Disney's Folio: Pixarpedia

Pixarpedia, A Complete Guide to the World of Pixar…and Beyond! is a fun, colorful read that delves into the deepest parts of the Disney•Pixar Universe. The book is a collaboration between Disney•Pixar and DK Publishing, the noted publisher of illustrated reference books. But older film-enthusiasts (or general Disneyphiles) should be warned that information from behind the scenes is pretty scant.

Pixarpedia is clearly aimed more at the family market as it focuses mostly on meticulous character and plot detail; more about the history of characters onscreen than the history of their creators off-screen. Behind the scenes information is limited to a few entries, some trivia points and spotlights on unheralded Pixar crewmembers. The information from the movies is exhaustive, covering characters from top billing down to the most minor ant, monster, toy, car and rat. (The list of Cars was shocking, as I just didn’t recall that many personified vehicles in the movie!)

The photo quality in the book is excellent, really capturing the dimension and high resolution of the source material. Given the size of the book, this effectively captures movies which are exceedingly viewed on very large home theatre screens and presents them quite effectively on paper. It seems like the book is most appropriately targeted to family storytelling time or young, reading-savvy Disney•Pixar fans who want to continue the action after the movies end, huddled in their room alone like my generation once did with our theme park maps and The Empire Strikes Back storybooks. In the Pixar lexicon of print products, it’s not nearly as effective as The Pixary Story and To Infinity and Beyond! in telling the stories behind the making of both the company and the movies themselves. Pixarpedia is going for a different target market here, which will likely disappoint anyone looking for more information on the company or what transpired in the colorful and exciting halls of the Emeryville campus. If that’s your angle, best to stick with those other books unless you’re a completist or someone who's equally as invested in on-screen minutiae.

The end of the book dedicates two-page spreads to facts, easter eggs, cast lists and other tidbits for each of the movies covered. This includes cool features like “Spot the Pizza Planet truck” (showing you where in each movie the ubiquitous truck appears) and spotlighting the part played in each movie by Pixar good-luck charm John Ratzenberger. Possibly the most intriguing feature of the book is the spotlight on Pixar employees who don’t generally get as much attention, such as a story artist, lead archivist, and lighting technical director. It's an odd juxtaposition to the rest of the book which focuses on obvious topics for a younger audience, but much welcomed.

All and all, a quick and easy read for adults and likely an even better experience for families and kids who are fans of any of Pixar's masterpieces!