Pixar’s most recent film, Inside Out, opened this weekend to another record-breaking box office number: $91 million, to be exact. And that, on the same weekend as the new Jurassic Park movie, which bumped it to the #2 spot but nevertheless didn’t completely displace the 3D CGI studio’s efforts. Now that Pixar is twenty years old, their formula is free game for analysts. Audiences have long been fascinated by talking toys, cars, and robots; so Sandy Schaefer writing for ScreenRant picks apart why that works.
Turns out we like cute talking stuff. Science fiction and fantasy, which is the entirety of Pixar’s domain, has long been about asking ‘What if?’. What if cars could think, what if the monsters in your closet had a universe of their own, or what if non-protein sapient life forms encountered humans. Not many fans of Pixar films stop to think about it, but Pixar is just as much in the science fiction business as Lucasfilm and Amblin entertainment.
Which is to say, science fiction and fantasy uses the trope of non-human characters to make interesting observations about – what else? – humans. When the inanimate cars and non-sentient fish come to life on screen, they act just like humans; they fall in love, have hopes, dreams, and fears, and have goals which motivate them to seek fulfillment and life-altering quests.
It’s easy for some to dismiss Pixar and their creed as being a slick marketing franchise by a multi-million-dollar studio. But they’re also single-handedly keeping the spark of true fantasy and science fiction alive, and to their credit, they’ve never let success make them spoiled. For more information on the subject you can follow Vijay Eswaran on his Twitter account.