Debate of the Day: Disney vs. Pixar

Here’s a debate for today that’s actually about something vs. something, which is a rarity most days, as usually these are open ended discussion questions. The trick here is that these are probably both two things that you love, so it’s going to be hard to choose.

There was an “era” as it were of a host of classic Disney films ranging from The Little Mermaid to Beauty and the Beast to Aladdin to The Lion King. The hand drawn animated classics were staples of our childhood, and have a permanent place in our hearts.

But now, another era is a upon us, the Pixar era. Though born out of Disney, they’ve taken a decidedly different route, ditching princesses for a host of creative stories, where each and (almost) every one of their films has been pure gold. It’s a new era of entertainment and from Toy Story to The Incredibles to Monsters Inc to Up to Wall-E to Ratouille, it’s an entirely new era of classics.

So, which is “better”? It may be a subjective question, but I’m going to go out on a limb and definitively say Pixar’s crop of films. Why? Well for the most part, Disney films were adapted from classical stories, making their originality far less potent than Pixar’s creations. And also, it doesn’t help that the vast majority of all these Disney films were princess-centric. That’s fine and good, but it makes for rather predictable plots almost always based around love stories. The only real outlier is The Lion King, which is both a wholly original creation and free from the shackles of a traditional princess story. In fact, it almost feels like a Pixar movie when you think about it.

That’s just my two cents, what do you think?

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  1. Even though i loved Tarzan and lion king, My Favorite childhood cartoons, But between the ages of 8 to 14, I grew more interested in cartoons like Buzz Light year and as you said,Monsters inc( cant wait to see the second one),Toy story and The incredibles

  2. I can’t say which is better. Pixar is trying to bring back the golden era of animation when Disney was more innovative instead of franchising their princesses. Instead, I would rather say Pixar today is what Disney was way back then, and Disney was smart not to make a competitor out of them.

    Lion King is not original. As #4T2 said, it is a direct rip off of “Kimba The White Lion”. Even the animators and Matthew Broderick thought it was going to be a Kimba remake, but the Disney corporation (pre-Pixar) and their team of lawyers marketed it is as entirely original.

    Before 2006, Pixar was probably the only shining light in the animation industry that unfortunately caused a lot of animators to lose their jobs. When Pixar’s “partnership” with Disney was about to end in 2006, Disney bought them for 7 billion to eliminate a possible competitor.

    So neither is better. They both are collaborating hard to create a new golden age for animation.

  3. For me Pixar us the one. When I was little I rarely watched or cared about Princess movies other than Sleeping Beauty, and even then it was just something to watch (I was a huge Alvin and the Chipmunks person). But I loved Monsters Inc. and I loved The Incredibles, and I thought they were both Disney movies (I was too young to know any different).
    However, the moment I saw Wall*E in theaters was amazing, I couldn’t believe anyone had managed to create something that I loved so much! So I have been a Pixar fan ever since!

  4. Disney is an evil corporation and also stole Atlantis from another anime called Nadia the Secret of Blue Water.Plus ot brain washed millions of young girls. So Pixar.

  5. I would have to say Disney movies are better.

    It’s mostly due to the fact that, while Pixar movies are great, I would really never want to sit through a second viewing. I could watch those old Disney classics a thousand times though.

    I thought I was just being nostalgic, but then ‘Tangled’ happened… and I would rather watch that again than ‘Up’.

    Even ‘Princess and the Frog’ was great. Disney is on a rise again.

  6. While some of the animation and minor plot moments for The Lion King are directly ripped off of Kimba The White Lion, the main plot thread for the latter is the conflict/possibility for harmony between humans and the animal kingdom, so I don’t think you can really call it a total copy. But like Guy pointed out, the main storyline for The Lion King is totally Hamlet. So, you know, quite unoriginal in many ways!

  7. Pixar has a ton of great films that are hilarious, convey a range of emotions, and can be appreciated by people of all ages

    Disney has The Sword in the Stone and…. that’s it.

  8. Funny, as a kid I always preferred the Don Bluth films (Land Before Time, American Tail, and Secret of Nimh) and the old Disney films (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Sword in the Stone, and ESPECIALLY Fantasia), over the ones I saw in theaters. I can vaguely remember getting really excited for Little Mermaid back in 1989 (5 years old), and then being a little disappointed. After that, I’d say Lion King was the only one I liked as much. I haven’t even seen Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast since I’m 9-10. I was 13 when Hercules was released so obviously I didn’t see it at the time, nor have I ever gotten around to it.

    So, if its a choice between Pixar and MODERN Disney films, Pixar all the way. Even if I’ve only seen the Toy Story movies and Wall-E. I’ll get around to the rest someday. I just love that they named the company after an “off the cuff’ word spoken in my FAVORITE Disney film, “Flight of the Navigator”.

  9. Why is this even a topic when neither hold a candle to Studio Ghibli? Over 25 films and only a handful of Disney OR Pixar films are as good as their bottom 5. That said, Tangled was better than all but the first 5 minutes or so of Up, but that was the first Disney flick in decades that wasn’t a pass so Pixar takes it for now. Disney is no longer made up of artists. It’s a corporation that survives only by consuming other companies’ creativity. In 5-10 years, Pixar will be making disposable garbage that people pretend to like for nostalgia’s sake, just like Disney has been since the Lion King (until Tangled, that is). And Japan will still be doing it better than either of them ever did.

