I finally got my hands on the richly-packed mammoth green book from Chronicle Books via Amazon, “To Infinity and Beyond! – The Story of Pixar Animation Studios”. It adds to my collection of Pixar’s “The Art of…” series. Two of my heroes of inspiration are featured here. John Lasseter and Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, who also co-founded Pixar. I also admire the works of Ed Catmull, Lee Unkrich, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Brad Bird, Joe Ranft and Glenn McQueen. At least these are the names I’m familiar with at Pixar. It would be great to see Pixar in-person, but in the meantime, I enjoy their work and books. This book is for any fanboy of Pixar, Apple and those interested in the history and development of animation movies. What sparked my immediate interest in Pixar movies as a child was when I was given a copy of Toy Story for my birthday, not only was it colourful and deeply emotional, but it never followed Disney’s animation films with an outburst of song – that is how Pixar attracted me when I was a young viewer.

The book itself is expensive, but the presentation is flawless – just like the export of annual movies and short films, the attention to detail is impeccable and the research that is invested to give us a unique understanding of the company we have come to love over the years. John Lasseter would tell you a thing about research, that you can never do enough research!

The book covers three chapters, which sees a separate chapter dedicated to each of Pixar’s team of creative co-founders: Ed Catmull, John Lasseter and Steve Jobs. There is much about discussion and development photographs of the early days, when Pixar was in its infancy and how they started off in the medical industry working with CAT scans. My personal favourite short film has to be Luxo Jr. Not only does it feature in Pixar’s feature film logo at the beginning, but the extensive animation and academic detail in the stages of using traditional animation to apply in a 3D setting is simply astounding. Other early short films are well documented with storyboards and background writing, and includes the recent short film to date (at the time of writing the book) One Man Band.

You know what? The book also features the original Pixar bond used when you purchased Pixar shares. It is exciting to see some of the original concept art and the rendered images of the feature films that we have come to know and love – you know, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, etc. The book doesn’t feature the works of the feature films of the recent years including Ratatouille, Wall.E, Up and Toy Story 3 (and the up-and-coming Cars 2 movie that is due 2011). I would love to attach more photos of the book within, but there are so many to choose from – for that reason, you should pick up a copy whenever you can. However, I do want to close this review and add a special recognition to two guys who are sadly not with Pixar, including Joe Ranft, Glenn McQueen. It’s good to see them again. Both, Karen Paik and the information of the interviews and research compiled by Leslie Iwerks have done a wonderful job to make this a book to cherish – To Infinity and Beyond!

~Richard