The reason these films appeal to adults as well as children is not because they're crammed with a subtext targetted specifically at them, but because they do these basic things very well, at a time when any one of those qualities is rare to find in mainstream Hollywood entertainment targetted at adults.
That's an interesting claim, zedz, but one I must admit I can't concede. I have no doubt that defenders of Pixar's work find them to be highly entertaining and satisfying films, but I think you're selling the adult angle short. In fact, in Toy Story
, the adult appeal is so strong and so specific to adult fears and neuorsis that it's almost hard to see the appeal for a kid in a kid's movie
. I don't know that I have the faith in mass audiences to connect to a childrens' film on an aesthetic or narrative level without there being some underlying adult appeal (but that may just be the English teacher in me).
I think knives' point is that saying there's a great dearth of quality mainstream entertainment, much less quality childrens' entertainment, is maybe too sweeping a negative generalization. Though his examples of television are admittedly a different form of media, several are indeed as or more intelligent and well-formed than the majority of Pixar's output (to my eyes, obviously)-- PBS' Arthur
, for example, is almost the anti-Pixar in its simple visual aesthetics of line drawings and watercolors, but it contains such a deep and clever insight into humanity on a basic level that it has much wider appeal than the preschool set it's aimed at. It's always amusing to bring the series up at parties or dinners with people my age (late 20s), most of whom are subsequently shocked and delighted to realize they're not the only ones watching and loving it. Maybe Pixar is giving the same gratification to audiences on a wider scale-- there does seem to be the communal brand loyalty attached to Pixar (as it is to 007 and Harry Potter and so on-- I'm not knocking it out of hand), I think as someone on the outside looking in who doesn't buy into their value (for either audience) as highly as most, it's just a little odd. But then again, I'm notoriously to the left or the right of most popular opinion, so God knows why such things still surprise me!