This month, Pixar Animation Studios will release its 13th feature film, BRAVE. To mark the occasion, I give you my Top 5 favourite Pixar films. Aside from the CARS films, I'm a big fan of all the Pixar pictures, so it was tricky to narrow it down to five but when it came down to it, I knew these were my Top 5 all along.
In alphabetical order, they are ...
FINDING NEMO (2003)
Pixar's first Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature was also their first bonafide worldwide smash. Sure, they had success with all four of their previous releases but not compared to the staggering heights FINDING NEMO just kept swimming toward. I have been dying to watch it again for some time now but I am waiting for the 3D rerelease expected later this year to dive into this ocean one more time. Once you find yourself immersed in these uncertain, and breathtaking waters, the magic of Pixar, and director, Andrew Stanton, takes over. Waves of laughter, suspense, heartbreak and immense joy crash over you throughout the experience. In fact, it's so good, you kinda almost wish Nemo would stay lost just a little longer so you could stay under water that much for a few more minutes.
I will freely admit that the first time I saw THE INCREDIBLES, from Pixar genius, Brad Bird, I missed large chunks of it because I was on a date and reasonably distracted. In all fairness, I was torn. Through the corners of my eyes, I could see that this was one, well, incredible piece of filmmaking. What I love about this film, aside from the phenomenal animation work, which goes without saying practically for all Pixar features, is how it skates so perfectly between the spy genre and a family film. It is as intense as any James Bond picture, with action sequences that put some big budget live action films to great shame, but it still has that unmistakable Pixar heart that makes it unforgettable. The only thing I don't get about it, is why we have not yet seen Mr. Incredible and family get the sequel they so rightfully deserve.
They said Pixar was crazy for putting rats in a kitchen and expecting people to show up in droves but they were wrong! Well, mostly anyway. RATATOUILLE had a hard time hitting the same success as some previous Pixar outings but like fine dining, this dish is just not for all. Those who love it though, and there are certainly many, know that this is one of Bird's finest works. The unlikely friendship between Remy, the rat, and Linguini, the chef, shows us that we should always dream and that sometimes, we need others to help make the loftiest of our dreams come true. The visual style of this Paris-set masterpiece is exhilarating and intensely well orchestrated; it demonstrates at all times just how much care Pixar puts into every frame. Like the critic in the film, feasting on this dish always makes me feel like a child again.
By now, we can all acknowledge that Pixar redefined the notion of family film when they released their first feature, TOY STORY, in 1995. Not only did they give the world the first fully computer animated feature but they also reworked the genre so that the films that came after it would play, or at least attempt to play, to both parents and kids alike. And as audiences flocked to the experience, they quickly realized that this new style of animation was actually amazing to behold, and not clunky or limited as some believed it would be. The first sequel would break records around the world and by the time they got to the third film, by far the most accomplished and surprising in the series, Pixar had also shown the world that sequels, even the ones we don't think are necessary, can and should have great purpose.
My heart melts every time I see WALL-E. Firstly, he is by far my favourite Pixar character. By the sheer nature of his being a robot, he is limited in his capacity to feel and show emotion but somehow, he exudes more love than most of the human beings I know or see on screen. His courtship with the beautiful EVE was so simple - all he wanted was to hold her hand really - and yet it was also so incredibly moving. In fact, it got me feeling things I forgot I knew how to feel. It also had me in total awe for the first half of the film, which is essentially silent. It was such a bold move to remove almost every trace of dialogue from a family film that it could only have been made and pulled off by Pixar. Some argue that the film loses focus once talking is reintroduced into the film but I would argue that those people just wish they feel as purely and as honestly as WALL-E does.
What's your favourite Pixar movie? Vote in the Black Sheep poll! (Top right corner of the page)