The Development of Pixar and Disney Cartoons: Monsters, Inc. and Inside Out


The Walt Disney Company is one of the largest corporations in the world of entertainment. On October 16, 1923, two brothers, Walter and Roy Disney, created a small animation studio, which is currently one of the biggest in Hollywood, the owner of 11 theme parks and two water parks as well as several broadcasting networks. Disney cartoons and movies are deservedly considered as the best factory for creating motion and animation pictures. Since 1997, the Walt Disney Company is actively developing its relations with the Pixar Company, which results in the rise of role model animation films. The further cooperation between both studios presented such famous and fantastic cartoons as Monster Inc., Cars, Toy Story 2, WALL-E, Despicable Me, Up, Finding Nemo, and other successful animation pictures. Every time they released something new, the spectator enjoyed the stories, which they had not seen before. Monsters Inc. was the fourth cooperative movie between two companies, which gained the global success. Consequently, InsideOut is their common recent work, but is has already attracted great attention of numerous spectators. Therefore, this paper aims to discuss the development of Disney and Pixar relations as well as investigate the 15 years of this cooperation evolvement.

In 1986, after release of their first work, Pixar showed that life can be inserted into anyone and anything. In addition, unbridled imagination in tandem with understanding of the laws of drama and the audience needs is able to give birth to the most unusual, colorful, and interesting characters, causing sympathy and empathy with the public of all ages. The most unexpected creatures, animals and objects, starting with a fun table lamp called Luxo Jr., became cartoon characters. By giving emotions and facial expressions to the cars, telling the incredible story of love between two robots, making a charming furry protagonist from a sewer rat, and forcing toys to think, the studio workers set such a high standard of creative skills, which eventually personified the material assets and not the concepts.


Emotional Component

Peter Docer, the director of both cartoons under discussion, claimed that the reason for which people go to the cinemas is to experience new emotions. His idea of creating cartoons is that the emotional charge is important for the memories. For example, if one has certain fears, he will remember them for a lifetime. Therefore, he thought that if he calls to people’s emotions in the cartoons, they will not be only entertained, but the perceived information and emotion will remain in the viewers’ heads. Therefore, his two works Monsters, Inc. and Inside Out are very emotional. The majority of spectators begin crying at the end of the animated film and are laughing while watching the stories, since every Peter’s film raises strong emotions. It is worth noting that this feature is beneficial for Pixar, and they use this advantage for attracting more spectators: the first teaser for Inside Out was successful and made of the most emotional scenes from the whole cartoon. The key is that most memorable episodes are the ones that make the audience cry, and they are present in every cartoon by Peter Docer. For example, several minutes, during which the spectators enjoy the entire history of the relations between Charles and his dead wife in Up, or the farewell scene at the end of Monsters, Inc.

Furthermore, both cartoons are created according to the notion that animated pictures cause more emotions than the movies since they are an abstraction, simplification of reality, life, disassembled into parts. People easily identify themselves with the characters, comparing only few details. Animation is a caricature of life; therefore, people perceive the complexity and delete it, enjoying only the most important moments. When the viewers observe the life of the actor, they are always aware that there is another person behind the character, and in the cartoon, it is easier to put oneself in the place of that character, since it is abstract. These are also the common aspects of the two cartoons.

Monsters, Inc.

As it has been mentioned before, Monsters, Inc. is the fourth collaboration of Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, established long before their union, during the romantic times of full-length computer-animated films established as another form of cinematic art. Eventually, it appeared that even the earliest computer animation laid the corresponding foundations as well as became a real benchmark for quality and innovation. At that time, the audience was not spoiled by the computer animation, and Mosnters, Inc. was completely made using computer technology, which was a revolution. However, the feedback about Monsters, Inc. showed after translation of the first video-teaser did not raise any anticipation or excitement. On the contrary, the spectators expressed their opinion that the cartoon was strange, and the audience did not like Sally and Mike.

Nevertheless, on March 24, 2002, the world was impressed and excited by the story they had seen on the screens. The first cartoon by Pixar studio, which was not created by John Lasseter, provided the riot of imagination, charm, character, unrestrained humor, amazing and innovative animation for the spectators. At the same time, the story of the extraordinary attachment to alien monsters of a human child, whom they had a chance to tame, showed much sincerity and delicacy. Finally, Pixar studio provided the audience with an incredible satisfaction, which answered the call of revolutionary Shrek. It is worth noting that DreamWorks Studio released Shrek on DVD on the same day when Monsters, Inc. was broadcasted, but even this fact did not prevent Pixar animated film from setting box office records.

Inside Out

It is gratifying that notwithstanding the concept and style, being more adult than other cartoons usually made at that time, Monsters, Inc. was amazingly affordable for children, including the youngest ones. There were numerous researches conducted on Monsters, Inc. and its therapeutic effect on the fight against children’s fears. The majority of thoughtful viewers have noted the deliberate manipulation, increasingly common in the Pixar production. Moreover, it has started from the story of Monsters, Inc. where evil and scary monsters were shown as “fluffy” and funny creatures, which were not supposed to frighten the spectators. The entire extent of educative and manipulative component of Pixar Animations is integrated in the cartoon Lava, which eventually grew into modern, exiting, and touching InsideOut. In addition, this is the 15th cooperation between Disney and Pixar studios, which plays a great role in their common business. Both companies are largely developed whereas Disney is known for promotion and production, and Pixar is famous for their technology, creativeness, and animation. Over the years, the Pixar studio directors evolved the ability to build drama of the most unexpected views ranging from a pink umbrella image to the volcano eruption, almost always achieving the planned and tearing applause. Both animation films were directed by the same person Pete Docter, and the emotions manipulation applied in the story is an indicator of skill growth, namely from initial skepticism to Sally and Mike, to the scenes with Riley and her “internal Is”, which are appealing from the beginning.

