This is my entry for “P” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Some other “P” documentaries I’ve reviewed are Paris is Burning, Pelotero (Ballplayer), Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, Prohibition, and Punk’s Not Dead.
Title: The Pixar Story
Release Date: August 28, 2007
Director: Leslie Iwerks
Production Company: Leslie Iwerks Productions
This documentary tells this history of Pixar Animation Studios from the 1980s when the company was spun off from Lucasfilm, through their first seven feature films, and acquisition by Disney in 2006. Director Leslie Iwerks, who would later work on The Imagineering Story, takes a similar approach where she’s clearly showing a positive, company line but honest enough to show some of the less glamorous struggles.
The three key figures of Pixar that this documentary focuses on are Edwin Catmull, the company president with the computer science knowledge, John Lasseter, the animator and visionary, and Steve Jobs, the investor. Pixar staff, actors from Pixar movies, and industry figures like George Lucas and Roy E. Disney are interview subjects. I wish the movie had more detail on how they produced 3-D animation with computers, although I suppose it would be difficult to find an understandable way to explain the process in an entertaining way.
The movie inadvertently reveals that the Pixar studios employ almost entirely men, something I believe they’ve been trying to address in the year since this movie was made. It’s also hard to watch how the movie lionizes Lassetter when one is aware of later revelations of his sexual misconduct at Pixar. But if you’re a Pixar fan like me it is worth watching this movie for a behind-the-scenes peek. This movie would make a good double feature with Waking Sleeping Beauty, which covers Walt Disney Animation at relatively the same time.