New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott narrates a nice five-minute video exploring the excellence and universal appeal of Pixar’s films. His thesis, in summary, is that they often feature an identity crisis–the hero feels he doesn’t belong. Humans of all stripes respond to such notions. Plus, of course, they’re usually exceptionally executed.
On a related note, I was recently listening in to a conversation among five 30-something, university-educated women. They were talking about movies. Despite being aware of the glowing reviews for Pixar’s Wall-E, they were unanimous in their lack of interest in seeing the movie.
I don’t want to inspire a lot of female commenters to contradict me, but I have a sense that women are generally less interested in animated films than men. This seems entirely understandable, given that most of the animated work they’ve seen has been a) made primarily for boys, featuring male protagonists and b) bad. Still, I think it’s unfortunate, because some of the most remarkable and effective movies of the last decade have been animated. I’m thinking here of Persepolis, Ratatouille and The Incredibles. The former of these movies obviously bucks this trend, but it didn’t necessarily have the broad appeal of the Pixar movies.