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The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue
Inter-varsity Press / 2010 / Paperback
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The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue by Robert Velarde is the first book to explore spiritual and moral themes in Pixar Animation Studios films. Have fun exploring virtues such as friendship in the Toy Story films, love in Up, family in Finding Nemo, courage in The Incredibles, and justice in A Bug's Life. Learn how Pixar movies can help you grow in virtue and wisdom - to infinity and beyond!
Kids and adults alike love Pixar's movies. We come out of the theater not just entertained or amused, but inspired. Everybody agrees: Pixar makes fun, clean, terrific movies. But what makes these movies so appealing is not merely amazing CGI animation, clever humor or fantastic imagination. These movies are not just great. Pixar's movies are good. Robert Velarde unpacks the movies of Pixar and shows how they display the best of classic Christian virtues. Pixar's films resonate with us because of their moral character. Their virtuous themes of hope and courage, friendship and love connect with our deepest human longings. Whether we identify with the plight of a lost fish or the adventures of toys, bugs or cars, Pixar's characters help us build our own character, with the kind of virtue that we want for ourselves and those around us. Insightfully exploring each of Pixar's movies, this book is a friendly companion for fans, parents and church leaders. Discover how the imagination of Pixar can awaken in you a Christian vision for a moral life and a better society.
Robert Velarde is a writer and editor for Sonlight Curriculum. He is the author of (NavPress, 2008), (Baker, forthcoming), (National Day of Prayer, 1999), (NavPress, 2005) and (InterVarsity Press, 2001). A former editor for Focus on the Family, he received his M.A. in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary.
In this slender interpretation, Velarde (The Heart of Narnia) mines Pixars animated films for truths about virtues such as friendship, courage, imagination, humor, love, and ambition. The book is at its best when he sticks closely to the narrative of such modern classics as Finding Nemo, Up, or Ratatouille, but is less successful when he moralizes or attempts to drive home his points, which unfortunately is much of the time. The book lacks the gee-whiz observations that have made other pop culture explorations so interesting for enthusiasts; although each chapter contains a quick behind-the-scenes sidebar about how a particular Pixar film came into being, on the whole the book doesnt offer much content analysis beyond what discerning viewers will have already noticed for themselves. Velarde does pose some interesting questions--can a superheros courage be taught? What is a Christians proper stance on technology to avoid a polluted Wall-E world? But Pixars current corpus of fewer than 17 hours of film feels like a thin foundation for answering them. Each chapter closes with strong discussion questions that will be helpful for church groups, especially youth. (July) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Robert Velarde has made an interesting and thoughtful contribution to film and philosophy literature. He avoids an overly simplistic analysis without getting bogged down in heavy moral philosophy. Not only will this book help readers gain a deeper understanding of virtue ethics, it will increase their appreciation of one of the best studios in film."
"Wow. And here I thought I was just watching cartoons with my kids! I love how Robert takes readers through the beauty, fun, depth and warmth of Pixar films and frames the solid values that run through them. This book is a must-read for parents who love Pixar films as much as their kids--and for those interested in generating some great postfilm family conversations."
"Robert Velarde's fascinating book The Wisdom of Pixar reminds us why Jesus engaged the culture of his time through the power of stories. After reading the book I wonder if the next generation of teaching pastors may be filmmakers. Velarde has done a great service by reminding us that virtue indeed matters, perhaps now more than ever."
"Thank you, Robert Velarde. Here is the book that needed to be. For years I could not help but notice certain spiritual connections in the amazing Pixar films--haven't you? Robert Velarde has given us a true gift with The Wisdom of Pixar. I highly recommend his book to all film-loving Christians. It is insightful and useful for both individuals and groups."
"In this insightful book, Velarde provides a great service to Christian families who love movies. His analysis of Pixar movies in light of their themes of identity, friendship, family, courage, ambition and other values is a great help for those who want a fuller, richer experience from their movie viewing. He helps to draw out important values from Pixar movies that illuminate for the viewer/reader that these movies are much more than family-friendly entertainment; they are modern parables of wisdom and virtue."
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