Life Lessons We Can Learn From Pixar Films

in Disney, Pixar, Updates

pixar characters with the logo

Credit: Pixar Studios

Pixar opened in 1979 as a part of Lucasfilm, but after much ado, it became a Disney property. It’s retained popularity over time because of the inherent value of Pixar movie morals, and its appeal to both kids and adults alike. The safety of a screen lets viewers take in a life lesson from a safe difference.

Though only making a limited set of films, its ethics have been transformative, whether Inside Out, Toy Story, Monsters University, or another animated Pixar film. One of the brand’s values is mirroring society through Pixar movie morals.

(L-R) Ember and Wade Characters in Pixar Movie 'Elemental' (2023)
Credit: Inside the Magic

Pixar Taught a Generation How to Have a Moral Imagination

There is a strong argument that Pixar’s animated movie style is what allows the orals to come through so well. Pixar Animation Studios have been around for a while, and with all the entertainment shuffle, that means questions. So…

Inside Out emotions gather around
Credit: Pixar

What’s the best way to watch Pixar movies?

The best way to watch Pixar movies is in the theatre. Powerful soundscapes and immersive experiences come through more robust in the movie theater. Consider the ocean’s vastness in Finding Nemo on an IMAX versus a home screen.

Alas, watching every movie at the theatre is less about morals and more about a lesson in financial management. Viewers can catch the classic Pixar animated film series on Disney+ or Hulu. An entire section is dedicated exclusively to Pixar, making it a safe place for family, morality (and popcorn).

Pixar movie morals, character looking at screen
Photo Credit: Pixar

Are Pixar morals easy to understand?

Pixar movies are designed to be family features. To make the life lesson accessible, whether it’s Coco’s aging and family values, the balance Finding Nemo strikes, the standard Disney movie produced by Pixar is acceptable for all ages. Bright colors. Powerful songs. And emotion by the boatload.

The toys gather around a "Welcome home Andy" sign at the end of 'Toy Story 2'
Credit: Pixar Studios

What are some dark implications in Pixar movies?

Morality isn’t all smiles and sunshine. There are a lot of dark Pixar movie morals that mirror life itself. Brave taught a generation of girls that life can be tricky (but you can fight back). Toy Story showed kids that their worldview has a limited perspective. Dark? Yes. Necessary, even more so.

Sulley in Monsters, Inc.
Credit: Disney / Pixar

Why does Pixar keep making awful new movies?

Awful is about as relative as morals themselves. Some people found Inside Out reductive, while others thought the morals in Elemental left something to be desired. Pixar is effective at holding a lens to society. The morals the films bring forward are relevant, though not always easy to see.

4*Town posing
Credit: Pixar

What are some everyday things that happen in every Pixar movie?

Story arcs are reasonably predictable, especially for a studio like Pixar. The movie needs to keep the attention of audiences of all ages. Accordingly, a Pixar film can include a root problem, a call to adventure, and essential B characters.

This builds to a climax that ultimately makes the morals clear. Predictable? Sure, but the safety of an animated film giving a life lesson in a concise, understandable way has ample value.

From L-R: Jessie, Woody, Bullseye, and Buzz in 'Toy Story 2'
Credit: Disney/Pixar

How long does it take to make a whole movie?

According to a Pixar film scientist, it takes approximately four years from concept to execution for a standard animated film. This means that any Pixar Animation Studio feature took almost half a decade to put together. In contrast, the Statue of David by Michelangelo took three years.

Pixars Win or Lose
Credit: Disney D23

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Pixar Films

There are plenty of life lessons to learn from any Pixar movie. Pixar Animation Studios created 27 films, including its newest release. While there is overlap in morals, seeing the diversity of Pixar can help add context.

(left) Mariachi band member being threatened by (center) Abuelita Elena Rivera, while Miguel (right) looks shocked, from Coco (2017)
Credit: Pixar Animation/Disney

What are all of the Disney Pixar movies?

The following is a complete list of Pixar movies. Have you seen them all?

  1. Toy Story
  2. A Bug’s Life
  3. Toy Story 2
  4. Monsters, Inc.
  5. Finding Nemo
  6. The Incredibles
  7. Cars
  8. Ratatouille
  9. WALL-E
  10. Up
  11. Toy Story 3
  12. Cars 2
  13. Brave
  14. Monsters University
  15. Inside Out
  16. The Good Dinosaur
  17. Finding Dory
  18. Cars 3
  19. Coco
  20. Incredibles 2
  21. Toy Story 4
  22. Onward
  23. Soul
  24. Luca
  25. Turning Red
  26. Lightyear
  27. Elemental

Coming soon: Inside Out 2 (June 14, 2024), Eilo (June 13, 2025), and Toy Story 5 (June 19, 2026).

Ming Lee (left) serving daughter Meilin Lee (right, back turned) from Turning Red (2022)
Credit: Pixar Animation/Disney

How can Pixar movies help parents?

Pixar movies are effectively designed to be watched as a unit, discussing the animated film’s lesson. It lets parents reveal essential life lessons to audiences while providing context for that valuable lesson. In this sense, parents are in the driver’s seat, and the Pixar movie is a tool for success.

Inside Out
Credit: Disney/Pixar

What moral does each Pixar movie have?

