Pixar Hall of Fame

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Ratatouille (Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, 2007)
Imdb

Date Watched: 3/6/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar Hall of Fame, nominated by Citizen Rules
Rewatch: Yes


An animated film with a rat protagonist? Pixar would've had to really screw this one up for me to not like it.

That said, what Pixar delivered is one of their finest films and it was responsible for taking me from casual appreciator to all out fan girl. With every viewing I've been blown away by its meticulous attention to detail, vibrant colors, wonderful character design, and an engaging underdog - er, underrat - story about the importance of following your dreams and not taking your friends and family for granted.

What I really love about the film is how well it blends its realistic and fantastic elements to create something that is silly but also heartfelt. The animators really did their research and it shows. The food looks nearly good enough to eat and the rats move in a mostly rat-like way. I also love the little touches like Ego's coffin shaped office and his typewriter that resembles a skull, the rat band with their improvised instruments, and Skinner with his hilarious combover and little man syndrome. It's the perfect mix of whimsical and touching, and those rats are just too damn cute!




"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."






Toy Story, I watched this film 20 years ago and haven't felt the to watch it again since. We all know the plot of the story, Woody is the leader of Andy's toys and Andy get's a new toy that doesn't know he's a toy in Buzz. Shenanigans occur and Woody and Buzz end up with Andy's nextdoor neighbor Sid who is a monster.

Unfortunately as you rewatch this film you pick up on all the flaws from the first all-CGI film. The humans look bad but the character movement just feels off and the backgrounds feel like computer wallpaper. One of the other things I forgot about this film was how uneven the acts are, the first act being a masterpiece of ensemble work only those characters are eschewed for the journey story of Woody and Buzz.

Tom Hanks is great in this..Tim Allen is okay but I'm now curious to watch the second Toy Story to see if this is the weakest installment of the series.




Next Up...is the next one up






A Bug's Life is the story of a grasshopper hoarde who forces an ant colony to provide them with food for the winter. When one ant (Flik) stands up to the head evil grasshopper (Hopper) the colony sends out Flik to find help. Flik comes back with a group of other insects and forms a plan to stop Hopper.



This is sort of an over-correction from A Toy Story, in this one the villain (Kevin Spacey) is really good while the hero (Dave Foley) is sort of the weakest part of the film. The animation looks far better here than in Toy Story, the character's move much more naturally and backgrounds have also improved a bit. The film also sticks to a genre as it's basically a western/samurai film.








The Incredibles is really the final step in the human evolution at Pixar. It's also a fairly decent super hero story and it's got some good messaging for kids and adults. It centers around the story of Mr Incredible who after saving the life of a person who didn't want to be saved ends up living in a witness protection program. Years later after the boredom of his day to day life he returns to heroics as well as his super family.


I dug this one quite a bit, the film takes inspiration from the old Fleisher Superman shorts. Bird also did a great job humanizing the villain as I'm not entirely sure Syndrome was in the wrong. The film also has a number of stronger small moments. My only complaint with the film is that the third act drags a little bit for me. It's a little sad when I was more excited for the Under-Miner than the big bad(s).








I would argue that peak Pixar is the first act of UP, that first half hour/forty-five minutes of UP is a combination of joy, wonder, and sadness. It's also telling that how the second act of UP can't even possibly live up to the first part and that's also correct. But what I noticed with a second watch was that Kevin, Mutz, and Dug are all great. We don't have Ellie but what we ended up with wasn't half bad in and of itself and I'm starting to think that was the point all along.


I wasn't too crazy with the early Pixar or the late Pixar but for me this is one of those Pixar films that could have and should have been the Best Picture winner(this was the year The Hurt Locker beat Avatar) I think this has aged better







Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)
Imdb

Date Watched: 3/7/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar Hall of Fame, nominated by ahwell
Rewatch: Yes


As a Pixar fan, I'm something of an anomaly in that I've never been particularly enamored with Toy Story. Don't get me wrong, I think the movie is quite amusing and it's an easy, entertaining watch. I also think it boasts some really strong voice performances and obviously it was groundbreaking for its time, but my experience with it - and I've seen many times over - has never gone beyond just good.

I recognize that the film is 24 years old at this point and that many advances have been made in the art of computer animation but I can't help but find the unnatural movements of the living beings of the film - especially those of Sid's dog, Scud - to be very jarring. And this is something that has bothered me from my very first viewing of the film (back in my high school Spanish class, with the Spanish dub ). I've also never been able to establish any strong emotional connection to the story or to its characters - at least not in this first film, though the third one did bring me to tears. Ultimately this is a movie that I like and that I respect, but not one that I will ever love.







