Some of you are probably wondering why I left the Pixar movies out when I ranked the Disney Animated features. Well, all of the stuff Pixar has done is animated and they have always worked with Disney. In fact, they are owned by Disney. But a) I was ranking the features which were produced by a company called Walt Disney Animation Studios and b) I needed to narrow things down.
Well, if anybody’s a Pixar fan, now’s the chance! For me, Pixar is a fine film studio. It certainly introduced CG animation, which is creative, but nowadays has become obsessive and clichéd. There are good ones, but anyway, here’s the list!;
10. Cars (2006)
Who’s up for a bit of speedway? Remember The Love Bug and its many sequels, about a racing Volkswagen beetle with a life of its own, and Disney’s version of Robin Hood, which had anthropomorphic animals with no humans in it whatsoever? Basically, Cars is about a racing car living in a world inhabited by other anthropomorphic vehicles. Sounds a bit weird, don’t you think? Okay maybe it’ll be a bit like Budgie The Little Helicopter and Top Gear (the latter which I ain’t never been much of a fan of, long story) tied together. I’m all for motor racing and I give credit for the vehicle designs (extra points for including a Volkswagen camper van!), but Cars is a bit too obnoxious and dull for me. Certain scenes get in the way of my enjoyment. I can’t believe they had to include a scene where the tractors fart. For crying out loud, if you wanted them to pass wind, at least make the farts sound like car engines turning on!
9. A Bug’s Life (1998)
I think I enjoyed A Bug’s Life better when I was a kid, but now that I’m older, it ain’t as great as I remember it. I have to admit, I love the liberal message the film gets across. The fact is, when this movie came out, another bug-related cartoon came out the same year. That movie was Antz. Antz was the film I saw at the pictures. I later watched A Bug’s Life on one of my neighbours’ videos. Now if there’s one film I’d choose between Antz and this one, I would say Antz. The reason is because compared to Antz, A Bug’s Life lacks enough detail for a CGI cartoon. The characters, especially the ants, are not animated right! If them producers thought they could rival Antz, why are the ants missing two legs? And why are they blue?! Apart from its decent values, it’s just an excuse for cutesiness.
8. Monsters INC (2001)
Monsters INC is one of them films I saw at the cinema. I was 12 at the time. When I first watched it, I enjoyed it. But then, after it was released on VHS, teachers over-showed it to us, probably due to students’ requests, I dread to think. Looking back, and this is why I said ‘I dread to think’, Monsters INC ain’t as great as I remember it. I was really invested in the film’s liberal values, the fact that Waternoose and Randall come up with this machine built to kill the kids, which will put all the monsters out of work, because they’re hired to scare the kids in order to generate power. That’s really creative. But the more I watch it, the more annoying it gets, though not everybody will feel that way. The problem with Monsters INC is the cast of characters. Sure Sulley is a good protagonist, Randall and Waternoose are awesome villains, Roz is hilarious, but about half the cast irritate me; Mike, Celia, geez I could slap her(!), sometimes Boo can be annoying, but I am invested in the relationship between her and Sulley, but the most annoying characters from this film are Smitty and Needleman. God their voices hurt my ears! It’s like they’re trying to rip-off the character of the Squeaky Voiced Teen in the Simpsons (of course he’s a great character). I’m also not a huge fan of Randy Newman’s songs. They ain’t bad, they’re just not brilliant. But I enjoy some of the visuals (like the door scene for example) and I really admire the ending (mustn’t give anything away). The values are cool, the villains are cool, half of the rest of the cast can kiss my butt. I’m glad I watched Monsters INC when I had the chance, but I’ve seen it enough times.
Pixar’s animated feminine version of Braveheart. What can a guy like myself say about a princess-related movie? Well it’s so much more than that. There’s plenty of action to enjoy and I admire how Merida constantly stands up to her controlling and overprotective mom, always a great sign and she’s a regular Robin Hood. The Scottish background is also well-designed. There’s just one thing that I don’t get and that’s the bit where Elinor turns into a bear. It is a great climax when we see Merida trying to get her back into a human and we understand the witch’s betrayal, but turning into a bear after eating a cake. I can understand the idea of boys making literal jackasses out of themselves, parents pigging at a theme park and turning into pigs, an Inuit transforming into a bear after slaughtering one. But cakes and bears? Was the cake honey-flavoured? I’d probably get it.
As you probably get, apart from Braveheart, Brave seems to have taken elements from previous Disney films; Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Mulan, er… Brother Bear (?)…, but it doesn’t make it a bad movie. It’s still decent.
6. Finding Nemo (2003)
Ironically, I didn’t see Finding Nemo at the cinema when it came out.
Yeah I know, big blockbuster. But I haven’t seen every single blockbuster in the world you know. I ain’t even seen Inception yet. The reason why I avoided Finding Nemo in the first place was because I thought it was just going to be an excuse for cutesy bits. I mean let’s face it, it’s about a bunch of little clown fish. The trailers and advertisements made it look like it was just going to be a movie aimed at really young children and I had only just become a teenager that year, so I felt I was too old. I of course was over analyzing, because one is never too old for Disney. But at the time, I wanted to see more ‘grown-up’ films. However, a college friend of mine persuaded me to watch it and so we had a movie night and watched Finding Nemo. It was better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed the visuals and the character development. I was really invested when Marlin lost his wife and how Nemo became the only child of his that survived and as a result becomes so overprotective of his son that Nemo sneaks away to the shore, leading to his kidnap. So it’s not a bad film. My only nitpick would be the villain, Darla, who once shook a fish to death. Was it a good idea to make a disabled child the villain? Would viewers get the wrong impression? I don’t know. But overall, Finding Nemo is a pleasant experience. It provides a perfect anti-fishing moral to viewers. What works really works. Visual, liberal, you name it.
