This coming Friday sees the American release of Pixar Animation Studios’ 13th full-length feature, Scotland-set fantasy adventure film “Brave.” Initial reviews point to it being yet another win for the celebrated film studio – a relief after the rusty 2011 sequel to their very own “Cars.” To mark its highly anticipated release, I’ve taken a look back at Pixar’s previous works and selected their five greatest, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is no mean feat.
After all, Pixar have awarded us such an awesome collection of computer-animated classics in their 17-year history, and have left us with so little to fault. As such, I’m fully expecting to be verbally spat upon in the comments section below for leaving out some truly remarkable pieces of cinema. For this, I can only apologise. One thing we can all agree on, though: “Cars 2” is not listed below, just as it shouldn’t be.
5. “Ratatouille” (2007)
Worldwide Box Office: $623,722,818
Plot: A rat gifted with a heightened sense of taste and smell secretly cooks up gastronomic masterpieces in the kitchen of a Parisian restaurant, hidden under the hat of an amateur chef.
Pixar Perfect: “Ratatouille,” named after a popular French dish, is a mouth-watering treat for the eyes and ears, and very nearly the tongue. Lavishly animated and skillfully voiced, it is a film crafted with an unbridled passion by writer-director Brad Bird and so utterly enchanting that one does not even think to question the concept of a grown man being turned into a full-scale string puppet through a rodent yanking on his hair.
4. “Toy Story 2” (1999)
Worldwide Box Office: $485,015,179
Plot: Buzz and the rest of Andy’s cherished toy collection bravely set off on a mission across town to rescue Woody from the clutches of a money-grubbing toy collector – but will Woody want to leave?
Pixar Perfect: Pixar struck gold with their feature-film debut, 1995 mega-hit “Toy Story.” Four years later they daringly targeted the same spot again and, whaddya know, they struck gold again. “Toy Story 2,” while not imaginatively titled, proved a more-than-worthy follow-up to its widely beloved original, proudly displaying toy-boxfuls of charm, wit, energy and creativity. It was that thing we see so rarely in multiplexes: a sequel that succeeds in equaling its predecessor, and some would say it even bettered it. I would not object.
3. “The Incredibles” (2004)
Worldwide Box Office: $631,442,092
Plot: A family of superheroes leading quiet, undercover lives in the suburbs are forced back into action when a new supervillain by the name of Syndrome rides into town with plans to wipe them out.
Pixar Perfect: “The Incredibles” is Pixar’s one and only foray into the superhero genre, and not only is it one of Pixar’s brightest and best, it’s one of the finest superhero films ever released in theatres. Written and directed by “Ratatouille” helmer Brad Bird, it’s naturally Pixar’s most action-packed outing, sticking close to the superhero mould to exhilarating effect. It tickles the ribs and is wholly enthralling, visually spectacular and often quite touching. I know I’m not the only one still waiting on that much-talked-about sequel.
2. “Toy Story” (1995)
Worldwide Box Office: $361,958,736
Plot: Pull-string cowboy doll Woody is none too happy with his boy owner’s new favourite toy, a spaceman who doesn’t realise he’s a toy.
Pixar Perfect: One of the many triumphs of “Toy Story” is that it was the first full-length feature to be presented entirely through computer-animation. Another is that it launched the career of the magnificent Pixar, and did it in invigorating, breathtaking style. Enthusiastically directed by John Lasseter and featuring wonderful vocal performances from Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, “Toy Story” is a film not just about talking toys that come to life but about friendship and loyalty. It is a film with a big heart beating in its plastic chest.
1. “WALL-E” (2008)
Worldwide Box Office: $521,311,860
Plot: WALL-E, a waste collecting robot left on an abandoned Earth to pick up garbage, falls in love with a robot named Eve, leading to a journey into space.
Pixar Perfect: “WALL-E” is visually luxurious, thematically rich and utterly compelling right from its entrancing beginning up to the end of its thrilling, touching finale. Co-written and directed by Andrew Stanton, it brilliantly displays Pixar’s meticulous attention to character and story. It features outstanding sound design, hypnotising animation, a rib-tickling sense of humour and a spellbinding central romance. Plus, not since the day a certain extraterrestrial requested to phone home has a leading character been so irresistibly cute.
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