Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Pixarticulation

Vocal Per formance in Pixar Animation

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2016), 10, (1), 1–23.

Abstract

Inasmuch as media studies has long been dominated by image-based analyses, the study of film sound has generally privileged examinations of film music. This study attempts to address this gap, offering an analysis of the voice and vocal performance in Pixar’s animated features. Taking the Toy Story series and Monsters, Inc. as case studies, this article considers three key components of vocality and star performance in Pixar feature animation. First, looking at paratextual materials, I examine how the voice and vocal casting participates in Pixar’s promotional discourses and how these branding strategies are designed to cultivate a broad audience demographic beyond animation’s traditionally child/family-based viewership. Second, at the level of the filmic text itself, I interrogate the corporate and formal logic of vocal allusion within Pixar’s works, which opens the texts to multiple modes of reception and discursive interpretations. Finally, I also discuss how vocal performance operates as a key intertextual nodal point in Pixar’s highly synergised network of media offerings: from feature and short films to soundtracks and video games, toys, amusement park attractions, and other media products.

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Montgomery, Colleen