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Every Pixar Movie That Follows The “What If X Had Feelings” Formula

Since 1995, pixar has followed the same formula for 20 of his 29 films,”What if X had feelings?,” and it seems that his method will not change anytime soon. Pixar is known not only for its significant contribution to computer-animated movies and their profitability, but also for their emotional storytelling. A large part of Pixar’s success is due to its innovative thinking and unusual choice of leads. With the recent release of the trailer for the next Pixar movie Elementaryit makes sense to remember which of his earlier features followed a similar format.


Almost every Pixar movie has used the same structure to examine previously unexplored worlds. They bring inanimate objects, dead people, animals, concepts, and imaginary creatures to life by giving them compelling stories that reveal their human emotions. Usually, when studios reuse the same idea, it creates overblown stories and reduces audience interest, but Pixar is rare because its structure hasn’t resulted in repetitive content. Instead, their simple formula allows them just enough freedom to create offbeat stories with a vaguely similar layout. As a result, Pixar has consistently reused this method, but it’s not always obvious when they do.

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Toy Story (1995)

A promotional image of Andy's toys in Toy Story

toy story Using Buzz to introduce the idea that toys can have feelings was the beginning of Pixar’s exploration of humanizing inanimate objects. Buzz’s character in toy story it deals with a lot of emotions, like denial and full-blown depression, but its presentation also leads Woody to be jealous and angry. So it’s safe to say that Pixar managed to explore a world of emotions through these toys. The studio’s first feature film, toy story, set a precedent for what was to come, resulting in four sequels. The true legacy of the film, though, is the introduction of the popular Pixar model by posing a simple question: “What if toys had feelings??”

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A Bug’s Life (1998)

The smiling bugs in A Bug's Life

Pixar has always been dedicated to making sure that the worlds they created, no matter how unlikely, felt real. In the animation studio’s previous movies, Pixar even included reels of bloopers to keep the story alive and encourage kids to believe that the universe they created actually exists. It also helped viewers warm to the characters by further humanizing them. Of course, watching adults obviously know the life of a bug it’s not real. Still, Pixar movies have the ability to create such deep and outstanding characters out of non-human creatures that it might make an adult wonder if bugs feel emotions like people.

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Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters Inc. Pixar John Goodman Billy Crystal

SA monsters is another movie that followed the typical Pixar structure but in an original way. It was still a groundbreaking story, but it started with a similar question: “What if monsters had feelings??” Monsters Inc.’s story allows children to connect with characters they might otherwise have feared. Mike is portrayed as the scared, ignorant monster who is least willing to understand Boo, and Sully, while terrified herself, is more open to questioning her authority and helping her. Pixar’s formula allows its writers to simplify complex topics by placing them in an easily digestible context. For example, SA monsters it’s about prejudice and ignorance, and it all started with a simple question.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Marlin and Dory in the ocean in Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo it also uses the usual Pixar formula. Instead of following a human as he travels the world to find his child, the film decided to make the protagonist a clownfish, which worked even better. The best way to connect a character to viewers is through tragedy, so introducing Marlin as a single father desperate to find his only remaining family member humanized him. pixar Finding Nemo it was also successful mainly due to its ability to immerse viewers in its world. However, it would not have been possible in a human setting because that would leave less to the imagination.

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Cars (2006)

The opening scene Cars with Lightning racing

cars It could have been a live-action movie with humans instead of anthropomorphic cars, but once again, Pixar decided to stick with their usual format and give feelings to inanimate objects. The same as Finding Nemomuch of carsThe success is in how the studio created an entirely new universe that parodies the real world. Putting a character in a high-stress situation, human or not, and allowing them to react in a way that viewers can relate to is excellent writing. All a story needs are entertaining and relatable characters, and cars delivery, which is why it is a huge commercial success, with audiences expecting a cars 4 release date.

