Hi everyone. My blog post for today is my opinions on the Pixar films. There are a reasonable amount of films. I don't have enough favorite Pixar films to make a countdown, since Pixar is a studio that I love but not quite the same way everyone else does. But that doesn't mean Pixar doesn't entertain us, quite the contrary. Pixar started CGI animation which later brought us a new era of animation! Comedy, great storytelling, and more. Now, I can't guarantee you will agree with me on all of these, but I will try to be as respectful as I can. So let's start with the hit that started it all.
So in the mid to late 80's Disney teamed up with Pixar to create Toy Story, the fist fully computer animated film which blew people away. My siblings enjoyed this movie, while I thought it was pretty good. Okay, I wasn't so sure what to think of this film. The animation was new, and I wasn't too strong on the idea of toys getting lost. Toys were my main interest for playing, not really for watching. I was more interested in other Disney films at the time, like oh say cutesy animal ones. But in time, I learned to enjoy it. The toy jokes were very creative and the story taught me so much about attention. Just because someone you want attention from is giving attention to someone else doesn't mean you are not loved. The villain Sid Phillips is pretty cool. It's very rare to see a kid villain in a movie. Slinky Dog is also enjoyable, and the sub plots involving Andy playing with them is imaginative. So while I don't love this film, I do like it fairly. It's family-friendly, visually creative, and has a memorable story. And this was only Pixar's first blockbuster that would send them on a roll.
A Bug's Life
As most people know, A Bug's Life is notable for being visually similar to Dreamworks' Antz. I liked this one more because it had more than ants, and an understanding story. This movie did feel a little uncomfortable at times, mainly because the ants hated Flik and how Hopper and his grasshoppers treated the ants like slaves. However, the story seemed to teach us about courage against bullies and how you shouldn't let people drag you down. Flik is a likable hero because he wants to invent things to make the colony's life better. Yes, he messes up frequently but he still pulls through. Dot is a very cute companion and I like how she is the only ant who has confidence in Flik. I also like the circus bugs; they make great comic relief, particularly Heimlich the EXTREMELY hungry caterpillar and Francis the ladybug who is constantly mistaken for a girl. Also, A Bug's Life was also one of the first three films I learned about lying, the other two being Aladdin and Pinocchio. We all know the consequences when we lie, huh? My only big problem is Hopper. I think he is too mean-spirited and cruel. He just terrorizes the ants for no reason-he doesn't like their grains, and doubles the order, it just doesn't make sense. But for everything else, A Bug's Life has very good family entertainment. Check it out.
Toy Story 2
So Toy Story was such a hit, but the sequel was thought to be even better my many people. Me...um, not really. I wasn't really a huge fan of this film. Much like Tarzan which came out the same year, it was over-advertised, over-popular, and I had to watch this WAY too many times to the point where Toy Story 2 deflated like a balloon. I mean, don't get me wrong I see why so many people like it and it has a better sequel story than most Disney films, I just have my own nostalgic issues. Sid's place was weird, but with all the toys there, Woody and Buzz helped them get back at Sid and they escaped better. Al's apartment was kind of boring and there weren't a lot of side toy characters. I mean, there was the Roundup Gang, but that was it. Jessie was unbelievably annoying except for the "When She Loved Me" sequence where I felt sorry for her. Bullseye was cute and very loyal and I liked him well enough. But Stinky Pete I hated! He didn't have a lot to offer. His villainy was a surprise, but he just had so little to offer. Hans was similar to him too, but I just thought he did a lot more to entertain us. I'd say the better parts of the movie was Buzz's rescue mission along with the other toys. This was where the real comedy was, like when it repeated the gag of a Belt Buzz thinking he's a real ranger. So all in all, Toy Story 2 has a very strong story, but I guess it just didn't spark for me very well. But it is better than the direct to video Disney sequels.
I really like Monsters Inc. It stars Mike and Sulley, an example of a comedic partner duo. And the idea that these monsters scaring kids only to power their city is very understanding. It lessens of the fear of having monsters in your closet or under the bed. And it's even funnier that the monsters think kids are toxic. Sulley's design looks kind of similar to the Beast's, but he has a more friendlier personality. His voice actor John Goodman does a very good job voicing Sulley. Mike Wasowski was funny too, especially when Roz slammed her counter door on his hands. Boo was very cute and sweet too. I am good with kids after all. The story where Sulley and Boo develop a sweet realationship and Mike learning to accept Boo is very well developed. Randall is a cool villain too. I like his design and his voice. He's so devious and menacing. So overall, Monsters Inc. is a really delightful Pixar film.
