Pixar: A Complete Ranking Part 2

Here is part one.

#7 – Up – 2009

The first three minutes of this movie make everyone cry. They touchingly give us an introduction to our main character and his life with his (now dead) wife. In just a few minutes they take what we may otherwise have called the crotchety old man and humanized his cynicism and pessimism. The rest of the film doesn’t live up to those first few minutes as far as I’m concerned. But it’s still an incredibly enjoyable film.

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#6 – Toy Story – 1995

Whether you prefer Toy Story over its sequels definitely depend on what you are looking for in a film. It can’t be ignored that there is far more depth in Toy Story 2 and 3 than the original, but the original is just so much damn fun. It’s a hopeful story with absolutely wonderful music from Randy Newman (including one of my top ten Disney songs in I Will Go Sailing No More) and is a bona fide classic. I just prefer the sequels.

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#5 – Ratatouille – 2007

There is a moment in Ratatouille that is only bested by the opening scene of Up. The critic Anton Ego has been served his ratatouille and he relives moments from his childhood where he first gained a love for food. The restaurant closes, he is introduced to Remy the rat, he thanks them for dinner, leaves and then we hear his review. It is beautiful and cathartic ending to a truly moving film. I’m going to quote the section below because it easily places among my favourite quotes of all time.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

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#4 – Toy Story 2 – 1999

I recall first hearing Richard Roeper’s review from At The Movies about Toy Story 2. He preferred it to the original because of how it deals with themes of mortality rather than just identity from the first film. I used to think he was wrong. But look at the brilliance of Jesse’s panic attack when Woody threatens to leave; hear the Prospector’s temptation of immortality; see and hear Woody’s conflicted thoughts on the subject. The film treats these issues so directly that it’s hard to believe this is a kid’s film. But to be frank, that’s what I love about certain animated films, they have the courage to say that animation isn’t just for children and it can be as powerful and evocative as live action. Each of the top five films here are examples of this.

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#3 – Toy Story 3 – 2010

Ditto what I said above for this film. What makes this film just a tad better than Toy Story 2 is one scene. The gang (except for Woody) has just experience hell in a daycare at Sunnyside and Woody has been taken home with Bonnie. He’s sat down for a tea party and is slightly freaking out wanting to leave. Then Bonnie returns to start playing with Woody and her other toys. We are given a sentimental look at the same kind of play shown in the opening segments of the first two films. What these toys “live” for is this kind of play. This is the first moment of this film where I start to tear up. The other is when Andy finally gives the whole gang to Bonnie at the end of the film. I don’t cry at the movies. Except for Toy Story 3.

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#2 – WALL-E – 2008

There is no dialogue in the first 40 minutes of this film. A children’s film that made half a billion dollars at the box office and was one of the primary reasons for the Oscars going to more than five films for Best Picture: and it had no dialogue in the first 40 minutes. The success of this film says a lot about just how great it is. It gives a radical, anti-consumerist, environmentalist message in a film for kids. It entertains and educated. And it’s just so much fun to watch.

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#1 – The Incredibles – 2004

This would come near the top of a list of Superhero films as well. The film functions as a kids film fantastically but it’s the other levels that bring out the greatness of this film. As a family film it deals with aging for both the husband and wife, it deals with being a teenager for the two kids, it deals with how we treat kids with Syndrome. And then on top of that it functions as a superhero film with putting every single main character regardless of gender in a situation where they need to be saved. No one is a damsel in distress in this film and then to put a cherry on top, they question the underlying problematic machismo that is used to justify the damsel in distress trope. This section of dialogue put The Incredibles at the top of this list and shoots it up the list of Superhero film for being a totally fresh take on the genre. I love this film and it is the Pixar film that I can watch over and over and over.

Mr. Incredible: Wait here and stay hidden. I’m going in.

Elastigirl: While what? I watch helplessly from the sidelines? I don’t think so.

Mr. Incredible: I’m asking you to wait with the kids.

Elastigirl: And I’m telling you, not a chance. You’re my husband, I’m with you – for better or worse.

Mr. Incredible: I have to do this alone.

Elastigirl: What is this to you? Playtime?

Mr. Incredible: No.

Elastigirl: So you can be Mr. Incredible again?

Mr. Incredible: No!

Elastigirl: Then what? What is it?

Mr. Incredible: I’m not…

Elastigirl: Not what?

Mr. Incredible: Not… I’m not strong enough.

Elastigirl: Strong enough? And this will make you stronger?

Mr. Incredible: Yes. No!

Elastigirl: That’s what this is? Some sort of work out?

Mr. Incredible: [shouts] I can’t lose you again!

[calms down]

Mr. Incredible: I can’t. Not again. I’m not s-strong enough.

Elastigirl: [kisses him] If we work together, you won’t have to be.

Mr. Incredible: I don’t know what will happen…

Elastigirl: Hey, c’mon. We’re superheroes. What could happen?

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