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Ratatouille (2007)

Pixar's Ratatouille

ratatouille explore the world of Remy, a rat with human-like thoughts and emotions who lives in Paris. Remy dreams of being a chef; Giving him a career to aspire to and a human puppet, the question arises: “What if rats had feelings??” A simple story about a rat who wants to be a chef manages to examine prejudice, nepotism and elitism, and the consensus, whether viewers are aware of it or not, is that everyone should have access to the same opportunities regardless of their position in the world. life. Once again, Pixar used their formula to tell a much deeper story, and despite the movie not having a sequel, ratatouille It’s one of Pixar’s best.

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WALL-E (2008)

Wall-E looking up in the movie.

WALL-E it’s about protecting the environment and the dangers of the path humanity finds itself on, but clearly the film is another Pixar release using their standard format. WALL-E and EVE’s romance is at the center of the story and explores the idea of ​​sentient robots. Whether it’s EVE and WALL-E and their romantic feelings or AUTO and their anger, robots and their emotions take center stage in this Pixar favorite. WALL-E It is not the first time that a Hollywood studio has made a movie about sentient robots. Still, the difference is how well written and emotionally rich Pixar made. WALL-Echaracters of .

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out Movie Showing Emotions Fear Sadness Joy and Anger

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Pixar movies have always explored deep issues in life, but Inside out it made the study formula a bit more noticeable. There really can’t be more meta than Pixar making a movie about emotions that have emotions. However, the studio once again successfully used the same question to center their film. Inside out Follow the emotions inside the mind of a young girl as they struggle to navigate the changing world of her son. Inside out he had a beautiful insight into toxic positivity and depression. Apart from the life lessons, Inside out created an elaborate and imaginative world with a vibrant cast of characters. This world even has franchise potential with endless possibilities for inside out 2.

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The Good Dinosaur (2015)

A boy touching a dinosaur in The Good Dinosaur

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the good dinosaur asks, “WWhat if dinosaurs never went extinct, and what if they had emotions?” The film clearly used the same structure but it didn’t work as well as other Pixar films. The problem wasn’t necessarily the Pixar formula but the execution. Despite the film’s lackluster reception, it’s obvious the good dinosaur he personifies dinosaurs by giving them human-like jobs and comparing them to real humans, like Spot. Arlo is an apatosaurus who lives with his family on their corn farm and struggles to find a sense of purpose. The writing still manages to humanize the non-human characters through the use of loss and ordinary human struggles.

Coconut (2017)

Coco Movie Miguel Family Reunion

Another Pixar movie CoconutIt followed the usual format, but this time the studio gave feelings to the dead. Although the main character is a living boy, he spends most of the movie with his dead ancestors. CoconutMiguel’s heart is Hector’s relationship and despite being dead, Hector is one of the most human characters. Hector has flaws and only tries to correct his past mistakes, but what makes him more human is his fear of being forgotten: the final death. Pixar managed to give a dead character a life-and-death crisis, finally allowing audiences to sympathize with a long-dead person.

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Soul (2020)

Soul Pixar with Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx

Soul followed in the footsteps of Inside out like a movie that gave feelings to a concept. Inside out was about a teenager’s struggles with change, but the Pixar movie Soul it is about a grown man facing an existential crisis. Most of the movie is not about Joe, but follows his soul and another soul: 22. Pixar tried to give feelings to these souls by creating a whole world within the movie where they were born, raised, and given personalities and interests. . . However, it was 22 and Joe’s struggle to find meaning in life that ultimately humanized them and made them relatable to viewers.

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Elementary (2023)

pixar elemental

Elementary is one of Pixar’s upcoming movies, but while it hasn’t been released yet, it’s already apparent that it will be using the classic Pixar formula. the risky one Elementary will follow an unlikely couple, Ember, a fire element, and Wade, a water element, as they discover that they are not as different as they think. The teaser trailer also hints at a romance between the two elements, and there’s no better way to embody a non-human object than through love. Similar to carsthe teaser also makes it seem pixar You will create a whole new world with these elemental characters, which parodies real life.

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