Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most successful and beloved studios in the world; and their creativity knows no bounds. Pixar has entertained us with a variety of stories, ranging from revolutionary ants and French cooking rats, to personified emotions and futuristic robots. Their movies have captured the imagination and attention of audiences of all ages.
In celebration of Pixar’s brand new movie Onward, a magical brotherhood story featuring the voices of Marvel-bros Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, we here at My Geek Space HQ look back on our favourite Pixar movies.
Note: Onward is in UK cinemas from Friday 6th March
Alex’s Choice : Finding Nemo
When I talk about a movie I love, it is usually implied I have watched it a million times. This is
not the case of Finding Nemo, a Pixar movie I have watched exactly twice: the first time, and
right before writing this piece. The main reason is that, as an adult, Finding Nemo was too
much. There are too many themes and issues to unpack for me to sit back and relax, to enjoy the colourful, exciting adventure a child might be seeing.
Finding Nemo is the story or Marlin, a desperate father who literally crosses the ocean to find
his long-lost son, Nemo. A genius setting makes it immediate for the audience to understand
the enormity of this task, the sense of impotence, and the amount of courage and faith
required to succeed: Marlin is clownfish, a tiny tropical fish living in the Great Barrier Reef.
Like the tagline reminds us: “There are 3.7 trillion fish in the ocean. They’re looking for one.”
Loss, coping mechanism, disability, mental health – these are just some of the topic
organically addressed and perfectly embedded in a Disney-esque plot, but I doubt a child
would be able to list them. What they will definitely know, though, is that you can survive
tragedy, that your mental of physical disability doesn’t define you, and, above all, that for
every scary, mean person out there, there is an ocean of kindness to help you reach your
Maria’s Choice: Wall-E
Wall-E is by far one of my favourite Pixar films. Not only for the extraordinary script but also for the message it carries. This film might be already ten years old but it’s message is more current and pressing than never. Wall-E tells us the story about a forgotten garbage robot in our forgotten Planet Earth. After it was consumed by greed, one global corporate entity and humans that couldn’t care less about Earth, everyone was forced to live in a spaceship for decades. Not really that far from where we are currently headed. But here is what I love, everything in this story is from the perspective and experience of robots. We learn about how to be human again, to value real relationships and things that bring us joy, from an Artificial Intelligence. It’s almost like a coming of age film but it’s characters are growing emotionally. It has great references to previous Sci-fi classics, a beautiful soundtrack and the lack of dialogue doesn’t take away from real storytelling (made me reminisce about Fantasia). The robot squad is full of personality and we really wanna be a part of their lives. Also, musicals are important.
Amie’s Choice : Inside Out
I’m a huge Pixar fan and I love many of their great movies, but Inside Out is ultimately my favourite for many reasons. I remember watching it for the first time at a stylish cinema in Central London, on the first day of its UK release. The timing of this movie couldn’t have been more important to me, and I honestly learnt many life lessons from it.
Now, how do I begin to explain the psychological movie that is Inside Out? Well, it’s an intelligent movie that relates to adults as much as it does to children. It depicts the complex concept of the mind, and has prompted scientific analysis in numerous online articles. It also has become a useful learning resource for parents and educators in helping children understand emotions and feelings.
Inside Out uses filmic metaphor to illustrate the inner and outer worlds of its characters. The movie mainly takes place inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl called Riley, and follows five of her colourful emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger – as they guide Riley through her life. Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) is the perky dominant emotion, and we meet her shortly after Riley is born. She’s closely followed by Sadness (Phyllis Smith from TV show The Office) who Joy clearly doesn’t see the need for. As Riley grows, we meet the other major emotions and explore the inner workings of her mind. Then Riley’s world is turned upside down when she and her family move to a new city. Riley struggles with the transition in her life and her close relationship with her parents suffers. The movie highlights a pivotal time in young Riley’s life, as she is growing up and starting to lose her childhood memories. Her emotions are faced with the sudden changes in Riley’s life and personality, and they all try to guide and protect her during this challenging time.
This movie is an emotional rollercoaster, and it perfectly illustrates the complex emotions of growing up; which everyone can relate to. For me, Sadness stands out as the star of the movie, as she unknowingly shows Joy how important Sadness is. She also teaches Joy that you need to embrace all of life’s emotions and not bottle them up; which is an important mental health message.
Pixar’s second movie release of 2020 is titled Soul, and it seems to have similarities with Inside Out, including the same director and co-writer Pete Docter. I’m excited to see this upcoming movie as it looks like a natural successor to the masterpiece that is Inside Out.