7 hours ago
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Pixar is turning 25 and for me it's hard to remember a time without Woody and Buzz, without Mr. Incredible or Dory or Dug. I watched a fascinating documentary a few years back on the evolution of Pixar, from its beginnings at Disney to its eventual return, and one of the things they emphasized was the desire to tell stories, rather than sell merchandise. Watching a scene like the one above, you can see that philosophy at work. When we watch toys going through existential crises or tear up as a monster has to say goodbye to a little girl, we know that here is a different kind of film-making. Pixar believes in the power of the pause, in the strength of silence, and of allowing their characters to be unmarketable old curmudgeons or rats or ants. How else can we end up with a film where nearly all the characters don't speak english (like Wall-E), or a tale about the indignities and fear that come with getting older (like Up and Toy Story 3). These are not the topics that most animation studios would have been brave enough to tackle before Pixar blazed the trail, and because of them we have a new generation of more sophisticated family films; they made Shrek and Toothless the Dragon and Po the Panda possible, and so many others.
For Pixar, the story comes first. I, for one, hope that they spend another 25 years making us cry like babies at least once in every film.