The characterizing difference of InsideOut as compared to Monsters, Inc. is that it was based on the cartoon, which had been released earlier by Disney. In 1943, Disney Company produced “The insight and emotion”, depicting the conflict between people’s thoughts and feelings. The most important motives in the cartoon are allegorically represented in the form of a caricature depicting small people sitting in the human heads. It is worth noting that the presentation does not exceed the allegory whereas the materiality of the two principles was not the main issue. In the story Inside Out, Pixar uses a similar approach, where only “small people” are presented in a very material way as it was shown in Monsters, Inc. with real existing children’s fears such as monsters. The cartoon characters Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger are presented in unquantifiable number of entities, where they are responsible for the life of a single individual. Fortunately, Inside Out does not intend to explain what is happening in the minds of each character, but simplifies the picture, focusing entirely on Riley’s thoughts. The same motive was shown in Monsters, Inc., where the director decided to concentrate on a single child’s fear, such as monsters, and on its further consequence.

In the course of the film as well at the end of the story, it is difficult to avoid numerous questions inevitably rising in the head of the spectator, starting with the issue of the emotions range chosen and ending with interest of what is happening in the emotions’ heads. Instead of providing the answers, the cartoon brings the flow of images, associations, ingenious discoveries, and one-liners that are hard not to acknowledge. The director Pete Docter tries to convey to the audience that only the interaction and combination of all emotions creates a complete link between close people. The same simple thought is incorporated into Monsters, Inc. where the children are afraid of monsters, but the monsters may be also scared by the children. Therefore, they laugh together in the story and forget about their mutual fear, especially considering the fact that laughing provides positive energy.

Another simultaneously similar and different feature in both cartoons is that mothers, fathers, daughters, children, monsters, etc. are stereotypical, and their conflict is essentially common and widespread. In fact, the drama hidden in Inside Out is merely the moving of the family to another state with all the associated changes and concerns. In Monsters, Inc., the common and mundane fear of the monsters plays the leading role. For example, the situation in both films might be more serious, and Riley’s parents might experience divorce or even loss of a loved one. It is necessary to tribute to the creators of both cartoons because they did not try to grasp the immensity, but put much effort to incorporate “real life”. Thus, the viewer is not bored while watching the stories.

Computer Animation Successes

At the same time, the studio manages to demonstrate successive advantages in the field of computer animation by showing more realistic characters. Computer graphics is the newest, modern and promising way to create the cartoons, in which it is possible to design the characters, backgrounds, and special effects using computer programs of three-dimensional graphics and visualization of motion. According to the afore-mentioned facts, the Pixar animation studio are the pioneers in popularizing this method of creating animated movies. Moreover, in 1995, together with the studio Disney, they released the first full-length animated cartoon A Toy Story using three-dimensional computer graphics. Nowadays, many studios refuse from a simple drawing in the favor of computer animation. However, both Pixar and Walt Disney Company are considered as the best and unique film companies that every time use more modern technologies to create their movie.

Unlike three-dimensional graphics used in computer games and initially in such cartons as A Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., modern movies as well as Inside Out are not necessary created in real time. In fact, there is no time limit for the computers involved in the creation of the final animation frames (rendering). Therefore, directors, writers and developers of the characters are not limited to a finite number of quality graphics and special effects. Consequently, powerful computers create some movies within months, and this requires development of the appropriate rendering algorithm. In the story Inside Out, Pixar studio used their patented rendering algorithm, providing a motion image of each character separately, rather than following a single RenderMan model, used previously.

Moreover, the development of the film required more time than usually as it was necessary to work on the visual effects of the characters. For example, the animation team worked around eight month on the “aura” of the characters, such as Joy. The critics state that due to this effort, the emotions look realistic, but unreal and magically to a certain extent. However, development of the traditional Pixar bestselling cartoons takes two or three years. This is usually a period required for creating Pixar movies. This is a common feature of both movies discussed above whereas Inside Out is one of the longest ones.

Increasing the power of modern computing also allowed improving the quality of animation in Inside Out as compared to Monsters, Inc., creating an increasingly photorealistic cartoon, which may soon become a worthy substitute for films with live filming. To simplify the three-dimensional graphics of the animated characters they were developed directly from the skeleton, which allowed animators to control them like puppets. It is also used to accelerate a variety of additional routines that simulate the physics of the surrounding world, the characters’ hair movement, and different substances, such as liquid or snow. In addition, to simplify the work, the animators used motion capture systems that capture the movement of the real actors as well as the facial expressions of those who voiced the characters and adjust it to the characters in the movie.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Inside Out that distinguishes it from other modern animated pictures is the period, required for its creation. The majority of cartoons and movies are made approximately within a year. However, there are several exceptions, such as Avatar by David Cameron as well as Inside Out. The studio began creating this cartoon in 2009, and the release date was in 2015.

Moreover, critics often claim that Pixar studio changed significantly after signing the agreement for cooperation with Disney. They say that after Monsters, Inc., the studio lost its individuality and started producing typical Disney cartoons, which are childish and boring. However, another difference of Inside Out is that it is considered as a “fresh” idea of Pixar studio due to its educative, philosophic, emotional, and touching plot.