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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An effortless, informative read, August 8, 2008
This review is from: The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company (Hardcover)
"The Pixar Touch" is a book about business and technology and filmaking. Author David Price is remarkable in his skill at keeping all three themes not only interesting, but engrossing as well.

Pixar began as something of a Quixotic quest three decades ago with some young men having a vision not only of applying computer technology to traditional animation, but making full-length computer animated movies as well.

Their pursuit takes some of them through stints at the mecca of traditional animation, the Disney Studios, while others were to be found at universities. All the Pixar founders and some of their creative stalwarts found themselves at Lucasfilms, where they tried to peddle their concept and do things beyond special effects, commercials and impressive short films. Along the way, they invent or refine many of the techniques at the core of sophisticated computer animation.

It is not the land of milk and honey, though. Lucasfilm wants to be rid of Pixar and tries to peddle it to everyone they could think of. One of the first to be offered Pixar was Steven Jobs, who had been forced out of Apple. Lucas wanted ten million - Jobs offered five. A year later, after failing to sell Pixar at their asking price, Lucasfilm sold the company to Jobs for five million dollars.

There follows an almost heroic story of a few men struggling to acheive their vision of computer generated animated feature-length movies. Over the next few years, backed by more than fifty million dollars of Jobs' money, Pixar finally makes a deal with Disney to distribute a feature length animated film.

It is a fascinating process to see how the now legendary "Toy Story" came to be. None of the principals in Pixar had ever made a feature length movie before. And no one really knew how audiences would react to 90 minutes or so of computer created animation.

"Toy Story", of course, was a major success as were the next several Pixar produced films.

Price excels at telling the business story of Pixar from its beginnings to its ultimate $7.4 billion acquisition by Disney, which left Steve Jobs as the major stockholder of Disney. And quite a story it is, by turns, of good luck and then hard business dealings. He also does an excellent job of explaining the technology of computer generated animation and the agonies of creating feature length movies.

Overall, Price does a simply superb job of telling the stories of Pixar, the development of computer animation, Steve Jobs and Disney (in part) and the lives of the Pixar founders and many who joined along the way.

It is quite a story and exceptionally well told by Price.

Jerry
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Jerry Saperstein
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Location: Evanston, IL USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 453