12. Cars 2
Easily the worst of the Pixar family, who was once a company that made sophisticated kid movies that avoided the blaise be-yourself babble. I remember the time when John Lasseter said that Pixar was not in the “sequel business”; then it became “If we have a great story, we’ll do a sequel” to what it is now, which is I guess “If we have a great opportunity to write a two hour advertisement for our merchandise tie-ins, we’ll do a sequel”.
Also, Larry the Cable Guy is no Robin Williams.
10. Toy Story 2
I get why people like this sequel, easy jokes, a plethora of pop-culture references, new toy selling opportunities, but it was a far cry from the original. Fairly heartless and forgettable.
Though Ratatouille is a movie that really falls apart under a second viewing, it offers one of those rare lessons of actual value that Pixar used to be so good at. Remy’s passion for food and of learning, yea, developing the ability of appreciation was well worth its thematic drumbeat, but it was sadly drowned out by an offensively stupid romance and halfboiled fatherhood issues. Despite my coolness toward the movie it does claim some of my affections since it gave me one of my favorite Pixar characters in Anton Ego.
8. A Bug’s Life
While A Bug’s Life doesn’t measure up to the great Pixar films it is a well constructed film with an entertaining array of characters. No where is Pixar’s ability to balance voice actors within a movie is more masterfully orchestrated than in A Bug’s Life. It isn’t very ambitious and thus its triumphs weigh less than more daring movies however flawed.
While the rest of the movie is a cute trifle the first fifteen minutes of the film are like a million balloons that lift it up the rankings.
6. Toy Story 3
In this age of thoughtless consumerism and the pendulum’s predictable backlash to capitalism, a movie that calls for caution in our wasteful lives, but still beckons the audience to love things deeply is so sensibly human that it’s a shame that agenda-driven films get the headlines.
5. Monster’s Inc.
On the level of pure imagination this one would rank highest. It is not a movie that brightens through repeat viewings, which is the chief reason its star has in my opinion waned. People forget that Boo is the best part of the film.
I have a thing for robots and so of all the Pixar films this was the most anticipated release for me. In the first thirty minutes I was ecstatic, as Eve and Wall-E entered into space I was in awe. I was killed by the zero-g dance, but my interest flagged during the fat baby human drama, but the “death” of Wall-E slayed me. Few movies drove me into sweaty relief as the conclusion of Wall-E did.
3. Finding Nemo
I enjoyed Finding Nemo when I first saw it, but I didn’t rank it very high. However, as my boys cycled through it over the course of several months I found it continually gripping. Part of it is I love Andrew Stanton’s world, it’s always fun to return.
2. Toy Story
I wave the flag for Pixar’s debut feature film. Flawlessly executed, imaginative, humorous, full of heart and excitement. I rank it high for how game changing it was. Other studios may be catching up (Rango, Kung-Fu Panda), but Woody and Buzz are the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck of a new age.
1. The Incredibles
I can’t help but love this movie. It is everything you could ever want. It ranks up there goosebumpwise with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Terminator 2 and Die Hard. The action sequence on the island is beyond superlatives and all of this with marital discord and a dismantling of egalitarianism thrown in. Not bad for a kids comic book movie.