Cultural Studies PIXAR -Finding Nemo to Wall-E

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In CS2.1 I discussed how toy story is an icon, but now I am going to broaden my field and look at a range of Pixar films. I will be talking about all Pixar's works from finding nemo(2003) to UP(2009) and discussing why some work was more successful than others.

Fig.1

Pixar has a very rich history of animation but I'm going to talk about a particular range of films, From Finding Nemo to UP. before Finding Nemo the only big CGI films from Pixar where the Toy Story 1 & 2, Bugs Life and Monsters inc. and the demand for 3D films hadn't been huge, but that was all about to change. once finding Nemo hit the screens children and adults alike went crazy for it. despite having a similar budget to Toy Story 2 of around $95M, Finding Nemo made more than any other Pixar film before and after, making $868M worldwide. This was until 2010 when Toy Story 3 was released. but why was it so Popular? well, the film opens with a beautiful shot over the reef as you can see in Fig.1, this shot is very vibrant and colourful and engages with the viewer immediately. and you feel immersed in the world and emotions of the characters. Roger Ebert (2003) said "One of those rare movies where I wanted to sit in the front row and let the images wash out to the edges of my field of vision." this film also has great animation. everything is animated with a realistic feel and I think this makes the film feel more real and professional.

The story of Finding Nemo in my opinion is the key to its success, with 2 characters who are opposite's, there's Dory who is overly optimistic and Marlin who is pessimistic. this is a classic setup of 2 characters in conflict, and has been used in films for years to great success. but this isn't everyone's view, Kevin Carr said "Monsters, Inc. just didn't have the overwhelming punch of story and characters from those earlier Pixar movies. "Finding Nemo" has even lessFig.2

" I can see what he means, especially in terms of adult humour and storytelling, but this film was aimed at sub 10 year olds, and designed from the ground up to appeal to this age group. despite this Finding Nemo still engaged deeply with adults, most parent's would tell you that losing their child is one of their worst fears, this makes you empathise with the characters and fell how Marlin (Nemo's Father) feels. Pixar's next film The Incredibles is almost the complete opposite to this.

released in late 2004, The Incredibles was a whole new idea from their previous films using a family of superheroes to tell a story. the story is lead more by suspense and thrill rather than emotional attachment to the characters. you still feel emotionally atached to the charecters but in a much different way, it is more like how a fan sees an idle. upon release The Incredibles received very mixed reviews compared to that of Finding Nemo, and in comparison made only $630M worldwide, despite having a budget close to that of Finding Nemo. I personally really like this film, more so than finding Nemo because of the thrilling and action packed story and much more relatable characters. but the story is one of the areas where the most conflicting views. everyone agrees that the animation and style are great but the story needs work. (Thomas Delapa, 2004) "Bird's intricate, colorful and super-kinetic action is a cyber equivalent of eye candy. It's also loaded with empty calories." I think what he means is the animation and aesthetic are great but there's no story or substance. as an animator I appreciate that The Incredibles was the first film where Pixar have used only human characters to tell the story, this was considered a huge leap forward, not only for Pixar but for 3D films as a whole. this was not the first 3D film to use human characters as the lead. polar express used human characters as the lead characters, but was much less stylised and this shows making less than half the prophet at the box office. the style of The Incredibles has been compared to that of the Eames brothers (slantmagazine, 2005) "Bird's Pixar wonderland is a triumph of Eames-era emotional frustration", and to that of that of the Jetsons. and this is clearly visible in fig.2-5.

as you can see the style is very similar to that of the 50's-60's. I think this style really works with the film as it did in the Jetsons. this style really lends itself to that of a utopian or artificial world and superhero characters. this style is also very similar to that of superman, a good example of this is fig.4 and fig.5 you can see the body shapes and proportions are very similar. but it doesn't stop there the whole world of the incredibles is very 50's, the cars, buildings and even the attitudes of the people, this all adds the aesthetic of the film. the incredibles was pixars 1st film that had non vocal music, but the music also plays a big part in not only pushing the story forward but it keeps you on this feeling of a utopian world. The Jetsons was praised in its time for its style and appeal and when The Incredibles was released this style was coming back into fashion and still is now. Pixar has stylised their characters in a particular fashion in UP but I'll talk about that later. the next film in the long list of Pixar films is Cars.

Cars was released in mid 2006 and is another story of self change and personal improvement. many consider Cars to be one of Pixar's worst films to date, making only $461M at the box office worldwide and receiving a rating of 74% on rotten tomatoes. but why? the story is based around Lightning McQueen a rookie race car driver, who discovers that life is not about the finish line but about the journey. I have always loved Pixar films and this one just the same, but