Sunday, July 04, 2010

Those A-holes at Pixar

Pixar has addicted my children to their crack story telling. Their totally addictive, smart, heart-felt, original and straight as an arrow story telling. My 20 month old asks for Nemo. She knows maybe twenty words - one of them is Nemo. Come on, that's nuts.

The only Pixar movie that hasn't gotten rave reviews (rave reviews meaning the endless repeats) is UP. But hey, not every movie can be about robots. Some have to be about bitter, heart-broken, marginalized widowers and talking dogs.

And there's a lot of things I can break down about the magic of Pixar. The purity of their characters. Their fearlessness. Their casting... I could go on. But what I think it all comes down to is; it's the same guys working on these movies. The same five people in different rotations, banging out the story, fleshing out the characters, building the world. It's teamwork.

And it's amazing to me on a couple of fronts:

1. Everyone has a clear understanding of the standard. It's excellent or it's nothing. Anything that's not excellent goes away. This has to mean an INCREDIBLE LACK OF EGO. That's a lesson I feel like I'm getting better at, but still, it's not easy putting aside things you love or you think work, because it doesn't 100% serve the story.

2. No one person makes it or breaks it. How freeing is that? I can come up with all sorts of ideas if not all of them have to be homeruns. I can go way out on a limb in terms of character or ideas, because I know if it falls apart, there's someone who can figure out how to fix things.

3. How freaking incredible is it that they found each other? Because that's a lot like a rock and roll band working on a movie. And from concept to finish those movies take years!! You've got to make all those relationships work on different levels. Amazing. What respect they must have for each other. Honestly, I don't think they could churn out the magic they do with such unerring consistency (widower movie aside) without really respecting each other.

And I'm torn between my kids for my favorite. Lucy loves Nemo and Mick loves Wall-E. It's like choosing between delicious chocolate and different, but equally delicious chocolate. How do they do that?


Sue said...

Just saw Toy Story 3 and while I wouldn't recommend it for younger children, it is incredibly fantastic. I laughed and then I sobbed. It was suspenseful and magical. The villain was deep, the motivations were clear, and the 3-d effects were amazing. Damn you, Pixar.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Blogger is not loving me at the moment - I've spell-checked this blog ten times and reposted it and it still shows all my crappy spelling. Hopefully now it will work.

Sue - I can't wait for Toy Story 3. The other one we haven't seen is The Incredibles. I've seen it, but it's a little too old for the four year old.

But man, they are clever and they are consistent.

Maureen McGowan said...

The Pixar movies are amazing. And I loved the widower movie... but my nephew HATED it. I think maybe it's their movie that only adults like.

My nephew (who's 9) found Toy Story 3 too scary... But he's a 9 year old who takes things a tad more literally than most kids (he has ASD).

How amazing would it be to be part of a team like that... I think sometimes we have that kind of synergy in our critique group -- on the good nights -- but ultimately each book is one author's work, not a collective.

Eileen said...

It would be amazing to work in that kind of environment. Amazing, but hard. My kids' school focuses on a lot of group work and I've seen how it makes my kids step up more. They don't want to let their friends and peers down.

I haven't seen TS3 yet. A couple people have warned me away from it as I have a kid leaving for college in the fall and a propensity to sob at movies. They think I should wait and see it on DVD at home where I can wail to my heart's content.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Group work... shudder. I was awful at group work in school. A complete control freak I tended to take over and do everything the way I thought it should be done issuing orders to those unfortunate enough to be in the group with me.

We typically got the A but now I see why the thought of critique group makes me cringe. I'm not the best team player. Which makes me admire those folks at Pixar even more.

Sinead M said...

They are amazing. The simplicity of their story telling, and the perfection of it..
They make me feel dumb.

But my kids love those movies as well.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Steph - I totally see what you're saying. I've been in some bad bad groups. But when you're in a group by choice and there's serious magic in it - that's freaking amazing. I think it's the power of not wanting to let people down combined with the inspiration that comes from working with like minded people.

Eileen - I too am worried about TS3 - the uncontrollable sobbing might ruin an otherwise lovely family outing...

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