Monday, August 31, 2015

Pixar Filmography: Major "Emotion" Pictures

August 31, 2015

As a companion piece to my review of Inside Out (which you can read here), here’s a look back at some of Pixar’s previous films, particularly those that deal emotionally with childhood and/or growing up.

Toy Story series (1995, 1999, 2010)
Jessie and Woody in Toy Story 2
This series chronicles the relationships between toys and their owners, as well as the fear of being outgrown and forgotten (much as Bing Bong experiences in “Inside Out”). Yet, there’s the theme of taking advantage of the time spent with children while it’s given. Says Woody (in a worthy proclamation for father figures everywhere), “I can’t stop Andy from growing up. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

a bug’s life (1998)
Flik and Dot
Young ant princess Dot feels held back from doing impossible things, like trying to fly. Flik, a shunned worker ant in the same colony, and whom she looks up to, encourages her to think of herself as a “seed” who just needs some time to grow, and have patience that one day she will do great things. She even returns the favor later on.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Boo and Sulley
After a little girl from the human world named Boo stumbles into the monster world through her bedroom closet, and into the lives of buddies Mike and Sully, the latter eventually becomes a surrogate father figure and protector for her as they try to return her to her home. Sully soon learns there are better things in life than becoming the most popular “scarer” in the world, and chooses humility and friendship over pride and recognition.

Finding Nemo (2003)
Nemo and Marlin
Marlin the clownfish loses his son Nemo one day and sets out on a journey to find him. Along the way (and with the help of a forgetful but lovable fish named Dory), he learns to be a better, less protective, father, and allows his son to grow and discover life.

The Incredibles (2004)
Dash and Violet
The Par children, Violet and Dash, struggle with keeping their true identities a secret (e.g., Dash’s speed and Violet’s invisibility and force fields), as well as angst in being persuaded to try and live “normal” lives. (Dad Bob Parr, at the same time, has a personal distaste for mediocrity.) Dash desires to be on the track team but is held back by his mother, Helen. He argues,

“You always say, ‘Do your best,’ but you don’t really mean it. Why can’t I do the best I can do?”
Mom: “Honey, right now, the world just wants us to fit in. And to fit in, we just have to be like everybody else.”
Dash: “But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of. Our powers are what make us special.”
Mom: “Everyone’s special, Dash.”
Dash: “Which is another way of saying no one is.” (Wow.)

As for Violet:
“What do you know about normal? What does anyone in this family know about [it]?!? . . . We act normal, mom! I want to be normal!”

When Bob (secretly Mr. Incredible) goes missing, Helen (secretly ElastiGirl) and her stowaway children set out to get him back. Along the way, Helen learns to really value her children for their “powers” and their identities.

Up (2009)
Russell and Carl
A young Carl Frederickson and friend Ellie (whom he later marries) make a promise to go to South America and have amazing adventures. As they get older, though, life gets the best of them, from insurance payments to infertility and eventually to Ellie’s death. On Carl’s self-quest to South America, stowaway Boy Scout Russell becomes a surrogate son to him, and he eventually learns that the greatest adventures are with the ones we love.

Brave (2012)
Merida (left) and an unexpected companion
Princess Merida’s relationship with her stern and demanding queen mother are put to the test when she defies tradition, changes her destiny, and soon has to reverse a curse she has brought not only upon her mother but her entire kingdom as well. Present in this medieval period adventure are themes of not only mother-daughter relationships, but also of identity, responsibility and, yes, bravery.

Inside Out (2015)

Riley goes through a rocky stage in life when she and her family move from the Midwest to San Francisco. Internally, Joy and Sadness get sucked out of Headquarters, leaving Anger, Disgust and Fear in charge. As they try to get back, they (and audiences) discover how each of our emotions—even the ones we believe don’t mean anything—play a significant role in our lives, including the fact that happiness isn’t everything.

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

It’ll be another couple of months before this film comes out. But according to the recent trailer (watch below), we not only get a “what if” scenario of dinosaurs still living on earth, but also an unlikely friendship between a young Apatosaurus and a human boy (think a twist on a boy and his dog), and a glorious portrayal of the relationship between species and nature.

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