Until recently, I found nothing more exciting on the movie calendar than a new Pixar release. They had an amazing streak of eleven good to great films. But the last couple...broke that streak. Here's hoping "Monster's University" gets that streak going again. But as I wait to see if Mike and Sully bring back the magic, here's my ranking of all the Pixar features.
13) CARS 2: The one really bad Pixar film. Somehow, they tricked many of us that would never go to a Larry the Cable Guy film into going to a Larry the Cable guy film, along with very bad espionage satire that couldn't compare to the "Get Smart" reboot series that probably no one but me remembers. As for its "message" - why use a film that celebrates CARS to tell us how bad fossil fuels are.
12) BRAVE - A swing and a miss. Not really bad, not really good. Feels like a homework assignment to make something nice about a girl, because they hadn't done that yet.
11) CARS - Major step up in quality here. One of the big pluses is the voice of Paul Newman. One of my first favorite "grown-up" films was "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", so it was great to hear Butch (and Eddie Felson and Cool Hand Luke and Henry Gondorff, etc.) one more time.
10) MONSTER'S INC. - CARS 2 makes me a little worried about the sequel to this film, but the other Pixar sequels you will see rank quite high. Jonah Goldberg has a rift about the problem with the modern idea of making all monsters safe and nice (see Sesame Street), but this film doesn't deny their is real evil and corruption in this world (see Randall voiced by the awesome Buscemi).
9) A BUG'S LIFE - I love "The Seven Samurai" and its remake "The Magnificent Seven" but I also love the other unique genre of the fake "samurai" found in "The Three Amigos", "Galaxy Quest" and this film. Also played a big part in making credit watching essential (when we saw this in Scotts Valley, CA, I yelled to the audience that was starting to leave, "There's more" and they were glad to stay for the "animation outtakes and flubs".)
8) FINDING NEMO - The biggest Pixar money maker and #1 on many people's list. I love the comedy of Albert Brooks and it was great to have this way to introduce him to our kids. And Dori is one of the more adorable characters ever featured in any film (animated or live-action.)
7) RATATOUILLE - A single speech gets this film above classics like Nemo and Monster's, Peter O'Toole's words about the superiority of creativity over criticism.
6) WALL-E - My son's favorite Pixar film. I like much in the later part of the film, spoofing science fiction and human laziness. But I like the opening, silent sequences best, honoring the great silent comics (especially Buster Keaton.) And I've always been a sucker for the score of "Hello Dolly".
5) UP - Yeah, I'll admit it...It made me cry. But it made me laugh too (especially the dog.)
4,3,2) TOY STORY 1, 2, and 3 - I was concerned before both the first and second sequel to the classic "Toy Story" (with a screenplay partly by the great Joss Whedon.) But somehow, they pulled off the cinematic miracle of not just one, but two sequels that matched a film so beloved. (If I had to pick a favorite...which I don't...I might pick the second film because Stinky Pete is my favorite villain.)
1) THE INCREDIBLEs - Not only the best Pixar film, but arguably the best comic book superhero movie ever made. Packs in comedy, adventure and wonder. A family film with a real family, parents that are real and kids that are real. And they save the ubiquitous John Ratzenberger cameo for an awesome finish (especially for those of us who know and love the Fantastic Four.)
You can do it MU...Get the streak going again.