helped to be the foundation for the Pixar Company. Because Pixar didn’t just begin when “Toy Story” was made, it was interesting to discover and learn about how they had actually come to be and how far they have grown since that time. Maybe I have been living under a rock, but I learned that Steve Jobs (of Apple) was a HUGE force behind Pixar! Where have I been, right?

The interviews are not only with the Pixar creators/animators, but Roy E. Disney and Diane Disney Miller (Walt’s daughter), as well as Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), and Billy Crystal (Mike Wyzowski). Their insights in to how they viewed being a part of such a new and innovative form of animation was quite interesting.

During one particularly interesting scene, John Lasseter (one of the founders of Pixar and former Disney employee) talks about how they got their ideas and visual for the movie “A Bugs Life”. They had created a tiny camera which they secured to Lego wheels and moved it through the grass outside of the original home of Pixar Studios! Actual footage was shows from these tapes so that you could see how the animators learned what the world would look like from a bug’s point of view. Pretty clever, I thought.

By the end of the film, what I walked away from it with, was that this was a company that was dedicated to making great films. There didn’t seem to be room for ego, the work environment that was created was designed to ensure the most creative place for these creative minds to work; something that I think comes through from the success of the Pixar films.

While Disney and Pixar have not always had the best of working relationships, the film keeps a fairly positive spin on it and we see how this joint venture really benefited both companies and how they are looking to the future to keep expanding it. John Lasseter is compared to the great Walt Disney himself and the very end of this movie (not by himself, mind you, but by his peers) and while I would normally take offense to that because in my mind, no one can possibly be as brilliant as Walt Disney, after you learn all that he did in the last 20 years for the world of animation, you’ll be inclined to agree.

This is just another great addition to the wonderful Disney/Disney-esque documentary’s to give you a fix when you may have a trip that is still far away or if you are just needing a Disney fix. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to sit myself back down with “A Bug’s Life” and be amazed and entertained yet again.

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