Friday, June 18, 2010

Ranking Pixar from "worst" to best

I really can't wait to see Toy Story 3, hopefully soon. The reviews have been unanimously positive, and what else has there been this summer? Anyway, the critics at EW.com did an interesting exercise today, ranking Pixar's first ten movies from "worst" (it's all relative here) to best. The list was interesting, but had some definite head scratchers, such as Monsters, Inc. in the bottom two. Really?

So, keeping in mind that I really love all of these movies, here is my top 10 list (number one being the best):

10. Cars: A fun movie, and beautiful to look at (especially if you're into cars), but still my least favorite because it is a little predictable. I might feel differently if I had a little boy, though.
9. A Bug's Life: A creative look at the grasshopper/ant hierarchy with some terrific moments (I still giggle about Flik's failed "this rock is a seed" metaphor), but really just the tip of the Pixar iceberg of greatness. Plus, the plot feels lifted from Three Amigos.
8: Wall-E: I liked this movie more than most of my family/friends, and Lily loves it, but it is a bit preachy in tone, and the humans-are-lazy subplot is mildly grating. Still, the dialogue-free interactions between Wall-E and Eve are fantastic; pure visual poetry. (Lily occasionally puts her fingers together "like Wall-E" when she's trying to fall asleep.)
7: Up: I've only seen this once, and I really loved the interaction between Karl and the kid, plus the themes of adventure and age, told lovingly and humorously. The talking dogs, while funny, are probably the only reason this doesn't rank higher for me.
6: Finding Nemo: This movie has gotten better with repeat viewings, and it was great movie to begin with. The voice work is stellar, especially from Ellen DeGeneres, and the touching father/son dynamic is powerful. My only minor complaint is that I dislike the plot device where two people who are looking for each other (father/son, boy/girl, etc.) keep crossing paths and missing each other for one reason or another.
5: Toy Story 2: It really is a great sequel, and pays homage to the groundbreaking original without rehashing it. I love how the toys explore such meaningful themes as age, abandonment, and friendship with such good-spirited wit and warmth.
4: Monsters, Inc.: Probably Pixar's warmest; a comedic love letter about the spell that kids can cast on you and the crazy things that you will do for them. If you don't get goosebumps when Sully opens Boo's door in the final frame of the movie, you just don't have a soul. (A sequel is in the works.)
3: Ratatouille: I'm sure I'm in the minority here, as this is probably Pixar's most random film (a rat...who loves to cook...in Paris), but this is one of my favorites. Maybe it's the theme of food, maybe it's the music (one of my all-time favorite soundtracks), or maybe it's because Lily would watch this on a continuous loop...something about it just clicks for me. I love the messages of tolerance, nurturing your imagination, and pursuing your passion. I just love this movie from beginning to end; it never fails to make me smile.
2: The Incredibles: The best action movie to come around in years. Fast-paced, hysterically witty, and emotionally complex. It works equally as satire or homage to comic-book/superhero movies, while deftly tackling the complicated dynamics of family relationships and reigniting the romantic spark in marriage. My favorite Incredibles memory to this day was watching it for the first time with my Eddy nieces/nephews and watching them run alongside Dash as he raced through the jungle from the bad guys. They were CAPTIVATED by the adventure; it was a joy to observe.
1: Toy Story: This is an easy pick, but for me, it's still the benchmark that Pixar will likely forever be trying to recapture. I don't remember another movie being able to so quickly transport me back to a time when I believed that my He-Man action figures would go on battling well after I had gone to bed. This was the first time we'd seen a full movie that was completely rendered in a computer, but it never once feels manufactured or cold (George Lucas could have learned a thing or two). This film remains one of my all-time favorites, and hasn't lost a bit of its relevance or wit even 15 years later.

As cheesy as it sounds, I'm just grateful that the passionate grown-up kids who work at Pixar have so successfully and willingly shared their significant talents with the world. Wouldn't it be amazing if we were all paid to do something we love?

3 comments:

Sunny said...

Great post. I would rearrange a few of the movies but since that would relate directly to an aversion to mice/rats in my food and bullies next door I'll keep my thoughts to myself. Other than that I completely agree with your view on the Pixar magic and how it is a delight to behold. Thanks!

jennie said...

I mostly agree with you... having a boy does boost Cars up on the list. Wall e is my least favorite, Toy Story is definitely the best.

Amy said...

I must say that is a good list but some definite rearranging would need to be done to make it my own list but overall well done :)