4/5. Toy Storys 1 & 2 (1995 / 1999)
And starter from five (and four), we now come to the franchise in which Pixar is probably best remembered for; the Toy Story films. Some of you may ask, why am I tying the first two films together? And of course, some of you may think I’m just too lazy to pick a favourite from the series. Well to be quite frank, I don’t have a particular favourite Godfather movie, nor can I decide which Lord Of The Rings film I like best. When I ranked the Walt Disney Animated Features, I found both Rescuers features as good as each other. In fact, that’s the same opinion I have with both Toy Storys 1 and 2. I think they’re both so good, I can’t decide which one is better. I ain’t too keen on the detailed features for the human characters, except for Al and Geri. I especially think Pixar ought to have gone for a more Antz or Beowulf look, personally. Though I realise that Toy Story was Pixar’s first full CGI-made feature and the first full CGI-made feature in general, so I can let Pixar off. Randy Newman’s soundtrack is okay. Of course it’s better than the soundtrack from James & The Giant Peach (yuk!). But the best things about TS 1 & 2 are the storylines, the dialogue, the attentions to detail, character backgrounds and of course the originality.
Now if you’re wondering about Toy Story 3, we’ll get to that one later. Right now though…
3. WALL-E (2008)
I was 18 at the time WALL-E came out and yet, I felt I was too old to watch such a ‘cute-looking’ film. Maybe I was over-analysing; at the time I was studying A-Level Film Studies and I learned that one shouldn’t judge a film just by its target audience. I certainly didn’t enjoy Robots which further distanced myself from WALL-E. However I later saw WALL-E on BBC1 and it was much better than I thought. The film is a mostly silent movie set in a dystopian future where Earth is nothing but a garbage dump. That is awesome! It’s like a futuristic nightmare for many people who predict the future. And there’s WALL-E whose job is to clear the trash. He falls in love with a female robot called EVE whose mission is to seek out any vegetation left on the planet. So as you can see, this is a very unique love story. Not only that, but the film portrays communication through sound effects and includes strong messages of humanity and environmental issues. There’s one thing that bugs me; part of the second act; the humans. They all look the same and don’t have much of the personally, therefore I can’t remember any of them individually. That was the strong point to Atlantis. However, that’s a personal nitpick and I can understand why they are overweight and are unfit to exercise, due to the fact they relied too much on the modern technology.
I would’ve been a total wally, had I not given WALL-E at least one viewing.
2. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Some of you may have been wondering why I didn’t tie Toy Story 3 along with the other two. Well I’m about to reveal the answer. First of all, can I just say?; when Toy Story 3 came out, I wanted to see it, but I was too tied up with college work at the time, so I didn’t get much chance. Sorry If I shocked you. Yeah I know, big blockbuster and Best Picture nominee. However, I think Toy Story 3 deserved that Oscar nomination. In fact, I site this one as my favourite movie from the Toy Story series. It contains extremely powerful visuals, it’s darker and there’s also more drama. I cried a bit at the ending, but mostly at the scene where the toys are imprisoned by Lotso. I also really felt for Woody when he reminded his fellow toys about their past losses including his girlfriend Bo. I was quite saddened that she wasn’t in this one. I especially enjoy the finale in the incinerator and how deeply detailed the trash is and of course the tension. Another cool point to the movie is Sid’s cameo.
1. UP (2009)
And Thunderbirds they are go! UP is another movie that surprised me to bits. At first, I didn’t think the film would be that great; I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a comedy film including any sort of item flying with balloons or an overweight kid interacting with a senior citizen. I actually thought them elements have been done to death and felt it was too much for kids. Hence why I avoided the film on it’s release, even though the rest of my family saw it. But when we got it on DVD, I watched it and I kicked myself. UP was much more awesome than I thought. It was a great work of art! It contains an uplifting prologue which sparked tears to my eyes. Carl befriends Ellie, who is also a fan of his favourite celebrity. They get married and try for a baby, but Ellie has a miscarriage. Throughout their life, they attempt to save up for a trip to Paradise Falls to meet their idol, but are constantly forced to pay off their savings to various misfortunes, including a burst car tire. The most heartbreaking moment of the prologue is Ellie’s death. This part of the film highlights various issues adults like myself and older people can all understand and feel for. Yet of course, the rest of the film does as well. Carl somehow reminds me of Victor Meldrew from One Foot In The Grave. Both men have problems I can easily empathise with. Victor loses his job and is forced to cope with his involuntary retirement and cope with elements of the modern world which turn against him. Here in Up, Carl has lost his childhood sweetheart and all he wants to do is visit Paradise Falls, which is what Ellie would’ve wanted. At one time, he snaps at a construction worker who fiddles about with his mailbox and is ordered by the court to move to a retirement home. So he uses his balloons to fly his house away. I don’t blame him for that. As for Russell, he ain’t bad whatsoever. He’s kinda like the inner child to Carl. The animals are also fun and artistic. And of course Charles F. Muntz is a great villain.
I think I’ve said enough about the film now, but before I finish, let me just say that the fact UP was the second cartoon to receive an Academy Award nomination after Beauty & The Beast ain’t the reason why I placed it at number 1. The reason is because there’s a good reason for it.
I know there are some movies I missed out through my rankings, but here is a list of movies I still need to see or just ain’t watched all the way through;
The Incredibles (2004), I only saw a bit of this one, but not all the way through.
Cars 2 (2011)
Monsters University (2013)
Thank you for reading my opinion on what I believe are the worst-to-best movies produced by Pixar. If there are any filmmakers/production companies, etc, whose movies you can recommend me to rank, feel free to let me know.