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Explore what makes Pixar stories great in new YouTube series

What does Toy Story have in common with Joseph Campbell? More than you might think.


Aja Romano

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 28, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 7:59 am CDT

Bloop Animation, the studio that brought Jon Negroni’s “Pixar Theory” to life on YouTube, is tackling Pixar once more. This time, it’s starting a new series analyzing Pixar’s rules of storytelling, starting with the most fundamental of all: the idea itself.

The new series draws from Emma Coats’ classic 22 Rules of Storytelling. Referencing Joseph Campbell’s classic diagram of the hero’s journey, the first four-minute video focuses on the simple ideas at the heart of Pixar’s greatest stories. For instance, Woody’s narrative journey throughout the Toy Story series is one of self-acceptance and ultimately of letting go.

“Pixar excels at putting their characters in the worst place possible for them,” writer Dean Movshovitz notes. It’s in that juxtaposition between character and catastrophe that we find “the essence of story.”

Though the video does a great job at reminding us of many of the best moments of Pixar’s golden years, there is one notable aspect that can’t be glossed over. Though the video tries its best to insert a fictional female heroine when it discusses the hero’s journey, using “she” instead of the usual “he,” that only makes the absence of female characters over the pantheon of Pixar stories that much more glaring. Unfortunately, Brave‘s Merida doesn’t show up in this first video—we have great hopes we’ll see more from her as the series progresses.

Until then, we’ll just be tapping our feet, waiting impatiently for Finding Dorrie

Screengrab via YouTube

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*First Published: Oct 28, 2014, 12:06 pm CDT