Top 5 Pixar Moments

When naming your favorite animated movies, chances are a Pixar movie holds at least one spot on the list.  Since Toy Story‘s debut in 1995, the studio’s feature films have been nominated for 24 Academy Awards and have taken home 11. Their thirteenth feature film, Brave, hit theaters this last weekend. What better time to list out favorite Pixar moments?

This list was a tricky one. There’s nothing quite like a Pixar film, and each of them have dozens of memorable moments. Narrowing our list down to one moment from each film was quite a task. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

DANIEL’S FAVORITES

5. The Incredibles Teaser Trailer

Even though the scene never made it into the movie, the teaser trailer for The Incredibles is easily one of the funniest things Pixar has ever done. It’s a simple enough scenario: Mr. Incredible is suiting up to go and fight crime. The only problem is he’s outgrown his belt. Comedic genius ensues.

4. “Married Life” – Up

What sets Pixar animation up from other studios is that their uncanny ability to elicit every moment from the audience. The opening to Up is a beautiful and intimate portrait of a romance that started in childhood and lasted a lifetime. With an incredibly believable story that sucks you in immediately, Up holds the record for being the only movie that makes me cry before it reaches the thirty minute mark.

3. Boo and Sulley Say Goodbye – Monsters, Inc. 

Speaking of moments that make you cry, how’s this one for a tear-jerker? Boo and Sully dont’ get much time alone during their adventures in Monsters, Inc, but their relationship throughout the film is an adorable one to watch develop. After all the chaos they’ve been through together, Boo finally gets to show Sully all her toys and get tucked into bed. It’s a wonderful moment between the two.

2. Andy Plays With His Toys One Last Time – Toy Story 3

The perfect ending a timeless trilogy.

1. “It’s okay. Daddy’s here.” – Finding Nemo

My personal favorite Pixar movie, every scene in this movie could have easily vied for a spot on this list. But there’s a small moment that makes me cry like a baby every time I watch the movie. After his wife and his children were devoured by a barracuda, Marlin finds a lone clown fish egg. Picking it up in his fins, he speaks four simple words. “It’s okay. Daddy’s here.” Later in the movie when he finally reunites with his son, he holds him again, repeating the same four words as we have a brief flashback to the little egg in Marlin hands. It’s the perfect example of how Pixar movies, after making us laugh at things like speaking whale and crazy seagullls, can also make us cry.

JOSEPH’S FAVORITES

5. “Not a Flying Toy” – Toy Story

Looking back at the Pixar films, I was kind of surprised at this one. When I watched Toy Story the first few times, I was more involved in the story of Woody and enamored with the concept of talking toys. On subsequent viewings, however, I keep coming back to this scene. It’s really emotional (it is Pixar, after all), and magnifies the Buzz Lightyear storyline even more.

4. “Define Dancing” – WALL-E

I wouldn’t be able to call myself a human being if I didn’t include this delightful moment between two robots dancing together among the stars. The music, visuals, and chemistry all blend together to make this memorable.

3. “No Capes!” – The Incredibles

Enough with the emotional scenes; there’s plenty more in the next two picks. This time I’m going with one of my favorite Pixar characters (voiced by director Brad Bird), Edna Mode. The Incredibles is Pixar’s take on super heroes, and Edna’s speech (i.e. rant) about capes is a loving jab at the genre, and great slapstick comedy.

2. “Ratatouille” – Ratatouille

There are many wonderful moments in Ratatouille, but the one that gets me every time is when the food critic Anton Ego eats the titular Ratatouille at the end of the film. His trip down memory lane is a touching, nostalgic moment that shows the power that the senses can have.

1. “Married Life” – Up

Up is one of the few movies that I enjoyed watching in 3D, and the only one that caused me to wipe off my 3D glasses 15 minutes into the film. It’s been overstated ad nauseum, but the opening montage from Up not only sets the rest of the film up beautifully, but could easily be viewed as a stand-alone short film.  I’m continually blown away by Pixar’s use of story, visuals, and pathos, and this is one of their finest moments.

Everything We Know about Pixar’s Brave

 

THE HISTORY

The movie was initially titled The Bear and the Bow, but was changed to Brave.

Brenda Chapman was originally given the sole director’s chair as the first woman director at Pixar, but was later joined by Mark Andrews.  Andrews had previously directed One Man Band (short) for Pixar and worked as a story supervisor for The Incredibles.

Reese Witherspoon was cast in the lead role, but was replaced by Kelly Macdonald.

THE CONCEPT

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman (Julie Walters) and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida’s quest — and serving as comic relief — are the kingdom’s three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), the surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson), and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane).

Entertainment Weekly

Brenda Chapman has worked with Disney/Pixar in the past, with writing credits for Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia 2000 and Cars, as well as working as a story supervisor on The Lion King.

She also wrote part of Chicken Run and directed Prince of Eygpt for Dreamworks.

Chapman came up with the idea for Brave and shares a writing credit with Irene Mecchi, who she worked with on The Lion King.

