You may be wondering if there are eras of Pixar. Well there are. There are actually 3 eras of Pixar history, the Golden Era Toy Story to The Incredibles. The Merger Era from Cars to Wall-E and finally the Experimental Era from Cars 2 to Incredibles 2. A new Era is dawning that hasn’t been named yet and it will start with Toy Story 4. But let’s look at the movies from Pixar’s Golden Era
Much like Disney, Pixar has been around for a long time. They were originally called Computers Graphic Lab where they mostly sold large computers that didn’t sell very well. Overtime they began to have a relationship with Disney and began helping them with some of their movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and the Lion KIng. But it was time for Pixar to strike out on its own and make the first computer animated film, Toy Story. So Toy Story is basically Pixar’s Snow White. And this movie was an instant success. I remember everyone going crazy over the army men and Buzz Lightyear and seeing this awesome new world that Pixar had created. Toy Story is an awesome movie that has an awesome story and songs and is a real gem for Pixar. We love Woody and Buzz and all the rest of the toys. You can tell that it is computer animated and the people can look odd at times but they are still improving. By the time we get to The Incredibles, humans will look much better. This movie also started some of the famous easter eggs that appear in almost every Pixar movie including the A113 number, the Luxo ball, and the Pizza Planet truck. We all know the story. Toys come to life when their kid leaves the room and they all fear that they might get replaced by new toys. Then we meet Buzz Lightyear who is a toy space ranger but actually believes that he is a real space ranger. And we go from Woody and Buzz being enemies to the best of friends. And this movie has spawned a massive franchise that never seems to want to end. And I am ok with that. Toy Story is everywhere in the Disney Parks from meet and greets with Woody and Buzz, to rides and the new Toy Story Land that opened last year in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Toy Story fame has not died down and we will be getting Toy Story 4 in a few months. But we wouldn’t have any of it, if it weren’t for the original Toy Story. It’s the story that started it all and we all hope that it will never end.
A Bug’s Life
Now we must talk about the bug war. A lot was happening in the Disney company in 1998. Presidents were dying and successors were not getting promoted evil men left and founded a rival animation studio and started a bug war. The evil man’s name was Jeffrey Katzenberg and the rival animation studio is Dreamworks. And the Bug War he started was A Bug’s Life vs. Antz. Dreamworks would be a thorn in Disney’s side for years to come. While Jeffrey Katzenberg was at Disney, a bug movie was being developed by Pixar. So to prove that he was better than Disney, Katzenberg decided to make his own bug computer animated movie. His movie was called Antz and Disney or Pixar’s movie was A Bug’s Life. Both movies about ants, both movies about battling another insect species to survive and both starring beaten down heroes who are at the bottom of the colony who must rise from this and save their colony. Which is better? A Bug’s Life antennas down. The animation and story are much better than Antz. Plus the story is based on the famous Ant and the Grasshopper story. Flik is our outcast ant who likes to use his brain to solve problems and doesn’t believe that they should serve the grasshoppers. He goes in search of warrior bugs to rid them of Hopper and his gang. And we meet some awesome circus bugs who come to help out. One thing Pixar does great in the beginning that is, is make every character need to be there and each have their own character development. Dot is a cute royal ant who actually likes Flik, while Atta the future queen stresses over becoming queen and ruling a whole colony. And there are many others. A Bug’s Life is definitely worth the watch. While this movie has never gotten a sequel, it does have quite a large presence in the parks. Mostly in Animal Kingdom with the famous It’s Tough to be a Bug that is located under the Tree of Life which fits well since the ants in the story live under a tree. And in Disneyland there used to be A Bug’s Land, a land where you shrink down to the size of a bug and enjoy all the things that bugs like. A Bug’s Life is a great addition to the Pixar library.
Toy Story 2
We were so in love with Toy Story that we just had to have more so in 1999 we got Toy Story 2. Buzz and Woody are now best friends, but now they must worry about the day when Andy grows up and won’t play with them anymore. We see more humans in this movie that in the previous Toy Story and they are better animated, their hair looks real and they look like real people. Plus the backgrounds look better and overall the animation improves. And the story is great as well. We meet new toys and even have our first toy villain. Jessie is a toy who used to be owned by a girl named Emily. Since Emily sold her like she was nothing, Jessie now believes that humans including Andy would abandon her or forget her. Woody helps her see that being loved by a child is the best feeling a toy can have. Woody also learns that he is a rare and valuable toy. Buzz and the gang go after Woody when he gets stolen by an evil man. Our first villain is the Prospector who spent his life on a dime shelf watching every other toy get sold. So he has never been loved by a child and doesn’t have the desire either. His one ticket for meaning in life is for he, Woody, Jessie and Bullseye get sold to a toy museum in Japan. In the end Jessie and Bullseye become part of the gang and we learn that you’ve got a friend in Woody and Buzz. The animation not only improved with the humans but I also think that this is the first time we see fur in a Pixar film. In Toy Story we had the evil dog Scud who did not look like much of a dog, in this movie we see Andy’s dog Buster and you can tell that this dog is a mammal. That is what is cool about Pixar, each movie demonstrates a new feature of computer animation. As mentioned above Toy Story is everywhere in the Disney Parks and now Jessie can be met as a meet and greet character and she also appears in other Toy Story related places as well.