Each of the 27 films has a unique morality, with the sequels using original character development to push the movie forward. The morals are:

  • Toy Story: Friendship and love conquer even the scariest parts of growing, maturing, and fear of the unknown.
  • A Bug’s Life: Respect those who are different, own your mistakes, and know that even if you’re small, you can make a huge difference.
  • Toy Story 2: Understanding that dependency has healthy limits and that there are ways to handle vulnerability and weakness.
Woody (Tom Hanks) in 'Toy Story'
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios/Disney Pixar Animation Studios
  • Monsters, Inc.: Kindness and courage in fear create characters. Integrity, respect, and trust within a team and friends means bravery, even when challenging. Also, protect the children.
  • Finding Nemo: No matter how much love we have, the world is scary, and bad things can happen. But, through love and optimism, even a tiny fish in a big sea can triumph. It also shows parents there are limits to control; sometimes, you just have to “let go.”
  • The Incredibles: No matter who you are, if you can effect positive change in the world, you should follow your heart and do so.
Pixar's best and worst movie at the same time; Cars Movie, Pixar Animation Studio
Credit: Inside the Magic
  • Cars: Sportsmanship matters; respecting others is essential to being a good person and honest friend. Owning responsibility for actions (even the bad ones) is an important takeaway.
  • Ratatouille: Permission is not always granted, and stopping characters from following their hearts has negative consequences. Even if it’s almost impossible, it’s worth a try.
  • WALL-E: Self-awareness has ample value; through it, we can impact change and use our most vital traits to help others. We can also fight the darker parts of ourselves, liabilities like consumerism or emotional concerns.
Disney and Apple always collaborate, especially in this Pixar film
Credit: Pixar
  • Up: The only someday we ever get is today, and it’s never too late to embrace that fact.
  • Toy Story 3: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is have faith and do the right thing, even if it goes unnoticed by those you love.
  • Cars 2: Managing embarrassment and shame is essential to becoming vulnerable and making real friends.
  • Brave: You control your fate if you can be brave enough to see it.
  • Monsters University: Sometimes, dreams don’t pan out, but it doesn’t make the journey any less worthwhile.
Anger screams while on fire in 'Inside Out'
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios
  • Inside Out: We contain multitudes, including joy, sadness, and much more. Embracing our whole selves doesn’t take away from happiness but gives it more significant meaning.
  • The Good Dinosaur: Courage in the face of inevitable defeat matters. So do the people you love, even if your time is short.
  • Finding Dory: You might be different. You might feel damaged. You might forget what I just said. But as long as you “just keep swimming,” there is hope.
  • Cars 3: Learning life lessons is only half of the battle. The rest use that knowledge, confidence, and courage to improve the world.
  • Coco: Family and forgiveness are paramount, and learning death’s role doesn’t make it scary. It makes the world that much more impressive.
  • Incredibles 2: Even the most potent supermom or superhero isn’t an island. Sometimes, it’s better to delegate and trust.
mr. and mrs. incredible pixar day at sea
Credit: Disney Parks Blog
  • Toy Story 4: Even if society tells you you don’t belong, everyone has a place and is worthy.
  • Onward: Grief and acceptance are hard to achieve, but relying on those close to you in an actual spirit of understanding can birth an incredible adventure.
  • Soul: Even the tiny moments mean everything. Value every second because life is precious, short, and beautiful.
luca, right, alberto left
Credit: Disney-Pixar
  • Luca: It’s okay to be different, whether an LGBTQIA+ matter or otherwise. When we embrace what isolates us, it may turn out that we are less alone than previously thought.
  • Turning Red: People are multi-faceted; denying the messy sides won’t rid them. Embracing the whole self, even during periods of challenging change, is a struggle that only helps characters grow. are
  • Lightyear: There are few things more difficult in the world than accepting oneself, and Buzz learning he was a toy (not a ranger) mirrored the experience of embracing truth and reality, even if it hurts.
  • Elemental: It’s your life, and only you can choose to make a change, flip the script, and move forward however makes you feel right.
Cast of Elemental enjoying a movie in a theater, al wearing sunglasses
Credit: Pixar

What life lessons do Pixar movies teach us?

Pixar teaches audiences about the virtue of happiness, that there is no such thing as a lost soul, and that it’s worth trying to do something great. It teaches audiences how to manage negative emotions, relate to characters, and develop empathy through a fundamental understanding of joy and sadness.

Wade and Ember sit in a theater in Elemental
Credit: Pixar

What is the best year for Pixar films?

There is no definitive answer for the best year for Pixar films. Between 1995 and 2004, it created six movies (impressive for the four years each takes in development). If favorites are the focus, Toy Story, the franchise, came out in 1995, 1999, 2010, and 2019. As the franchise with the most extensive lore, these years stand out.

Toy Story Land
Credit: Disney

Making the Most Out of Animation

The ways to use animation are endless. It can be zoning out in the theatres to Disney Pixar’s Soul or having a sit-down talk about everyday life with a family member. From ‘secret’ jokes that resonate more with adults to accessible content for kids, Pixar allows viewers to analyze morals and make the decision themselves. In effect, you can take what works and leave the rest. That’s the beauty of movies and of Pixar morals.

What’s your favorite Pixar Animation Studios’ moral? Share in the comments below!

in Disney, Pixar, Updates

Be the first to comment!