Now we're talking! Finding Nemo was universally critically acclaimed and was a box-office smash! And I see why. I'd say Finding Nemo was my favorite Pixar film (before being surpassed by Inside Out). It is visually detailed, very dramatic, and has great heart! I love the ocean, and I love how Finding Nemo takes advantage of its environment. The journey story is an element that I love and this movie is no exception. The sharks (trying to be vegetarian) is funny, but Bruce's status as a good guy or bad guy can be confusing much like King Louie. The sea turtles are very understanding and they teach Marlin about trying to understand when the kids are ready to do things on their own. The ocean is indeed a mysterious place, but Marlin learns to overcome his fears to save his beloved son, kind of like Mrs. Brisby from The Secret of NIMH (another critically acclaimed animated film I love). Dory's motto "Just keep swimming" is very good. It speaks to us too about keep trying. Now there is the lack of traditional villain, an element that usually annoys me. However, the movie distracts me with its incredible ocean visuals and story to forget that detail. The movie is more about Marlin learning not to protective of Nemo 24/7. Finding Nemo is one of Pixar's greatest films ever!
Woah! Pixar's really taking a step up! Their first film to star human characters. And the only two bigger advantages than that are A: it's a movie about superheroes and B: Much like The Aristocats, it's literally a family movie! We rarely see that! The story I didn't like as much as I liked Finding Nemo, but this movie still has very notable strengths. It shows us the sterotypical family; The hard working husband, the housewife who struggles to keep the family in line, the cutesy baby, and the brother and sister who fight. Dash is very funny, and Frozone is also really cool. He's my favorite character in the film. I like how the family doesn't do so well in the beginning with all the family fights you'd expect, but once they find a great family activity, they become closer. Syndrome is also a very well developed villain and his voice actor Jason Lee really does a good job. It's also great how even though superheroes were illegal, they still showed up to save the city from that Omnidroid. If I had to pick one problem, I'd say Violet's voice actress sounds too whiny. But otherwise, The Incredibles is definitely worth a watch!
I find this one of Pixar's weaker films. It doesn't feel like Disney wanted to tell a story out of passion, it feels more like they wanted an excuse to make money selling toys. And it did, but this was Pixar's first "meh". And I can see why. The car visuals look appealing, I guess, but the story feel like it could have been told with humans in real life, so the wonder doesn't really stand out like some of the other Pixar films. It's nice to see a celebrity care for someone with a lesser reputation, but the story isn't a fun adventure to enjoy. The characters are pretty weak and boring, and nothing really stands out. Lightning McQueen sounds pretty stuffy with Owen Wilson's voice, and the Sally character is pretty bland. It's not horrible, it's just not that enjoyable. I'd probably say there are better Pixar films to watch.
Now this is more like it! I love rats, and the idea of a rat wanting to become a chef is very unique. I know that might sound disgusting, but Remy is a rat who likes to stay clean. Remy's reactions make me laugh alot, especially when he's acting sharp. Emile also gets alot of laughs, especially his teaser trailer line "Once you get past the gag reflex, all kinds of possibilities open up." I am not a huge fan of Lingui, but he's okay. Colette is sharp and scary, but beautiful and funny as well. Remy and Linguini have a great partnership. Remy can't talk to Linguini, but viewers can understand enough between them. Skinner's a funny hot tempered villain and Anton Ego has a great design (he looks like that creep from Legend of Sleepy Hollow). The movie totally takes advantage of its cooking environment and I see alot to do with restaurants. Ratatouille is one of my favorite Pixar films.
I'll try not to criticize this movie too much as I know a lot of people love this movie. And to be fair, it's not a bad idea for a Pixar movie. The story is well done, WALL-E is cute as well as his relationship with EVE. The message is a very good one for the environment and the villain is catchy too. I guess my problems with the movie were more centered on the lack of dialogue. I'm not sure if that's what people liked about this movie or not, but it was really hard for me to follow like certain literature books such as Lord of the Flies. Without dialogue, I couldn't follow the movie very well and it almost put me to sleep in the theater, though not as boring as Happy Feet. Auto was a creative villain, trying to keep people from going back to earth too. This movie came out the same summer as Dreamworks' Kung Fu Panda, a CGI film I love WAY more than this. Sadly, this is one of those moments where I look down on Pixar. But again, despite my problems with WALL-E, it did have enough creativity to make a memorable role in Pixar animation.
Ok, fans are really going to be disappointed when they read this....I don't like Up. Do I hate it? No. This movie was critically acclaimed, was box-office hit, and got a Best Picture nomination (which I personally disagreed with). So you are all wondering, why don't I like this film? Well...most of the dialogue is underdeveloped and weak! A step up from WALL-E, I admit and I didn't think it was as weak as Cars, but the characters didn't really interest me either. Carl is not that interesting, I've seen this guy before. He's a typical grumpy old man, and not very much stands out about him. I know he's sad about losing Ellie and I shouldn't be so hard on him, but I just don't really like him. Russell is...cute, but there's not much else to say. I just feel like his relationship with Carl has been seen before, like in Shrek or Ice Age: the grumpy protagonist doesn't want a cheerful companion around, but learns to accept him or her in the end. I don't mind seeing things that have been seen before and their relationship would be great if it was interesting, but in my opinion, it really wasn't. I admit Dug's line "Please be my prisoner" and the Alpha's squeaky voice gets a laugh, but that's about it. I was also disappointed when Russell told Carl that he never built a tent and Carl says too little. Couldn't he have at least given him some comfort? I was hoping for a nice talk between the two which would make their "fall apart moment" that happens later after Kevin is kidnapped work, but nope. That conversation was weak. Well, I'm obviously missing out on something because people fell in love with this movie when it came out. And the message is very strong, I admit. We may lose our loved ones, but we have to move on. That message, I guess must have really shined to its audience. Like I said before, I don't hate Up, I just don't remember it doing anything for me. I'll shut up and let people enjoy this movie, but no matter what anyone else says, Up just isn't my movie.
Toy Story 3
When Toy Story 3 was coming out, there was so much build up! Toys, promotions, blu-ray releases for the first two Toy Story films, and it became Pixar's highest grossing film and got an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. And to be honest, I liked this one the best out of the Toy Story films. The fun with the toys seemed over, and the movie felt dark at times, but it really caught my interest. It's the most mature out of the trilogy. The toys knew this day would come and now they need a new life. I like how the daycare looks very beautiful and cute when the kids are there, but once they are gone it's a terrible prison, much like Stromboli's theater. I like how most of the main characters are together now, and not just Woody and Buzz, Jessie is more likable in this movie. She keeps trying to hold on, despite her past coming back to her. Lotso is a really great villain! I love how he's a cute huggy strawberry cented toy on the outside, but a vicious monster on the inside! At times the idea of toys getting thrown away feels dark, especially in the climax! The toys almost getting incinerated is very intense and in my opinion, the scariest scene in Pixar history. However, once they realize that having each other is most important, it feels more hopeful. Woody's emotional attachment to Andy makes Toy Story 3 a great story, much like the emotional struggle in The Jungle Book. Letting go of Andy is hard, but he had something to like about his new life. I'm glad Pixar made this film and I enjoyed watching it.
Just when people were thinking "Pixar's making great animated films, what could possibly go wrong?", Cars 2 hit the big screen. This was Pixar's first critical flop, and even though it was a box-office success, this film let to the decline of interest in Pixar, critically at least. Much like the first film, it didn't feel like Disney wanted to tell a story out of passion, it felt more like an excuse to make money selling toys. I'm not a huge fan of Up, but at least it was telling a story out of passion for care to its audience. Cars 2 doesn't. I didn't think it was terrible, but I can understand why most people didn't like this film. The story isn't very strong, it's not heart-warming, and the plot is forgettable. I admit, the plot with Mater being mistaken for a spy caught my interest for a little bit, but that was pretty much it. The idea of Pixar making a movie about spies is great, but it should have been a separate movie--without these Car characters. This movie might interest little boys, but this doesn't have the same family charm as the other Pixar films. It's not the worst sequel I have ever seen and I kinda like it better than the direct to video sequels, but it's not that good. If you like Cars and spies, you might like this film, but if you want a better animated story, you may want to skip this one.
When Brave was coming out, I was actually intrigued. It felt so mysterious, it's setting was long ago, and it was the first time Pixar was making a FEMALE protagonist. I watched the teaser trailer a lot on my Lady and the Tramp DVD and I was hoping the story would be similar to Mulan, a brave warrior girl on a quest! But when I finally saw this film in theaters, I was...disappointed. The story was a "meh" and it wasn't creative with its environment. Brave wasn't exactly the best Pixar film to release because of the studio's decline in popularity. In the summer of 2011, Pixar had its first disappointment when Cars 2 got poor reception and grossed about $559 million worldwide, which was a financial success, but not as notable some other Pixar films. The following summer, Brave didn't sell anymore tickets than Cars 2, but it did get better reception. Merida is not that interesting a heroine, and I can barely understand what she is saying because of her Scottish accent, and her design didn't look very Pixar-ish. I thought Dreamworks' Monsters vs Aliens had a better female protagonist than Merida. It is rare to see a strained relationship with a mother, but it still wasn't enough. The idea of her mother being turned into a bear was not that interesting. And Mordu...I barely remember him. The characters talking about changing their fates didn't make sense. No one knows what their fate will be and we never know if we can change it. The witch's cauldron sounding like a voice machine was very funny, another modern joke in the past. My highlight of the movie was Merida's triplet brothers. I liked those three and I wish the movie was more about them. That's where the film's real comedy was. I didn't hate this movie other than when it got the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature instead of Wreck it Ralph, which I though was a better movie and felt more like a Pixar movie. But this is just me. If there is something that fascinates you about Brave, check it out and see for yourself.
So Cars 2 began the downward trend of people's interest in Pixar. Brave helped a little bit but not a lot. Monsters University helped better financially, but was still considered a "meh" in critical reception. I personally enjoyed Monster Inc more, mostly because the college environment seemed mean-spirited. Sulley was an idiotic jerk, Johnny Worthington's fraternity seemed like a gang of cool bullies, and it seemed like monsters didn't deserve to exist if they weren't scary. I felt really sorry for Mike because he was constantly ignored because of his small size. The Dean was mean too and maybe other deans can be like this too. Student can work hard at college and sometimes their hearts can break if they fail exams. I liked how Oozma Kappa team were nicer, though. It is rare to see an animated film about college and Monsters Inc seems to be the right film to show about college. But like I said, I personally preferred Monsters Inc. more.
Inside Out is the kind of film Pixar should have been making these past few years. My favorite thing about Pixar is their ability to take creative liberties in their themes and blend it with great story; and like most Pixar films, that's exactly what Inside Out does. It shows us a creative way how peoples' minds work and it creates an imaginative world and characters we never knew were there...um, in an imaginative sense. It explains how we remember memories and how we feel whenever they come up, or how we forget, or remember-you get my point. The emotions match themselves perfectly! You got Joy the optimistic one, Fear the nervous wreck, Disgust the sarcastic one, Anger the constantly hot tempered guy, and Sadness the annoyingly pessimistic mopey one. I was kind of confused as to what her role would be, but without giving away too much, you do see it, and it matches how things go in life. The settings are great too. We see islands that represents personal parts of who Riley is, like hockey island, the family one, an amusement park that represents Riley's imagination, a movie studio that makes dreams, and even the dark subconscious which represents Riley's "dangerous" fears. I really liked that imaginary friend Bing Bong. He's cute and funny-especially when he disobeys the danger signs like a "stupidly funny" character would. Another thing I liked about this movie was some of the the story aspects that got rid of some of my past criticisms. For instance, I was worried that the other kids would bully Riley when she cried in class or flopped at her hockey tryouts-but no! They didn't! What a relief! Another thing is, most films that do not have a direct evil villain annoy me. However, this is one of the rare films that I don't think needs one. Life's difficulties or changes can be villainous enough for people-just like how Riley's move turned her emotions turmoil! If I did have a problem with anything, I would complain about how Bing Bong disappears in the pits, sort of like Ray the firefly from The Princess and the Frog. BB is a great character-I don't want to see him die! I want to see him live and get his happy ending ( but then again I haven't stuck around for any post credits scenes). I think the idea was to get Bing Bong to realize that his time had come to let go of Riley, or to get kids to grow up and get past their imaginary friend, or something of the sort. But still, I liked Bing Bong, and seeing him fade away was still sad and a little creepy. Overall, Inside Out is really smart and really imaginative just like a Pixar film should be. I know I said before that Finding Nemo was my favorite Pixar film, but I feel as though Inside Out is my new favorite Pixar movie. I don't want to give too much else away, but I will say it is definitely worth checking out. Give it a watch and see what your emotions get wrapped up in.