Now we enter the world of Monstropolis and learn why monsters appear under our beds and scare us while we are asleep. They scare because they care. Monsters Inc. gave us the vast world of Monstropolis were not one monster is the same. Some have fur like Sulley while others have one giant eye in the center of their body and are nothing more than a ball with arms and legs like Mike. They were at Monsters Inc. A place where monsters go into the human world to collect the screams of children to power the city. And Sulley is the considered to be the best scarer, even better than Randall Boggs, a monster who can blend in to his surroundings and hates Sulley. Life couldn’t be better for Mike and Sulley until one day Boo enters the city. Boo is a little girl who wandered into Monsters Inc. when a door was left open. The funny thing is, the monsters believe that kids are toxic to them and are actually scared of them. I just the plot in this movie. The monsters collect screams of children to power the city by the screams. So they have to act all scary and tough when in fact they are actually terrified of the kid that they are trying to scare. This is why Pixar makes good movies, because they pay attention to detail and good story telling. Along the way we learn that a child’s laughter is much more powerful than their screams. So now the monsters collect kids laughter instead of screams. Monsters Inc. also ha a strong presence in the Disney Parks. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is a show where the monsters bring you to Monstropolis to collect your laughs. I believe there is a ride in other Disney Parks as well. Monsters Inc. also spawned the first prequel made by Pixar. But more on that movie later. Monsters Inc. is definitely worth the watch.
This next movie to the world by storm and remains one of Pixar’s best movies, the beloved Finding Nemo. This movie showed us that Pixar can animate water and make us believe that we are under the sea. We see birds, all kinds of different fish and even some humans. Pixar keeps pushing the animation bar up and they deliver every time. But aside from animation that is beautiful, FInding Nemo is also a great movie because of the characters and the story they tell. Marlin is a overprotective father who lost his wife and most of his offspring. Now he swears he will never let anything happen to his son, Nemo. Nemo however wishes that Marlin would trust him and let him do things for himself. Because of this, Nemo gets captured and Marlin must now swim across the ocean to find his son. Along the way we meet the funny Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss. She immediately wants to help Marlin and stays with Marlin through the rest of the adventure. She helps Marlin learn about trust and helps Marlin do things that he would never do without her. Like swim with sharks, battle deep-sea creatures, speak whale, the list goes on. We also meet some other cool dudes like Crush and offspring Squirt sea turtles who ride the EAC. Nemo wants to get back to his father and the ocean. He gets captured by a dentist who takes him to his aquarium in his office. Nemo is going to be the present for a fish killer named Darla. But through the help of the tank gang Nemo is freed and now searches for his father. In the end they make it back together back to their reef. But now Marlin lets Nemo go have adventures and hangs out with sharks and swims with turtles. And Dory lives in their reef too. And they all enjoy the big blue world together. Finding Nemo is an awesome massive movie. I mean the ocean is pretty big. But Pixar animated this movie wonderfully and told a great story. Finding Nemo is everywhere in the Disney Parks. In Epcot we have the Living Seas with Nemo and Friends and it is an awesome dark sideways ride where you go though the events of the movie and enter into an aquarium where you can learn more about the animals featured in Nemo. You can also talk to Crush and he shares all of his knowledge of things in the big blue world. In Animal Kingdom there is Finding Nemo the Musical. A stage show that retells the story of Nemo but in song. It awesome and you should do it at least once. And there is a sequel to Finding Nemo called FInding Dory but more on that movie later. I would tell you to go see Finding Nemo but I know you already have, so go watch it again you won’t be disappointed.
And our last Pixar movie in the Golden Era is the Incredibles. A movie about superheroes and what would happen if the world decided that superheroes should only be normal people. So now these people with awesome talents must hide their powers and never be heroes. We meet the Parr family Mr. Incredible who has super strength and misses the glory days with he was a famous superhero. Elastigirl can stretch her body to make herself more flexible who misses the glory days but also wants her family to stay safe and hidden till the world needs them again. Violet is a shy girl who can become invisible and make force fields. She just wants to blend in and be loved for who she is. Dash is the competitive troublemaker who can run super fast. And then we have Jak-Jak who is just a normal baby. We see a lot more humans and they are better animated and don’t look as plastic as they did in Toy Story. We also have one of Pixar’s greatest villains Syndrome. Syndrome was idolized Mr. Incredible until he was given the cold shoulder by Mr. Incredible and this tore him apart. He decided to kill off real superheroes to find Mr. Incredible and once he did, Syndrome was going to find a robot and save the day and become better than Mr Incredible. This movie is full of action and is a fun superhero movie that is not from Marvel. Edna Mode is also a fun character. This movie has a presence in the parks but not as massive as the other movies of the Golden Era. But The Incredibles did finally get a sequel and it did not disappoint. See the Incredibles you won’t regret it.
So there we have it. Those are the movies from Pixar during their Golden Era. These movies established Pixar for what we know them to be. An awesome animation studio that tells great stories and creates characters that we love and keep coming back for more. After the Golden Era of Pixar we entered the Merger Era. Studios butted heads over who was in charge of these awesome movies and who had the right to make sequels. We will talk more on this next time. So until next time… To Infinity and Beyond!!!