By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders.
The Pixar Story
Since Pixar movies are released by Disney home video, most of the behind the scenes features are aimed at children. If you want a more adult look inside the animation studio, The Pixar Story is a straightforward documentary.
Review: The Pixar Story
It's a tad dry with stodgy narration and talking heads, but all the footage is awesome. You'll see John Lasseter as a young man. That's something you don't get on the Cars DVD. Footage from Pixar's early work and tests are cool too.
They've gotten interviews with surviving Disney animators and the likes of George Lucas, Michael Eisner and Steve Jobs, plus all the celebrity voices. They put things in the broader context of 2D animated classics and movies like Tron.
The film does explain evolving animation in a more clear way than the usual techie spots. It's cool to remember some of the films for which the Pixar guys provided effects, and memorable commercials, before branching off on their own.
It goes through some of the dark side of Disney and Pixar's early days. Some of this is familiar from the Pixar DVDs, but here it's all in one package. I love how they turned Toy Story 2 from a disaster into the best movie ever made. The clip of Jessie's song still makes me cry in this context.
It covers the films through Cars, though skims the last one rightfully so. At this point, we've all heard the story about Lasseter's road trip over and over. More interestingly, it details the contract negotiations the had Pixar negotiating with other studios. It's a solid 90 minutes for any animation enthusiast, and just plain movie fans.