Ratatouille is the story of a rat with a great palette and a garbage boy who cooks for said rat. I'm not sure how to classify this one, it's sort of inspired by Cyrano De Bergerac so I supposeyou could call this a romantic comedy. Though really the focus is more on the food and the rat and the romance is basically a B even C plot. Perhaps you could say this is a film that is an exercise in character work as so many of the strongest elements come from character actors. Patton Oswald is perhaps the strongest lead of any PIXAR film giving Remy a pathos his charisma oozes off the screen. Brad Garrett plays Gusteau the ghost of a once great chef whose legacy is being turned to ruin by the films antogonist. You've also got Peter O'Toole in one of his last standout roles as a critic and he gives a heartbreaking and powerful soliloquy on criticism.


The film is somewhat dogmatic, it has an agenda and it pushes it hard to you. Normally this is the sort of thing that sinks a film but it works well here mostly because it never settles on a genre.


It was a good movie it just felt like it was missing something to make it great








I had been down on PIXAR for while while some of their films I absolutely adored Brave and Inside Out left me cold I felt like Disney had taken the lead in quality with Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and Moana . The bounce back for me was Coco, the first true musical from PIXAR with a bit of inspiration from Orpheus. Coco tells the story of a young boy Miguel whose family has banned music, Coco is his great grandmother and the deus ex machina of the story.

Miguel through shenanigans is sent to the world of the dead where he comes to meet his great great grandfather(not that he knows it) Hector(great name from classic stories) he's also dealing with his idol Ernesto. Now the plot is fairly predictable you can pretty much hit every note before hand yet I was still transfixed by the film. What makes this film so good is it's about nuance and textures. We see this massive world filled with vibrant colors and life and yet you also get a sense of the stakes in which these people are living. Also the songs are so good and Remember Me is played several different ways each one working on different levels.







Sometimes a simple story told well is enough and that is Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo tells the story of Nemo who is taken by a dentist and his father, Marlin must travel the Ocean to find him. The film has an episodic nature to it which works very well as a "road film", with each part perfectly balanced. Visually it's a stunning film as this world clearly easier to animate than those based on the "real world". But the other thing that I love about this film is the score. This is a movie that isn't just interested in the visual but also audio storytelling.


Albert Brooks is almost always good in everything and he anchors this film. He's a giving actor and he allows Marlin to have a strong pathos that plays off any and all characters he comes across.








Monsters University was a blind nom for me, I didn't care much for Monsters Inc and the idea of revisiting those characters in a prequel was kinda meh. So I'm going to finish up my marathon with this one that I skipped all those years ago.

Monsters University attempts to make a straight up PIXAR comedy, it's in essence Revenge of the Nerds or Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It feels at times padded and at other times woefully under written. Mike is supposed to be a "cute" monster and therefore doesn't belong as a major terrifying one...here's the problem with that I can't tell the difference between the "cute" ones and the "scary" ones. Mike is also more of a lead with Scully as a supporting figure yet I think Scully's arc and journey is more compelling. So that's the drama part and that fails moving onto the comedy.

I thought the comedy worked at points, I laughed a few times at the joke setups




Ratatouille (2007)


I've come away very impressed both times I've watched Ratatouille. Remy's route to master chef is compelling but there is something there that sticks it at
. A little bit below my top films from Pixar. It's perhaps the emotional depth which Ratatouille doesn't have for me in the same way as a Coco or a Wall-E. Or the psychological edge which I prefer in Inside Out or Up. Recommended for sure though and I understand its fandom. I wouldn't query someone who says this is Pixar's best.

It's an excellent tale focused on creative expression and finding your passion in life. There's such movement and fluidity as Remy traverses his way through every single part of Pixar Paris. The film bounces through each scene, only pausing for moments of reflection. It ratchets up the drama and comedy that way, showing us the franticness of a rat's existence through the medium of food.

I really liked the way it captures this romanticised view of Paris from the perspective of an outsider. Films are prone to doing this very awkwardly but there's heartfelt wonder when Remy views a certain monument for the first time. An encouragement to dream big. This is probably my favourite Pixar score too. Michael Giacchino absolutely killed it with this one. Dreamy and extremely French.

Ratatouille is a great flick and one I'll continue to revisit.




Finding Nemo (2003)

15 years ago was the one and only time I watched this. Not surprisingly I didn't remember a thing about it. So in a way this was like a first time watch. I enjoyed it too, especially Ellen DeGeneres' Dory. Her character, a Blue Tang with short term memory lost made the film fun for me. I loved the underwater setting, it reminded me of fun times snorkeling and free diving in the tropics. I can't say that I've seen a clown fish in the wild before but I've seen a sea turtle up-close and personal and seen an Eagle Ray about 10 meters below me at Molokini Crater, Hawaii. So, I really dug all the fish and the underwater world they lived in.

