The Wisdom of Pixar: An Animated Look at Virtue, By Robert Velarde
The Wisdom of Pixar
  • Length: 174 pages
  • Published: June 02, 2010
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3297
  • ISBN: 9780830832972

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Kids and adults alike love Pixar's movies. We come out of the theater not just entertained or amused, but inspired. Everybody agrees: Pixar makes fun, clean, terrific movies. But what makes these movies so appealing is not merely amazing CGI animation, clever humor or fantastic imagination. These movies are not just great. Pixar's movies are good.

Robert Velarde unpacks the movies of Pixar and shows how they display the best of classic Christian virtues. Pixar's films resonate with us because of their moral character. Their virtuous themes of hope and courage, friendship and love connect with our deepest human longings. Whether we identify with the plight of a lost fish or the adventures of toys, bugs or cars, Pixar's characters help us build our own character, with the kind of virtue that we want for ourselves and those around us.

Insightfully exploring each of Pixar's movies, this book is a friendly companion for fans, parents and church leaders. Discover how the imagination of Pixar can awaken in you a Christian vision for a moral life and a better society.

"Robert Velarde has made an interesting and thoughtful contribution to film and philosophy literature. He avoids an overly simplistic analysis without getting bogged down in heavy moral philosophy. Not only will this book help readers gain a deeper understanding of virtue ethics, it will increase their appreciation of one of the best studios in film."

Douglas M. Beaumont, author of The Message Behind the Movie

"Wow. And here I thought I was just watching cartoons with my kids! I love how Robert takes readers through the beauty, fun, depth and warmth of Pixar films and frames the solid values that run through them. This book is a must-read for parents who love Pixar films as much as their kids--and for those interested in generating some great postfilm family conversations."

Caryn Rivadeneira, author of Mama's Got a Fake I.D. and cofounder of

"Robert Velarde's fascinating book The Wisdom of Pixar reminds us why Jesus engaged the culture of his time through the power of stories. After reading the book I wonder if the next generation of teaching pastors may be filmmakers. Velarde has done a great service by reminding us that virtue indeed matters, perhaps now more than ever."

Phil Cooke, CEO, Cooke Pictures, and author, Branding Faith

"Thank you, Robert Velarde. Here is the book that needed to be. For years I could not help but notice certain spiritual connections in the amazing Pixar films--haven't you? Robert Velarde has given us a true gift with The Wisdom of Pixar. I highly recommend his book to all film-loving Christians. It is insightful and useful for both individuals and groups."

David Bruce, webmaster,

"In this insightful book, Velarde provides a great service to Christian families who love movies. His analysis of Pixar movies in light of their themes of identity, friendship, family, courage, ambition and other values is a great help for those who want a fuller, richer experience from their movie viewing. He helps to draw out important values from Pixar movies that illuminate for the viewer/reader that these movies are much more than family-friendly entertainment; they are modern parables of wisdom and virtue."

Brian Godawa, screenwriter, To End All Wars, and author, Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment

"A lot of fun to read. Velarde writes in an easy-to-read style and beautifully draws out themes of hope, identity, justice, friendship, humor, family, courage, adventure, and love. . . excellent for a small group, a church, or even a series of family discussions."

Bill Boerman-Cornell, Christian Schools International, Fall 2010

"Velarde draws sensive conclusions and connections between the Christian life and many Pixar characters and plotlines. The themes of hope and imagination run throughout many of the films. Concice chapters and discussion questions make this book accessible for group studies."

Bonnie Bruner, Christian Retailing

"Finding Nemo, Cars and Up are a few of the Pixar films into which Robert Velarde delves to find a variety of themes that support Christian values. Though he points out that Pixar doesn't directly tie its films to Christian morals and theology, Velarde draws sensivle conclusions and connections between the Christian life and many Pixar characters and plotlines. Themes such as justice, family, love and technology are explored in depth through the lens of Pixar films as well as through Scriptures and Christian thought."

Charisma, (, June 2010

"With its discussion questions, movie discussion guide, and appendixes on Pixar's plots, this is perfect for Christian discussion groups and should also serve Christian educators very well."

Library Journal, May 1, 2010



1 Virtue and Wisdom: An Animated Look
2 Hope and Imagination: To infinity and beyond!
3 Identity: Toy Story-You are a toy!
4 Justice: A Bug's Life-For oppressed ants everywhere!
5 Friendship: Toy Story 2-You've got a friend in me.
6 Humor: Monsters, Inc.-These are the jokes, kid.
7 Family: Finding Nemo-I have to find my son!
8 Courage: The Incredibles-Where's my Super suit?
9 Adventure: Cars-Life is a journey.
10 Ambition: Ratatouille-I want to make things.
11 Technology: WALL-E-Everything you need to be happy.
12 Love: Up-I have just met you, and I love you!

Appendix A: Pixar's Plots
Appendix B: Pixar's Short Films
Appendix C: Movie Discussion Guide
About the Author
Pixar Index
General Index


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Robert Velarde

Robert Velarde is a writer and editor for Sonlight Curriculum. He is the author of The Heart of Narnia (NavPress, 2008), Inside the Screwtape Letters (Baker, forthcoming), The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer, 1999), The Lion, the Witch and the Bible (NavPress, 2005), and Examining Alternative Medicine (InterVarsity Press, 2001). A former editor for Focus on the Family, he received his MA in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary.