/Answers: Our Favorite Pixar Characters

New Coco clip

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. Tying in with Coco, this week’s edition asks “Who is your favorite Pixar character?”

Matt Donato: Remy

Selecting a favorite character from Pixar’s endless rolodex of fantastical icons is no easy task, but twist my arm and all thoughts lead to Ratatouille’s Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava’s special sewers-to-five-star rodent with a flair for culinary perfection. Pixar takes an unlikely hero and instills a hunger for achievement by chronicling Remy’s rise from common pest to revered master chef. If a single rat can overtake France’s cutthroat culinary scene, what’s stopping any one of us from commanding our own proverbial kitchen (translate into your ambition of choice)?

Most likely, we’re connected to on-screen characters by an element or trait that reflects our own personality. In Remy, I understand what it means to follow passion despite being told otherwise. Fellow rats think him crazy to venture into a professional, health-inspected restaurant where vermin don’t belong – but that doesn’t stop Remy from succeeding. Same as how a would-be film journalist was once told he didn’t belong in honors-level English classes by the same teacher of his high school’s film studies program – he now with some 900 reviews tallied on Rotten Tomatoes, fueled by a desire to prove such voices wrong.

On a purely cinematic addressing, the character of Remy is a delight to follow. Oswalt’s voice is so excitable and curious (food does the same to me), which plays into his avatar’s compassionate nature when trying to connect with Auguste Gusteau’s staff. From working Alfredo Linguini like a puppet to the smile on his face after dashing a plate with the tiniest sauce-splash aesthetic, Remy gets so much right about what it’s like to fight for the life you desire. He works, tastes and pleases his way to the top, never to be stopped or told “no.”

This assessment rings true for most Pixar characters who’ve overcome countless odds to earn their rightful places in countless films, yet Remy’s companionship is the one I cherish most. “If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.” Facts of life are so much easier to swallow when they’re dealt through foodieisms, especially when coming from an animated rat. Double points for a passionate portrayal of cooking that understands how connected chefs are to dedication, emotion and creative robustness (cooking is passion, food an expression). Cheers to the cute little bugger who crippled a food critic with one homestyle dish – may you all find your “Ratatouille” bite.

Lindsey Romain: Wall-E

I know he’s a popular answer, but I can’t lie – my heart is and will always be with Wall-E. I have such vivid memories of seeing this film for the first time in theaters. It was the summer after my first year of college, when I was feeling pretty unmoored. I didn’t like my school, but I didn’t like coming home either, and I spent most of that summer in the air conditioned local movie theater – where I both worked and watched. I have a lifelong thing for cute beep-boop robots (thanks, R2-D2) so I was excited to see the film, but I had no idea what I was in store for. Wall-E – the film and the character – hit me like a ton of bricks. His earnest, lonely obsession with old musicals, his desire for love and companionship, his unflinching dedication to doing what he’s supposed to while dreaming of where he’d rather be. It was so lovely and poignant, and felt made for me in that very life moment. To this day, Wall-E is not only my favorite Pixar movie, but one of my favorite movies, period, a heart-wrenching, beautiful little movie about love and loyalty and belonging that makes me smile through the biggest tears.

Ben Pearson: Woody

Though Pixar has crafted some undeniable masterpieces over the years, the original Toy Story will always be special to me. I saw it at the perfect age, and it made an indelible impact; no other Pixar film has come close in terms of rewatchability in my house. But while the ten-year-old me liked the bold and brazen Buzz Lightyear the best, I’m now much more fond of Woody.

As I got older, I realized he’s almost a tragic character, full of desperation and inadequacy – feelings I’m sure we call relate to at one point or another. Woody’s the old model, worried about being replaced by the flashy new option, and his inadequacy causes him to lash out in a terrible way. And while at first he may be worried about saving his own skin, he’s ultimately able to overcome his inferiority complex and do what’s best for Andy, his best friend.

It’s as complete a transformation as any character undergoes in a Pixar movie, and it’s aided tremendously by Tom Hanks’ vocal performance, which suppresses the tragedy just enough where you can see it’s there but not so much that it weighs down the rest of the movie. I think we all undervalue Hanks as an actor, so next time you watch Toy Story, watch it with an eye toward what he brings to Woody: the character may be a toy, but Hanks (and the company’s brilliant animators) go above and beyond to humanize him.

Continue Reading The Best Pixar Characters >>

Pages: 1 2 3Next page

Cool Posts From Around the Web: