This week’s post grew out of an argument/ discussion I was having with my good friend Bruce Wayne, an avid Film Geek in his own right. And, yes, I have a friend who is literally and legally named Bruce Wayne because that’s how I roll, Fanboys. That’s how I roll!
The discussion we were having seemed simple enough: Rank all of Pixar’s films in order of awesomeness. However, this seemingly simple task turned into a heated debate that we were both very passionate about. The problem seems to be that Pixar doesn’t really make bad movies. Even Disney with it’s impressive resume, and staunch runs through the 50’s & 60’s, as well as the 80’s & 90’s, can’t really compare with what Pixar has done in it’s brief existence. I’ll talk about that more later. Still, by looking at Pixar’s filmography you don’t see a Brother Bear or a Fox and the Hound. You see only Snow White and Aladdin, year after year. So, putting them in order proved daunting. More so towards the bottom of THE LIST then at the top where the general contraversy typically arises.
I figured now was a great time to do this list before Toy Story 3 comes out and while Pixar has a nice round number (10) of films under their belt.
Here they are, from best to worst:
1. TOY STORY.
This story is the antithesis of the Twilight Zone’s Talking Tina episode that explores, in a fun way, something every kid wonders… Do my toys come to life when I’m not around? One of two of their films that relied on a bit of star power for their voice cast, with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen (who, at the time, had the top selling book, most watched TV show and #1 movie at the box office). Probably more so because it was their first film, and at the behest of Disney, as they would shy away from this later. Still, in this case, the voice cast worked. What we got with Toy Story was an introduction to the way animated films would look in the future and the next generation’s Mickey and Donald in Buzz and Woody. Along with the rest of the gang, they hooked us all in and probably have us To Infinity And Beyond!!!
2. TOY STORY 2.
I was tempted to put the sequel at #4 however, it is arguably as good as the first film. The added characters worked themselves into the group seemlessly, the idea of having Woody being bought by a toy collector was genius and having Woody deal with some of the same realizations Buzz had in the first film felt natural. All in all, if it’s just as good, or close, to the first film, it deserves to be #2.
3. FINDING NEMO.
You know how I know Nemo was a good film? Because it was THE ONLY THING MY DAUGHTER WOULD WATCH FROM 2003 TO 2005!!! And we only had one TV!!! But, it never got old. Pixar introduced us to a whole new world under the sea and charcters we couldn’t help but love.
4. THE INCREDIBLES.
Most people that know me are probably surprised this isn’t my favorite Pixar film as I have a thing, some call it an obsession, I would argue a healthy one, with super-heroes. And this is pretty much a retelling of the Fantastic Four. Still, I do love this film. Mainly, because it showed us the sad side of being extraordinary and what it’s like to not be able to do what you know you were meant to.
Oh my God, I love this friggin’ robot. The most amazing part about this film is they manage to develop their main character (a Waste Allocator Load Lifter – Earth class) without using nearly any dialogue for the first half of the movie. An overwhelming task for any film, let alone one about a robot! Overall, the funnest part, is watching something without a heart learn to love.
One of my favorite films of this year. Who would’ve thought an old man and a boy scout in a house being propelled through the sky by helium balloons would be so damn entertaing. What I love too is that they didn’t shy away from the darker tone at the beginning of the film. Very much in the vein of the old Disney classics.
7. MONSTER’S INC.
The second question every kid wonders: Are there Monsters in my closet? Yes, there are but they’re just doing there job! I love Monster’s Inc. and will probably get the most flack for this one and Cars but just couldn’t put it ahead of the other films on this list!
8. A BUG’S LIFE.
Bug’s Life is like Pixar’s forgotten little gem. This one always seems to fly under the radar for some reason. Dreamworks releasing Antz at the same time certainly didn’t help. Bug’s Life is certainly Pixar’s most cookie cutter film but it’s fun to watch none-the-less.
Ratatouille and I just never clicked with each other. One thing this film lacks, that all of Pixar’s other flicks have, is a journey into a new world. A fresh take on, or look at, an imaginary or even ordinary place. It was a good film but I can’t rank it any higher. Ultimately, probably Pixar’s most forgettable characters (aside from the name Ratatouille).
I know I’ll get grief for this but I just didn’t love Cars. This one was definately aimed more directly at the kids. Which, from a marketing standpoint, is genius to make a film about talking cars. It is also probably the best Pixar film in terms of color and eye candy. Still, it didn’t engage me like their other films and the casting of big stars for voice rolls seemed uncomfortable and unusual. A good film but, ultimately, in my opinion, Pixar’s worst!
Again, let me state, being Pixar’s worst film isn’t a bad thing. All of Pixar’s films are great… some just more so than others.
Pixar is an amazing thing in many ways. It’s not often that films come along and change the way all other films are made. Still, while others, like Dreamworks and Fox, will imitate and have some success (Shrek, Ice Age), there will probably never be anything like Pixar. Mainly because the approach they take in cultivating their films. Creators are kept on from inception to release and story is made the main priority. Their films continue to evolve throughout the process even if they are forced to shelve them. WALL-E was actually conceived at a Toy Story lunch meeting in 1994 and didn’t see the big screen for over 10 years because it wasn’t quite right. That’s dedication. Especially in Hollywood. Another reason it took so long was because they didn’t feel they were technically ready. One more reason they deserve much respect. From the early years of Toy Story to the present, Pixar has done evrything they can to push themselves technically, even though they are at the top of the game. Sometimes, it’s just little things like the dust in the water in Nemo (which lead them to believe they were ready for WALL-E) or the human hair on the characters in The Incredibles. I’m sure that most of the Pixar staff will go on to do amazing things, and I’d love to see them tackle live-action, but they will never do what they are doing at Pixar where they have created a community of artists who work together with a collective goal of putting out the best possible product. That’s to be commended. Again, especially in Hollywood!
I also wanted to say, that we are all very lucky to be alive in this time. To know the world of Disney and see the emergence of this thing called Pixar. Our children were born into the computer age. They will not have that!
I’ll leave you with this… a trivia question: Only one person has voiced a character in every Pixar film… Name him! And, name the sitcom he was famous for and the character he played. You’re out, Bruce Wayne, as I know you all ready know this one.
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