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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In the Summer of 1994, while deep in production on their first feature film Toy Story, the key Pixar creatives (including John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft) had a now famous lunch in a diner called Hidden City Cafe in Point Richmond. During this lunch meeting they ended up brainstorming the ideas that eventually became the films A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and WALL-E. The story has become mythical, a part of film animation legend and a cornerstone moment in Pixar’s history. It was even featured in the teaser trailer for Andrew Stanton‘s WALL-E.
Sadly, the cafe has closed its doors after over 20 years of service, with unconfirmed reports that it was shut down for rats (Ratatouille anyone?).
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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 »
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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Now that Toy Story 3 has broken all kinds of box office records, it’s time to conquer the home market. While the November 2 release date and extra features had already been announced, today we can finally see what Pixar has in store for collectors.
The packaging for The Ultimate Toy Box Collection (not to be confused with the 1999 Ultimate Toy Box) is now up on its Amazon product page and it’s gorgeous. According to the page, the set will include Blu-rays, regular DVDs and digital copies of Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 which amounts to a whopping 10 discs. Hit the jump to read more about this set. Read More »
Pixar loves to hide Easter eggs in their films, little references to movies and characters from the animation studio’s past and future. two years ago we put together a compilation of WALL-E easter eggs, and last year we published a listing of easter eggs in Up, so we decided to do the same thing for Pixar’s latest film, Toy Story 3. We’ve found over 60 easter eggs and bits of fun trivia, our most extensive easter egg feature to date!
If you haven’t seen the film, be warned that this article references and scenes from the film which may be considered spoilers. I’ve tried to keep plot details out of this or vague. All of the screenshots were compiled through trailers, commercials and the batch of clips that Pixar has released to promote the movie (I’m sure there are many more easter eggs hidden in the 80% of the movie not online). Enjoy!
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
When the Rotten Tomatoes twitter account announced that Toy Story 3 still had a 100% fresh rating with over 130 reviews and counting, I got excited. I’ve seen the movie twice now, and it deserves all the praise it has and will recieve. The reason I got excited is that it had the chance to become the best reviewed movie in the history of cinema (this according to Rotten Tomatoes of course, albeit still a milestone achievement).
I’m not going to debate the merits of the achievement — best reviewed film of all time doesn’t mean best movie of all time. Also, as we know Rotten Tomatoes is not based on a scale of enjoyment, just thumbs up or down. Meaning, the best reviewed film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes means the largest percentage of possitive reviews.
With 147 100% positive reviews, Toy Story 2 has held the coveted top slot for eleven years and counting. The film to come closest was the 2008 documentary Man On Wire — 100% fresh with 142 reviews, six short of the #1 slot. And how fitting would it have been to have the Pixar’s latest film, the third film in the trilogy, knock Toy Story 2 from the top of the mountain.
What happened? You guessed it. Armond White — the notorious contrarian movie reviewer for the alt-weekly New York Press. You might recall that White was the first critic to give Pixar’s last film Up a negative review. Whats worse, he gave Jonah Hex a positive review, a film which has been panned by critics and moviegoers (12% on Rotten Tomatoes with almost 90 reviews).
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One of my favorite new features of the new Blu-ray releases of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 is a series of bonus features called “Studio Stories”. The short films feature animated reenactments of interesting or funny stories that took place during the making of the two films. From the original Pixar animation building which had toys sticking out of the ceiling, to what happened when Toy Story 2 got accidently deleted, to John Lasseter’s crappy car, to an Art Director who quits the company every year on April 1st. I was able to find a few of the videos online, you can watch them embedded after the jump. Pick up Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray to see them all.
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