Thursday, 27 October 2011


Intertextuality is the way in which texts gain meaning through the use of other texts and the way they are effectively organised. The semiotic notion of this was introduced by Julia Kristeva primarily associating with post-structuralist theorists. We are heavily influenced and inspired by the exploration of others work, therefore we often recycle certain elements of their work in our own. Some we intend to use and we create self conscious intertextuality, but others are subconsciously using as every thought has been somewhat inspired from somewhere. This leads to the subject that nothing is original, everything we see and create has been conceptually developed from something else. However things will seem to be unique to different viewers, we could create in our eyes an original piece of work but someone else may view it and could instantly relate it to something else, so although nothing is actually ever original it can appear to be depending on the viewers past discoveries on similar things. 

Uused correctly intertextuality can purposely give another meaning to something, however every person will interpret it differently and some will see the signs whereas others wont. There are many different types of ways in which intertextuality can be used from simple inspiration, to pastiche art and parodies, whether it be a small part of a scene or a whole movie/episode such as the Star Wars episode of Family Guy. It doesn't always have to be as big and as obvious as this, smaller signs can be just as effective such as a quote or phrase copied from another movie. An example would be a well known quote from Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz; "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore?", in James Cameron's blockbuster 'Avatar' Col. Quaritch says "You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen.", in both of these films they are referring 'kansas' as the ordinary world, so the quotes state they are in an extraordinary place. Parodies are used in films to attract a certain part of the audience and allow them to relate to it. Often in animated films they include a parody from another film usually quite well known, this would attract a different audience to the film and they will enjoy the film in a different way to those who don't understand the parodies.. A good example of this would be in Madagascar there is an obvious parody from Planet of the Apes, people watching Madagascar without having seen Planet of the Apes will still find the scene enjoyable and it will still make sense in regards to the film, but it gives it another level of enjoyment and humour for those that understand the parody as it creates 'inside jokes'.

Pixar use intertextuality through all of their films, they mostly use signs referring to characters, symbols, objects and titles of works produced by the studio, but they also do parodies of other company films. In Toy story 2 the opening scene is a strong parody of Star Wars, it contains a space background with extremely similar music and titles, Buzz passes by like a Star Wars ship would pass by after a title. It has many sound effects from Star Wars including Darth Vaders breathing and lightsaber sounds. Later, Zurg says to Buzz "Come to me, my prey" which relates to when Darth Vader says to Luke "Come to me, my son", then Zurg says "So, we meet again, Buzz Lightyear, for the last time."  again relating to Darth Vaders quote "We meet again, at last". A few signs also refer to Star Trek such as in the beginning Qamma Quadrant is mentioned in the video game feauturing Buzz. There are many more signs in the Toy Story films which refer to Star Wars and Star Trek but those for example are very strongly linked and i think it attracts a new audience to the Toy Story films, as those who like Star Wars would see the opening scene and it would keep them engaged. This video shows more examples of the links between them:

As i mentioned, Pixar have a huge amount of self reference concerning intertextuality in their films. Here are some examples which occur often in a lot of Pixar films:

The Pixar ball, firstly shown on the short Luxo, Jr. 

The Pizza planet pickup truck has also been seen in many of the films:

A113 is an easter egg which had been inserted into many animated shows and films as a homage to a classroom at Calarts, the number is seen often in Pixar films:

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