Kid to Adult Appeal
4. Toy Story 3 - A part of me wanted to have this entry as number 3, but I felt I was going too far into the realm of Toy Story and not enough into the originality of some of the other Pixar entries. Still, I think this film somehow tops Toy Story 2 and if wasn't a part of a trilogy it might even be higher. As it stands, I'm disappointed that there is going to be a Toy Story 4 because of how well Toy Story 3 ended. At first, I was skeptical of the film as part 3s are usually not that great; however, they aged Andy along with my age and as he headed off to college he has to figure what to do with his toys. Thus, his toys have to figure out where to go too. From there, begins a heartfelt journey for the toys to not only find their identity, but also a home. What makes this journey so great is the mixture between in-universe (toy story) and ex-universe (Cool Hand Luke) connections that create a variety of jokes & moments. Furthermore, the new characters are just as great as the already star-studded cast. Thus, Chuckles is filled with tragedy, Ken is a great counterpart to Barbie, Bonnie, and minors like Big Baby and the Security Monkey work well; plus Lotso is one of the most sinister villains around. This, along with the humor, create a wonderful film that works with both the wonder of children and the sadness of leaving your childhood that adults experienced. Lastly, this film was in 3-D which was fun for those that saw it in theaters. As such, the whole film pulls at my strings because most of the audience was the same or near the age of Andy while being a great look at the continuous imagination of childhood. Thus, the film works as a beyond fitting end to one of the best trilogies of the 2000s.
3. Monsters' Inc. - I have done a lot of delbating with this film; however, I think this film really helped propel Pixar into a new level of elite filmmaking. The main reason for this is that Monsters' Inc. is the first non-Toy Story to create its own universe that is spectacular enough to stand on its own. First of all, Monsters' Inc. develops a world that not only has been used more than once (Monsters' University), but also aligns everything towards being a Monster. As such, the long allegory between monsters and humans is linked throughout the entire movie. This connection is helped by a wonderful set of characters from the dynamic duo of Mike & Sully, to the villainous Randall & Mr. Waternoose, and the simple yet effective Boo. It is through them that we see the hilarious day to day pains of corporate in the monsters world and how it relates to human adults. Lastly, the animation is the true highlight of this emotional and witty film for a variety of reasons. One small reason is Randall's invisiblity sequencing which is always fun to see. Another reason is the use of animated fur and how perfectly it sways and changes with movements in the character design i.e. Sully's hair. Finally, my favorite use of animation and possibly one of my favorite moments in any Pixar is the climatic door sequence which showcases all of the human portals in the factory along with the wild romp from portal to portal. As such, it becomes a masterpiece in animation and plot thereby solidifying its top 3 spot.
2. The Incredibles - This film and the #1 film are the two Pixar films I have never once debated the excellence of. From seeing this in the theater to not minding it at all on repeat (a limited selection of films have this quality), The Incredibles never fails. From an animation standpoint it was the first Pixar to really test the abilities of their human characters, human hair and how water, fire and ice interacted with each other. Thus, the superhero battles and set pieces contain a variety of flair for the characters to work with. These characters help create the reconstruction (rather than the deconstruction) of the superhero of mundane activities (vacuuming) to that of battling with super villains. Furthermore, the kid to adult appeal runs throughout the whole film from exasperated superhero parents to bratty kids and emo teens who are also superheroes. As such, the humor, drama and situations are easy to relate to while still having that air of mythos from superheroes. Lastly, the film gets a special nod for its use of music and 1950s/60s spy thriller theme that heightens the lives of the coolest family of Incredibles in town and Frozone. Thus, The Incredibles is forever golden and I hold it in the highest regard.
1. Toy Story - To be honest, I don't even know where to begin with one of my favorite films of all time. I saw it in the theater, went up to LA for the premiere and play area after; saw the film again for a birthday and then proceeded to watch it endlessly with my brother as well (did this with the Lion King too). Either way, it was marvel from the onset with it's full CGI animation, layered humor ("The word I'm searching for, I can't say because there's preschool/playskool toys around), endearing characters Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Ham, Rex, and the Claw, and giant what if our toys were real scenario. The film then proceeded to change the face of animated films forever and did so with a Randy Newman soundtrack apropos to all situations. Furthermore, I could write an entire blog by itself on the minutiae of every moment from the make-believe intro, Sid's freakshow, Pizza Planet, the insane amount of product placement mixed with humor, all facets of Tom Hanks & Tim Allen's voice acting and the ongoing story of when we would play with toys instead of computers. In the end, I wholeheartedly love Toy Story and cannot express how great nor how much I love it.