The Good Dinosaur
After all the great scientific detail Pixar did with Finding Nemo, I really wanted Pixar to do something similar with dinosaurs. Then came the announcement of Pixar making The Good Dinosaur. I've really anticipated this film for a long time. But sadly, when I finally saw it, I was rather...disappointed. Kinda along the same stream as Brave, I was hoping for something great, epic, and strong. But sadly, it wasn't. The story feels as though it could have been told even if the asteroid did kill the dinosaurs. I guess my biggest complaint is that there weren't as many dinosaurs as I was hoping (I was hoping for at least a Triceratops cameo). There were some besides the Apatasauraus family, but every time there were, their scenes were a little too short, and you don't see them again. Even some of the dramatic moments didn't really have that much emotion, other than typical sadness, or typical warmth during tender moments. Most of my favorite animated films have good balances between drama AND comedy. Good Dinosaur has too much drama, and little comedy. I didn't really find Arlo and Spot's friendship that strong either, at least not until the climax. I mean it was nice I guess, and it did light the fire of Arlo's courage, but there wasn't really a lot of chemistry between the two, other than the fact that they both got separated from their families. I guess there were a few things about this movie that stood out. I did like the T-Rexes; it is rare to have T-Rexes as good guys in dinosaur films. Nash and Ramsey were pretty entertaining, and Butch was the one who taught Arlo about fear. Fear never goes away completely, but as long as you work around it, everything turns out okay. Also, Thunderclap and his pterodactyl gang were kinda cool too, although it was rather sadistic to eat that furry creature. Spot himself was cute. I did like seeing him behave like a dog. And I will say that the ending with him and Arlo was somewhat touching. But aside from that, nothing much begs me to consider The Good Dinosaur a classic. It doesn't have the fun imagination that the last Pixar film Inside Out had. I wouldn't say I hate it, it just wasn't as creative with dinosaurs as I'd hoped. There were a few nice things about it, but if you want a film with tons of dinosaurs, this film probably isn't your cup of tea. I am glad I saw it for myself, but I still don't think I'd see it again. Sadly, like dinosaurs in our real world, chances of me coming back to enjoy it again are definitely extinct.
All right, so you know that Finding Nemo is one of my favorite Pixar films. So many of you would probably guess I'd be excited for Finding Dory. And actually, I was. I paid my contribution to its box-office record, and for the most part it gave me what I expected. It wasn't as phenomenal as the original, but it was still a good movie in its own way. I have to admit, the only thing I would compare unfavorably to the original is the pacing of the beginning. Dory wanting to find her family and then just on Crush's current went a little too quickly. One of the things I loved about Finding Nemo was that it was a long enough journey to give us beautiful ocean visuals and took time with the characters, but not in a boring slow way. But honestly, it's not a major complaint, I could put up with it enough. There are more than enough aspects to keep the movie afloat (no pun intended), like the characters. You know Marlin, Dory, and Nemo of course, but on top of that you get Destiny the near-sighted whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale who has trouble with echo-location, and of course Hank the octopus (ok technically a septopus due to his lost tentacle, but you get the idea). They get plenty of laughs and charms. Whenever Hank is transporting Dory around the Marine Institute, it feels like a spy mission sort of thing and it's pretty fun. I also liked how Nemo got to be a little bit more on an adventure, since he was already the "fish-hostage" from the last film. You see him as Marlin's voice of reason and a conscience. I don't recall too many sons who act like that. As for Dory's family search, it's got a pretty good balance of emotion. Remembering various things feel like a puzzle; one minute she remembers the Institute, then the shell trails, drain, and so on and so forth. It's very smart that way. Movies that make a goofy misfit the star gives us the opportunity to understand that someone with a mental challenge like Dory is special and very helpful at times even if not 100% perfect, just like what Marlin said when the 3 of them were in the drains. I don't want to give too much away involving Dory's parents, but it wasn't the tragedy I thought it was, and I will also say that they don't oppose Marlin and Nemo, and of course there's a happy ending. So while I don't think Finding Dory is quite as phenomenal as Finding Nemo, it's still a good Pixar film in a different way. I enjoyed watching it, and chances are, I might go swimming with this sequel on DVD once in a while in the near future.
So that's what I have to say about the Pixar films. I will add more additions when more films come out. I am sure you have your own opinions about the Pixar films and I hope this list didn't offend too much. Take care.