The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue

The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue

by Robert Velarde
     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Douglas M. Beaumont
"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."
Caryn Rivadeneira
"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."
Phil Cooke
"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."
David Bruce
"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."
Brian Godawa
"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."
Bill Boerman-Cornell
"A lot of fun to read. Velarde writes in an easy-to-read style and beautifully draws out themes of hope, identity, justice, friendship, humor, family, courage, adventure, and love. . . excellent for a small group, a church, or even a series of family discussions."
Bonnie Bruner
"Velarde draws sensive conclusions and connections between the Christian life and many Pixar characters and plotlines. The themes of hope and imagination run throughout many of the films. Concice chapters and discussion questions make this book accessible for group studies."
(www.charismamag.com) Charisma
"Finding Nemo, Cars and Up are a few of the Pixar films into which Robert Velarde delves to find a variety of themes that support Christian values. Though he points out that Pixar doesn't directly tie its films to Christian morals and theology, Velarde draws sensivle conclusions and connections between the Christian life and many Pixar characters and plotlines. Themes such as justice, family, love and technology are explored in depth through the lens of Pixar films as well as through Scriptures and Christian thought."
Library Journal
Velarde (Conversations with C.S. Lewis) treats several of the very popular Pixar animated features—e.g., Toy Story; A Bug's Life; Monsters, Inc.; Finding Nemo; WALL-e; and Up—as sources for lessons about essential Christian virtues. Velarde does not reduce the films to parables or suggest that they are crypto-Christian; instead, he finds teachable virtues within them. Velarde's work here is in the tradition of Robert L. Short's The Gospel According to Peanuts and other titles in that series, and runs all the risks of the genre: sucking the joy out of a popular phenomenon, or burdening it with inappropriate or obvious meanings. On the whole, Velarde sidesteps these dangers. VERDICT With its discussion questions, movie discussion guide, and appendixes on Pixar's plots, this is perfect for Christian discussion groups and should also serve Christian educators very well. An important purchase for many church libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780830832972
Publisher:
InterVarsity Press
Publication date:
06/02/2010
Pages:
174
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Douglas M. Beaumont
"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."
Douglas M. Beaumont, author of The Message Behind the Movie
Brian Godawa
"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."
Brian Godawa, screenwriter, To End All Wars, and author, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment
David Bruce
"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."
David Bruce, webmaster, HollywoodJesus.com
Phil Cooke
"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."
Phil Cooke, CEO, Cooke Pictures, and author, Branding Faith
Caryn Rivadeneira
"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."
Caryn Rivadeneira, author of Mama's Got a Fake I.D. and cofounder of TheMommyRevolution.com

Meet the Author

Robert Velarde is a writer and editor for Sonlight Curriculum. He is the author of The Heart of Narnia (NavPress, 2008), Inside the Screwtape Letters (Baker, forthcoming), The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer, 1999), The Lion, the Witch and the Bible (NavPress, 2005) and Examining Alternative Medicine (InterVarsity Press, 2001). A former editor for Focus on the Family, he received his M.A. in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary.

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