Film Structure and Pixar’s “Up”

Pixar‘s Up broke records at the Academy Awards this year winning Best Original Score and Best Animated Film in 2010.  It was one of the only two animated films to be nominated for “Best Picture“.  It was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  Although this film came out last year, last night was my first chance to see Up.  Up is a textbook example of utilizing Hollywood’s popular film structure, see my earlier post (09/05/10 Why Most Novels to Film Stink).

Film Structure in General

The basic elements of film/plot structure are fairly close to Joseph Campbell.  You start off with an initial change of the ordinary world (The Catalyst), followed by a shift in the main character’s priorities, making him committed to a goal (The Big Event).  Sometime after, he or she faces different challenges and the goal is either changed or the stakes are raised again (The Pinch).  This leads up to the “cavern moment’ were all seems lost (The Crisis Point), followed by an inevitable battle (The Showdown) leading to a peak in conflict (Climax) and the story’s end (Resolution).  That sounds fairly simple, so, let’s look at Pixar’s Up to see how it fits into this model.

This portion of the blog may contain some spoilers (I left these in white, highlight to read).  Please be advised! Continue reading