Up With Pixar!

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Okay I've been an absentee poster, and with all the wonderful things happening in the entertainment world as things wrap up! I'm sure I'll try to find time to post on them...like wtf to the One Tree Hill finale?

Regardless, it's time I move away from TV a bit for prime movie season - that's right, it's summer!

I was browsing trivia on IMDB.com like I do after most movies when I came across this article written by a fellow blogspotter. In it, he lists his favourite Pixar films - since we've rounded out a full ten now - in order from 'worst' to best.

Truthfully this is super hard for me to do - I have emotional attachments to certain aspects and parts of all Pixar movies, and unlike most people, I don't despise Cars (although admittedly, it would rank lower in my ratings). I asked my boyfriend what he'd pick - and as an avid Cars fan (and 5 year old at heart) even he was torn. Still, I'm going to do my best to try and rank my top 10 for you now.

10. A Bug's Life - This is by default, since I haven't seen it, but there's probably a reason for that. For some reason, this movie seems to get lost in the Pixar filmography, which I can only assume is because it's just not that awesome. I mean...we still have Toy Story merchandise filling up the shelves at your local Disney store, but when's the last time you saw a Bug's Life toy?

9. Up - I didn't *not* like this movie and I feel bad for throwing it in the last spot...but to me, this movie is inextricably tied to its 3D animation. Had this film been released a couple of years ago, I don't think its story would have held the test of time quite as much as some of the other Pixar films. The characters weren't quite as dynamic, the story was a bit too bizarre, and I felt like the hallmarks of an absolutely amazing Pixar film gave way a bit to the extra effort put into making it 3D. That being said, I still found this movie to be quite heartfelt and quite funny at some points - and Pixar at 90% is still better than most animation studios out there.

8. Cars - Okay, my attachment to this film is mostly emotional. I too am weirded out by the Cars upon Cars upon Cars world this movie is set in. But my boyfriend adores it, and that makes me enjoy watching it - just to see him happy and think back to a really nice date night we had seeing this. Plus, the scene with the neon lights? Beautiful and heartwarming. That being said, Cars generally isn't my...subject...of choice, and I'm a bit ticked with Pixar for making a Cars 2 if only for the marketability of the whole thing (speaking as someone with a house full of Cars merch). I did love the little pit stop vehicle, and Jordan's love for Mater is sweet.

7. The Incredibles - I'm not sure why I'm not a bigger fan of this one. I think I prefer animated films not about people, even ones as incredible as the Parr family. Overall I didn't really relate to / like the Craig T. Nelson dad character, and the whole thing just felt very long and drawn out and frustrating at some points. I also felt like there was a lack of diversity in the usually colourful cast of characters Pixar creates in their films (see Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Cars). It was the family and the villains basically, plus Samuel L. Jackson's underused character. There were some cool elements and really nice animation though, and I'm glad people featured in at least Pixar film so I wouldn't be sitting her bitching about the lack of Pixar films about people, but overall I've just never LOVED this one.

6. Toy Story 2 - I actually really really liked both Toy Story 1 and 2. In some ways they are interchangeable on this list, despite having another movie between them. Toy Story 2 upped the animation quality, introduced a bounty of hella annoying new characters (I'm SO not a fan of Jessie, sorry), and featured all of our favourites for another round of relatively plausible / hilarious toy fun. It also took on an element of realism with the theme of abandoned toys that I quite appreciated...Sarah McLachlan's song? Beauty! The airport chase sequence? An awesome precursor to the door sequence in Monsters Inc. But yeah, I hated Stinky Pete and Jessie, so by default this movie ends up here.

5. Wall-e - Again, I feel weird putting some of these movies in the mid-range when I truly loved every single one of them. For me, Wall-e is possibly Pixar's most interesting technical achievement in their bleak portrayal of Earth. It's sort of their auteur stab at animation - breaking all of the rules for a children's film by incorporating vintage musical numbers, a desolate unfamiliar environment, removing most dialogue, and making the everyday person a villain. Well, that and technology - the very same technology we're actually supposed to love in Wall-e and Eve. I think Wall-e succeeds at all of these things, although much like Ratatouille, perhaps doesn't succeed so much at being a memorable, dynamic, marketable (ahem) children's film. Oh plus I absolutely LOVE the sequence of Wall-e traveling through space. As an astronomy nerd, I greatly appreciated Pixar's venture into our galaxy.

4. Toy Story - I think the Toy Story films probably have the best characters overall, hence the long-term marketability of the franchise. Buzz and Woody are two sides of the same coin for loveableness, and aside from that, the entire cast is interesting - both archetypal and hilariously layered at the same time. The first Toy Story film wins for an amazing story and introduction to what animated film can do - if not for the dazzling animation its current day peers have (although remember how amazing it seemed back then)? Am I a bit worn out with the story? Sure, but I still enjoy watching it time & again, and I still remember seeing this movie with my family and being blown away. A Pixar classic that stands the test of time.

3. Ratatouille - Despite the ick factor here, and the lack of distinguishable characters (I still refer to most of them with vague names like 'the chick chef' or the 'fat brother rat', or mix up the actual character names), I feel like this movie wins mega points - perhaps over any other Pixar film - for its ending. The Ego voiceover sequence seriously tugs every one of my heart strings every time I listen to it and generally just makes me feel great about life. It's definitely a daring movie, and definitely not a children's animated classic per se, but the visual richness, ability to make the implausible lovable, and the charming francais unity of the whole thing gives it bonus marks in my book.

2. Monsters Inc. - I think this is the first time Pixar really stretched it legs to show the world what it could do. Before that they were known for two successes - the Toy Story's - and kind of overshadowed with Antz in regards to A Bug's Life, meaning their name had yet to be set in glittering gold. To me, the animation, story, and widespread popularity of MI sealed the deal for them to be the darlings of animated Hollywood. As a result, I have a soft spot in my heart for this movie as being the first Pixar film that really screamed the Pixar that we know and love today - breaking major ground in animation and story development in the animated category. I'm still baffled as to why this didn't win the Oscar.

1. Finding Nemo - A safe bet, to be sure, but this is genuinely one of my fave Pixar films, and there's a good reason why it's so damn popular. For one, it's one of Pixar's most cohesively stunning movies - from the subject matter to the amazing Thomas Newman score (particularly in the belly of the whale) to the hugely diverse but memorable cast. I've actually wasted many hours of my time watching all of the Finding Nemo special features because I was so taken with this film. One thing I didn't appreciate until I did that was the interpretation of marine life through so many different settings - they didn't just settle in one coral reef and call it a day, you saw everything from the deepest bowels of the ocean to human-polluted shorelines to a freakishly sterilized tank. Aside from everything else, you've got to appreciate this was the most far-flung of Pixar films, refusing to settle with just being 'under the sea', you got to see everything there is with ocean / marine life. Awesome.

I'd tell you my fave Pixar shorts but I honestly don't remember them all. I know my faves include One Man Band, Presto, and Partly Cloudy - all more recent, I know, but I also love Knick Knack - and that I didn't love Lifted and Boundin'. For the Birds is good, but I don't get the extreme love for it. What can I say about my other choices, I'm a sucker for cuteness.

Till later,

Britt's On

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