Watch The Pixar Story
- 1 hr 27 min
The Pixar Story is an engaging and insightful documentary that charts the rise of the animation studio Pixar, from its earliest days as a small graphics company to its current position as one of the world's most successful movie studios. Directed by Leslie Iwerks and narrated by Stacy Keach, the film features interviews with many of the studio's key personnel, including John Lasseter and Brad Bird, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the creative process that goes into making a Pixar movie.
The documentary begins by tracing the early days of Pixar, when it was known as the Graphics Group, and some of its founders were pioneering computer scientists like Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith. The company initially focused on developing high-performance computer graphics software, but its founders also recognized that there was potential in using these tools to make animated movies. This led to collaborations with Disney, which eventually led to the first animated feature film created entirely with computer graphics, Toy Story, released in 1995.
The film goes on to explore the creative process behind other Pixar classics such as Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and The Incredibles. What is particularly striking is the way in which it shows how these films are produced. Rather than relying on a single visionary director, the films are the result of a concerted collaborative effort involving numerous artists, designers, and animators working together to bring the story to life. The documentary shows how different teams work on different aspects of each film, from drawing up storyboards to creating and animating the characters themselves. We also see how Pixar's "Braintrust" system of peer review and feedback helps ensure that each movie reaches its full potential.
Throughout the documentary, there is a strong emphasis on the role of John Lasseter in shaping Pixar's creative direction. Lasseter was one of the first employees at Pixar and is now one of its most visible and celebrated figures. He is credited with helping to create the distinctive aesthetic and sensibility that characterize Pixar's films, as well as championing the company's commitment to storytelling and character development. The documentary also explores some of the challenges that Lasseter faced during his time at Pixar, including his creative differences with Disney executives that led to his temporary departure from the company.
Another important aspect of The Pixar Story is its exploration of the changing landscape of the animation industry. The documentary shows how Pixar's success inspired other studios to invest in computer graphics and how the industry as a whole moved away from traditional hand-drawn animation. The film also examines the challenges that Pixar faced as it shifted its focus from making original movies to developing sequels and prequels. This included navigating the tricky terrain of fan expectations while also trying to retain the studio's unique voice.
Overall, The Pixar Story is a fascinating and informative documentary that offers a detailed look into the world of animation and filmmaking. It shows how Pixar's success was the result of a unique blend of technology, artistry, and teamwork, and it offers a valuable perspective on the ways in which the animation industry has evolved over the past few decades. Whether you are a fan of Pixar's movies or simply interested in the art and craft of cinema, this documentary is well worth watching.
The Pixar Story is a 2007 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.