Parents' Guide to

Inside Pixar

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Absorbing docuseries underlines power of representation.

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With admirable curiosity and a pleasingly diverse cast of real-life Pixar insiders explaining how and why they do what they do, this series that pokes behind the studio doors is a kick. Film fans typically only get to experience a movie in one way: passively sitting and absorbing the finished final product. But as Inside Pixar shows us, there are many cogs and gears that churn out the final product, each putting their own spin on what we see. Sometimes, the artists and executives provide powerful examples of the importance of representation. Kemp Powers, writer and co-director of Pixar's Soul, speaks of almost being moved to tears when he saw various textures of black hair rendered in a barbershop scene. Script supervisor Jessica Heidt explains how counting the numbers of female characters and their lines of dialogue and providing that data to Pixar's filmmakers immediately and painlessly improved their films' gender balance.

Other times, we're brought into the artistic process, like an episode that shows us Pixar character designer Deanna Marsigliese's inspiration for characters in Soul and The Incredibles: wire sculptures, vintage clothing, scraps of paper that Marsigliese trims from magazines. It's all fascinating background for already minted Pixar fans, and though the series does ultimately amount to an extended-length commercial for a Disney-owned studio, it also gives viewers a lot to chew on, and lends depth to films, scenes, and characters they may not have considered deeply before. It may also inspire aspiring artists to aim their intentions towards the cinematic -- after all, if the people in this series found jobs they love this much, why shouldn't everyone?

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