The release of Inside Out is an invitation to revisit all the films from Pixar, going back to the studio’s 1995 debut Toy Story. That movie changed the landscape of feature animation with stunning immediacy; after Pixar hit the scene nothing was the same. The twenty years since have given us a total of fifteen animated films from the studio, and we can’t resist the urge to do a little comparison between them. Read our own Pixar ranking, below.
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This weekend saw the release of Pixar’s latest film, Brave, a movie that easily won the weekend, garnering an overall “A” CinemaScore from appreciative audiences. Still, at only 74 percent on RottenTomatoes (Pixar’s second worst), and a 7 out of 10 from Germain Lussier, it is clear there is a bit of room for dissent.
Out there in audience-land, did you notice something a little “off” about Brave? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned, or conversations to engage in?
To provide some context, and on the off chance we have completely different taste, here are my top five Pixar efforts:
3. Toy Story
4. Finding Nemo
5. Monsters, Inc.
Until now, the only Pixar film I flat out didn’t enjoy was Ratatouille, though I admit to only having seen it once, and folks say I’d like it much more if I were to re-visit. Even Cars 2 had redeeming qualities. I can truly say I’ve never found a Pixar film entirely lacking, and that statement includes Brave. There’s no question the film had amazing visuals, setting a new standard for excellence within the animation genre. Unfortunately, the story lacked a bit of … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ooomph. As such, I’m compelled to break down where I feel the problems were, if only to restore everyone’s favorite animation house to the glory they so richly deserve.
One final note, just to head off the obligatory “comparing Brave to the rest of Pixar’s work isn’t entirely fair” argument, we’re in complete agreement there. It’s not fair, and in many ways Pixar’s own ambition and commitment to excellence have raised the bar for all movies. So no, Brave isn’t a bad movie on merit, it’s merely an average one, which animation houses make all the time without compelling anyone to write a 3,000 word article on the subject. But within the greater context of Pixar’s previous work, Brave does come up short, and I think we’ve got a bead on the reasons why.
Note: Massive SPOILERS follow, naturally.
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How much do you know about Circle 7 Animation? Depending upon your level of interest in Disney projects that never were, the answer may be ‘nothing.’ Circle 7 was an animation house set up in 2005 with the intent to create one sequel per year for Pixar-created films that were owned by Disney, but the studio only existed for a year.
Toy Story 3 was to be the first project, and Monsters, Inc. 2 would have been the second. We’ve covered the latter film before; it had the working title Lost in Scaradise, and you can see concept art above. Neither of those films happened — not in their Circle 7 incarnations, anyway — because the mid-aughts rift between Disney and Pixar, created by then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, was bridged. Eisner stepped down earlier than planned, Bob Iger became Disney CEO in his wake, and Iger set up a deal to buy Pixar. Two months later, in March 2006, Circle 7 was closed without ever finishing a film.
Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir, known colloquially as Bob & Rob, pitched a script for the Circle 7 version of Toy Story 3, and were hired to write the Circle 7 Monsters, Inc. sequel. They turned in a very well-liked script, which got them a gig working on the early, never-produced Toy Story 3 after all. Now Bob & Rob have consented to an interview in which they detail the history of Circle 7. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by David Chen
The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat with film critic Armond White about this year’s New York Film Critics Circle controversy, the online reaction to his persona, his thoughts on Toy Story 3, and the state of film criticism in general. You can find Armond’s reviews at CityArts.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be back on Slashfilm’s live page on Sunday (10/23) at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST to hear us discuss Paranormal Activity 3.
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With three uber-successful features over almost twenty-years, Toy Story and its characters have become an instantly recognizable part of popular culture. It’s hard to even hear the words “Toy” or “Story” without thinking of Woody, Buzz and the gang. Many Pixar fans know that “Toy Story” wasn’t always the title of the film, though. Originally, it was just the working title and Pixar was so stumped as to what to call the 1995 original, they posed the question to the entire company. Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3, co-director of Toy Story 2 and editor of Toy Story, took to Twitter to reveal some of the good – and bad – titles that could have described the world we’ve come to know as Toy Story. Read them after the jump. Read More »
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Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Angie Han
For the past seven months, Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s been releasing tribute videos for his yearlong “[the films of]” project, each showcasing the work of a different director via a montage, and we at /Film have been with him since the beginning. For his newest installment, however, van Dijkhuizen chose to go a slightly different route: Rather than select one auteur to focus on, he’s chosen an entire company. Watch “[the films of] Pixar Animation Studios” after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 by Angie Han
We’ve featured a handful of director montages here on /Film recently, and while this “25 Years of Pixar” compilation isn’t quite that, it’s actually pretty similar. In terms of look, tone, and quality, I’d say Pixar is as consistent as many directors.
For the video, NkMcDonalds pulled scenes from works spanning over decades — from ’80s shorts to this year’s Cars 2. If you like Pixar as much as I do, it’ll definitely make you smile and it might even make you tear up a little tiny bit. Watch it after the jump.
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If you collect toys and love Pixar, then these videos will start as exciting and turn into depressing. It shows a wing at Pixar Animation Studios that specializes in 3D printing. Basically, employees can take a frame from any of the Pixar movies and, through specialized printers, output a picture perfect, plaster, 3D model of a character or object from a movie.
While toy companies who deal in Pixar materials can certainly make merchandise that looks like it’s from the movie, these machines make models that are precisely from the movie. Which is incredible. But the fact that I can’t have the little alien in the video – that exact one – on my desk right now, or ever, is upsetting. Watch at your own risk, and find out exactly what these models are used for, after the jump. Read More »
Our friends the Fine Brothers have filed the latest episode of their popular “Spoiler” series — 50 Movie Spoilers of 2010 in 3 Minutes, in one take. You might remember that we’ve featured their videos 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes, 100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes, Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History, 50 spoilers of 2009 in 4 minutes, 100 Horror Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes, 50 Disney Spoilers in 3 Minutes and 50 Comedy Spoilers in 3 Minutes. Hit the jump to watch their latest. And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.
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