Last week while substitute teaching, I watched Finding Nemo in German (Findet Nemo!). Boy, it had been an awfully long time since I had seen that movie. I had forgotten a lot of it and how it’s basically The Odyssey for kids. With Fish! In Australia! Yay! But really, it got me thinking of Pixar films as a whole and how I would rate them, especially now since there are a lot of them and more coming soon. The Good Dinosaur comes out next year, followed by Finding Dory, and the promise of a sequel to The Incredibles (yay!) and another Cars sequel (nay).
So without further ado here is my list.
1. Wall-E. I love the hell out of this little robot guy. While this film is very different from the usual Pixar fare, it is in my opinion the most artistic, the most risk-taking, and the most beautiful and heart-felt of all of them. Only Pixar could make us care about a love story between two robots. I also like the post-apocalyptic nature of the story. It’s kind of a futuristic re-imagining of the Noah story, Eve is the white dove who brings back the olive-branch. Humanity re-populates the earth, etc. It’s just such a beautiful film.
2. The Toy Story films, collectively. These three films are Pixar’s masterpiece. This is the heart of Pixar, the first Toy Story is the one that started it all and I have such fond memories of it growing up. The trilogy grew with that first audience and even kids who weren’t alive to see this first one in theaters still enjoy it. The heart of Pixar is friendship and family and the bonds we form with others. Toy Story taught us to value that.
3. The Incredibles. One of the funnest, most hilarious Pixar films of all. I also wanted to be Elasta-girl when I first saw this movie when it came out. Really she is the ideal strong fantastic female role model. She does it all! And has fabulous hair while she does it. (Forget about Merida, but more on that later).
4. Monsters Inc. Everyone loves this movie. Mike and Sully have probably the best Pixar bromance since Buzz and Woody. This movie is the most quoted by my sibs and I. Seriously it scares me how much I have memorized of this film. This one ranks high because of the nostalgia vote.
5. Ratatouille. This film ranks in the weird/artsy era of Pixar. It has a unique charm and is so darn French. I just love it. The concept is super weird but yet it follows its own bizarre logic so well it becomes endearing.
6. Up. Don’t squawk that I ranked this so low. Yes it is a charming story and beautifully animated. But at the same time I think it was over-hyped as super artsy quasi-hipster fare. It still ranks above and beyond most animated schlock that gets made these days, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype for me. And way too many hipstery photo-shoots are all over Pinterest because of it.
7. Finding Nemo. I’ve posted before my satirical thoughts about this movie. And I do still think it’s scary and super emotional. But it is also a great story and a well done sort of re-imagining of Homer’s Odyssey but more child friendly and with fish. Not to mention it is beautifully animated like all good Pixar films.
8. A Bug’s Life. Pixar’s sophomore effort has always been underrated in my opinion. While it’s not as grand as many of it’s other films it still holds up in my opinion. It’s very cute, has memorable characters and hilarious dialogue.
9. Brave. This was a film I was supposed to love more than I did. First female protagonist? From a Celtic country? Accurately represents what life with curly hair is like? All things I should love except only the latter is something she succeeded in doing for me. Merida was supposed to be so, so cool. But this film fell flat of it’s potential. I really think it was because the story was re-written after half the animation was done. it could have been such a great fantasy-epic. I would like to have known what this film was before the re-write. That said, the mother-daughter relationship here was very real and heart-warming. Otherwise this movie was basically Brother Bear meets How to Train Your Dragon.
10. Cars. This was cute. The soundtrack wasn’t too bad. It was just cute the first time and maybe it’s just because I enjoy Owen Wilson. The most annoying thing about this movie was Mater. And the fact that it became such a huge marketing ploy for the company it just was so over-commercialized in a confusing way. Much like NASCAR racing.
11. Monsters University. Again, cute. But not amazing in any sense or really living up to the spirit of the original. Some funny inside jokey references to the first film. But really nothing groundbreaking like previous films.
12. Cars 2. The worst piece of dreck to be animated and possible the worst animated film of all time besides late era Don Bluth and most of the other schleck that gets green-lighted these days. (I’m looking at you The Nut Job and Shrek 15: It’s only a matter of time). Let’s take the most annoying thing from the first movie, Mater, and make a film centered around him. Bad form Pixar. Bad form. I thought better of you. This was actually the first Pixar film that made me question their integrity and creative genius. They stooped so low to cash-in on merchandising. My dreams were shattered. But the future looks bright. (Looking forward to you, The Good Dinosaur).