World Building:
We see it all from the shallow coral reef, to sunken ships and sharks and open water and to the deep abyss ( I seen one of those sheer drop offs once while free diving, damn! it's wild looking let me tell ya!)

Animation:
I could say that the animation wasn't as detailed as Coco but that's unfair as Finding Nemo is a 16 year old film so should only be compared to the state of animation at the time, and I though it looked great.


Character Development:
Nothing outstanding in the richness of the characters, but for the scope of the
intended target audience it worked just fine.

Story Premise:
It worked as we got to see different parts of an ocean and even the inside of a fish tank at a dentist office


Other Thoughts:
The only thing I didn't like was the surfer dude turtles. I didn't like them 15 years ago and I still didn't, just too silly for me. I would have liked a different type of 'suffer dude' other than a Jeff Spicoli imitation from Fast Times at Ridgemount High. On the other hand had Sean Penn did the voice for the turtle that would have been totally tubular! ha.

Favorite Moments: The entire fish tank scene. I have an aquarium and yes fish do plan escapes...which often doesn't end well

Nomination by: @rauldc14



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Up!

Is definitely in the top echelon of Pixar films in regards to heartwarming and to beautifully plucking at the heart strings. Starting right from the get-go with a montage that plays out like a Pixar short film. Which they are SO adept at expressing SO much in such simplistic and minuscule ways.
It's easy to pick out those "moments" in many a Pixar film that express with such sentimental volumes and Up! has countless of them regarding the life shared with Carl and Ellie. And now, without Ellie. Carl following through with a promise he made by crossing his heart.

A lot of us, (for good reason) highly praise the opening and how wonderfully it enamors us that we seem to forget just how much we care as we follow along with Carl in the house they shared, now, alone.
Followed by the impetus that sends him on his "new" adventure with Russel and, eventually Kevin and Dug.

As stated, this IS heartwarming and I am, quite, enamored to the wit, color and emotion that encompasses this film.


Adventure IS out there!
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They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



Coco (2017)


This was one of the two films in this HoF I had not seen before and I had heard good things so I was looking forward to it.

Overall this did live up to my expectations. The film had a pretty creative story that was quite compelling and the look of the film was very vibrant and colourful. The story was also quite emotional and touching and the animation is quite splendid. Also felt that the characters were pretty entertaining to watch and I did like the songs. Overall definitely one of Pixar's best efforts in recent years.
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Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, 2009)
Imdb

Date Watched: 3/14/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes


"A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, 'I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.' Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead."

Of course it's impossible to talk about Up without talking about its incredibly moving opening sequence (which leaves me in tears - like "ugly cry" kind of sobbing - every single time), but as magical as the love story of Carl and Ellie might be, I consider the rest of the film to be just as masterfully crafted.

Full of rich color and detail, endearing characters (Dug is too cute and I'm not even a dog person), and an exciting and imaginative story, Up is a film that is just so easy to fall in love with. It also balances out its touching moments with a significant helping of humor. Romance, tragedy, comedy, adventure and just a touch of fantasy - It's the perfect blend of just about all the things that make me love movies.




Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, 2009)
Imdb

Date Watched: 3/14/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Pixar Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes


It's the perfect blend of just about all the things that make me love movies.

Amen!




UP (2009)

"By tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets out to fulfill his dream to see the wilds of South America"

I love the rain forest...in real life they're really dark and really wet...ha go figure! Well it did rain in the movie so that was fitting. I liked how the house kept them dry as it floated overhead. Though my favorite part was the first 30 minutes as we're getting to know Carl and Ellie. Wow that was really touching film making and such good use of montages to compress the couple's story into about 20 minutes. That first act reminded of the silent film Sunrise.

I'd say the film achieved everything it set out to do, and yet there were parts that didn't really speak to me.

World Building:
I loved the old house and how it was decorated, and especially loved the interior of the giant air ship, very cool looking.

Animation:


Character Development:
Nothing outstanding in the richness of the characters (except the first act). But like the other noms the characters work well for the intended audience.


Story Premise:
The first 30 minutes were powerful after that I wasn't that connect to it, though visually it looked good.


Originality:
Pretty darn original I must say. Especially the dog culture parts, loved the planes that had chew bones as flight control.


Other Thoughts:
I must say I didn't like Ed Asner as the old man Carl, he didn't seem to have much personality to me. I'd like to have seen Jack Black do the voice of Carl. I didn't like the little kid, he was made way too stupid for me to like. While I liked Dory in Finding Nemo, I never warmed up to the kid. I kept wishing he would just go away.


Favorite Moments: The dog. This time the friendly dog was the biggest charmer in the movie. He added a lot of warmth and fun.


Nomination by: @Miss Vicky