  10. Ok i’ll try.

    Kimba = Simba

    Simba in early sketches of Lion King was colored white, but they decided to change that. The Lion King also borrows scenes and characters like the shaman monkey, Simba’s bird friend and the evil comedy relief hyenas. The main bad guy in Kimba was Kimba’s aunt. And some scenes like Simba talking to ghost of his father in clouds are majorly copied. But like Sara said main plot thread for the Kimba latter became conflict between humans and the animal kingdom

  11. I feel that Pixar seems to enforce broader and better messages to their audiences; Wall-E – preserving the environment, Ratatouille – don’t judge a book by its cover, Up – different generations can teach each other valuable things.
    On the other hand, Disney’s themes usually expressed how a woman needs a man to have a happy ending.
    Thats how I feel anyway, Pixar gets my vote.

  12. I agree with what WakyWizerdX said, and I will also elaborate on it. Not only are Disney movies notorious for teaching sexist (almost every princess movie they have) and racist (Princess and the Frog being their token black movie) lessons to children, they’re probably also responsible in part for many of the young girls who turn anorexic, due to their ridiculously skinny female characters and heavy stereotypes of female beauty. Another problem they have is that many of their stories are indeed adaptations of other stories, most notably their takes on the fairytales originally written by the Brothers Grimm. Each of the original versions of these stories were much darker than what Disney made of them, and also taught important morals that were ultimately lost when Disney neutered and whitewashed the stories to make them “kid friendly”. Last but not least, Disney can also be credited for the narrow-minded belief in many Americans that animated shows and movies must be made exclusively for children, which those of us who watch anime know to be false.

  13. Why make us choose?

    Like you said, all of pixars movies are original stories so you know you’re going to see something fresh when it says pixar. Also, with these stories being original they are also very good, these movies poke at my emotions and some how make me feel for the animated characters as if they were real. And it is clearly that these movies were made for children, but these movies are so good that I feel no shame in going to see the movie “Up” with my roommate. Pixar movies rule.

    At the same time, Disney movies are pretty great as well. Sure they are adaptation from old fairy tales, but who would know what these tales and fables were had it not been for Disney? (a few with exception) Most people get pissed off at reboots, and in a way, Disney is just a company of reboots, that bring movies to generations for the past 50 or more years, and if there is a way to reboot something, Disney does it perfectly.

    But now to take a very unpopular stance, I will defend disney and its princesses. Even though I am a big supporter of feminism, it seems like feminist take away peoples choice of who there role models can be. Whats wrong with wanting to be a princess? I surely wanted to be one of the princes when I was 8, Like alladin, John Smith, hercules, and so on.

    (I also like the kingdom hearts series, for the disney stories, I claim for the final fantasy and the gameplay, but the disney is a guilty pleasure)

    So I like both

  14. -Greg
    Why? Is there any reason to curse at him? He made some excellent points. I have always been a huge fan of classic Disney, I grew up on the Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, etc. But I won’t deny that everything he said is perfectly true. Basically none of their princesses solve their problems on their own and need a man to come rescue them (if I remember correctly, Aladdin might subvert this, I seem to remember Jasmine being pretty independent, but I could just be remembering incorrectly). Some of their non princesses have been pretty strong. Esmeralda from The Hunch Back of Notre Dame comes to mind. But in the average Disney movie, basically girls and kids need a man or an adult to solve their problems for them. Whereas if you compair them to Studio Ghibli films (I assume that’s partially why he brought up anime), all of the main characters are either children or women (or both), and they ALWAYS are resourceful, solve their own problems, and rely almost entirely on themselves, with just a bit of help from those around them to help them from failing. I also find that as I’ve gotten older, while Disney films are still fun to watch because they’re nostalgic and bring me and my friends together, because we all watched them growing up, they don’t have quite the same appeal to me that Pixar and Studio Ghibli films have. Pixar seems to work well for kids and adults, and as a college student Toy Story 3 made me bawl, while Studio Ghibli, which it still keeps kids in mind with many of its movies, also isn’t afraid to look at darker themes and doesn’t try to sugarcoat everything the way Disney does.

  15. Completely agree with Alaric and Claire. I have no clue about anime…. but as a german i am pretty damn good with the grimm brothers. I didn’t see any movie till i was about 8 or 9… (strict rule for no more than 30 minutes TV, almost no private tv, no cinema….) but my grand-aunt was pretty impressive at telling the grimm stories (imagine a round old lady with red cheeks impersonating all roles, with a little child on each knee) And her telling was completly with cutting off toes, picking eyeballs out, etc…. (and that was just cinderella)

    So, Grimms Märchen get a bit “meh” if you see it in a disney movie, while you know the original story by heart.

    And you know, that Aladdin in the original is chinese, not arabic,right? But “Badroulbadour” is not so pronouncable like “Jasmin”

    So i saw disney always as this kind of plastic-american-bubblegum-thingy… with merchandise.

  16. I think you’re generalizing too much, particularly about the princesses: Pixar’s next movie will star a princess character, and of the 51 movies in the official Disney theatrical canon, there is definitely not a” majority” of princess movies.

    Disney is better at appealing to our inner child and our emotions, while Pixar movies are a bit more cerebral.

  17. You guys make me laugh. Who cares if Disney took ideas from others? The movies are AMAZING! Period. They’re the originals. Disney caused girls to go anarexic? I’m in my upper teens and I watch Disney movies faithfully every week and I have never once wished I looked like them. If anything I get fashion ideas about how I can bring the movies to life through my wardrobe. Definitely not knocking Pixar because they have great movies too. My opinion is that some of the arguments about Disney, above, are unfair and invalid.

  18. Even though disney’s princesses era has already passed they also have made good modern princesses like in the princess and the frog and the rapunzel based story called tanged…pixar is good but disney will always be in our hearts…

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