"Virtue ethics," which is what you find in Pixar films, is really about building our characters so that when we have to make a choice, ethically speaking, we know instinctively what that choice is going to be because we have sort of trained ourselves morally to make that right choice. And the ideas that you find in this book, The Wisdom of Pixar, would apply to anything really.

CW: You mentioned C.S. Lewis, and I know you have done a lot of study of his works. When you were studying all of the Pixar films, and when you go back to Lewis and what a good allegorial storyteller he was, did you find any kinship through your studies of Lewis and what you found in Pixar? 

RV: Definitely. I think that the fact that Lewis himself was a proponent of "virtue ethics" is something that I found in the Pixar stories—that they appeal to these common moral themes and also that the movies are not preachy. I compare them to Christ's parables where he did not pull a textbook off the shelf and start lecturing. He told people stories like the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and they were memorable, and they had good moral messages. And that is what, I think, you find in Pixar movies.

CW: Can you rank your top five for us? 

RV: Top five... that is a tricky one. My top one is Finding Nemo. I think second to that is probably The Incredibles, just because I love the whole superhero theme. 

CW: That is my top one. 

RV: I would have to put Up there as well. That was just the whole message about love. And I think Wall-E is up there as well. The more I think about it, Ratatouille really struck me as giving us a good message as Christians as to how we can make a difference in culture through the arts...

Robert Velarde is a writer, educator, and philosopher. His books include The Wisdom of PixarConversations with C.S. LewisThe Golden Rules of Narnia, Inside The Screwtape Letters (forthcoming), and more. Twitter: @robert_velarde and @wisdomofpixar. Follow his blog here.

Publication date: September 17, 2010