Concept art was released to the public in early 2011:


 

THE CREW

Mark Andrews (Director)
Brenda Chapman (Writer)
Irene Mecchi (Writer)
Katherine Sarafian (Producer)
Patrick Doyle (Original Music)
Nicholas C. Smith (Editor)

THE CAST

Kelly Macdonald (Princess Merida)
Emma Thompson (Queen Elinor)
Billy Connolly (King Fergus)
Kevin McKidd (Lord MacGuffin)
Craig Ferguson (Lord Macintosh)
Robbie Coltrane (Lord Dingwall)
Julie Walters (Wise Woman)

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

EW.com posts the official poster for Brave (See above).

Four character photos were posted at The Pixar Blog, but were taken down at the request of the higher-ups.

Disney unveils the website for Brave.

The official synopsis:

Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

Directed by Mark Andrews (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “John Carter of Mars”) and Brenda Chapman (“The Lion King,” “Prince of Egypt”), and produced by Katherine Sarafian (“Lifted,” “The Incredibles”), “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and the signature Pixar humor enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The film takes aim at theaters on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Disney

Pixar director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) tweets about the latest still from Brave: (click the image for the link)

 

Share YOUR thoughts in the comments below.


Weekend Warrior: Pixar/Diaz Vehicle


Cars 2
Directed by: John Lasseter / Brad Lewis
Written by: Ben Queen / John Lassater / Brad Lewis / Dan Fogelman
Starring: Owen Wilson / Larry the Cable Guy / Michael Caine / Emily Mortimer

 

The Consensus: At the start of this ‘critical’ race, Cars 2 and Bad Teacher are pretty much neck and neck. Cars 2 has a rotten 52% from Rotten Tomatoes and a 60 from Meta Critic, which is the lowest rating for a Pixar film (Cars has a score 74%) I’ll be seeing it in theaters, but I’m not expecting more than a fun popcorn film with talking cars.

Negative Take:

“Cars 2” is such a mess, it makes the original look like it ought to rank among Pixar’s masterpieces by comparison.

What has set the studio’s films apart from all the other animated fare is story: It’s paramount. Innovative tales like “WALL-E” and “Up” get you choked up just thinking about them, they’re that good. “Cars 2” tries to encompass many kinds of stories at once, none of which is terribly clever or compelling.

Christy Lemire (Associated Press)

Positive Take:

By Pixar’s own standards, “Cars,” the scenic animated amble on the backroads of the Roadrunner’s desert southwest, was the company’s worst film. Laugh-starved, lacking much in the line of action, it was a triumph of toy sales and product tie-in (NASCAR) over motion picture.

“Cars 2″ over-compensates for those “Get off the fast track” mid-life crisis musings, but does so in an often funny and action-packed “James Bond goes Racing” comedy. They turn more of the story over to the comic relief, the dopey tow truck Tow Mater, and get a sillier, more kid-friendly movie out of it. Yes, “Cars 2″ is better than “Cars.”

Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel)


Bad Teacher
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Written by: Gene Stupnitsky / Lee Eisenberg
Starring: Cameron Diaz / Jason Segel / Justin Timberlake

 

The Consensus: One-upping Cars 2 with 53% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a (lower) score of 48 from Meta Critic, Bad Teacher looks like fun, but in that all-the-jokes-are-in-the-preview kind of way. It is nice to see Segel (I Love You, Man) and Timberlake (The Social Network) getting more roles.

Negative Take:

Kasden and writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg construct the film as a series of set pieces, some funnier than others. [. . .] But in the end it just doesn’t quite add up. Maybe it’s the too-easy ending that feels like a cop-out. Maybe it’s the cardboard cut-out nature of the characters. Probably it’s a combination of those and other elements that leads to Diaz’s bad teacher not being as bad as she might have been and “Bad Teacher” not as good as it could have been.

Bill Goodykoontz (AZCentral.com)

Positive Take:

“Bad Teacher” is exactly the one-joke movie that you probably expect it to be, but there are enough variations and shadings of that one joke to sustain its brief running time — just barely.

Christy Lemire (Associated Press)

Let us know what YOU thought of Cars 2 and Bad Teacher in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Up

up

Up
Directed By: Pete Doctor / Bob Peterson
Written By: Bob Peterson
Voices: Edward Asner / Christopher Plummer

Up is the latest animated film from Disney / Pixar, and is a treat for all ages. It follows the exploits of Carl Fredricksen, a disgruntled, elderly balloon salesman, and a local boy scout named Russell, as they set off in a grand adventure to South America in Carl’s house, propelled by a plethora of colorful balloons.

That’s the most that I want to give away from a film that everyone should experience for themselves. I was impressed by the balance between the style and the narrative in Up. The opening 15 minutes or so, for example, is in essence a montage, that blends the two together perfectly and sets up the rest of the film nicely.

Pixar has a history of technical excellence, and Up definitely falls into this category. It was released in 2D and 3D formats, and I applaud the Pixar team for creating a 3D film that doesn’t feel too gimmicky. The 3D format accentuates the film, and doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, taking the viewer out of the experience.

From the beginning of the film, the story evokes feelings of nostalgia, childlike innocence. While Up is a decidedly humorous (Sometimes too silly for my tastes) family film, it’s also very serious, touching upon themes of family, belonging, and fear.

Following in the footsteps of WALL·E, I love Pixar’s emphasis on non-verbals, especially in the opening montage, drawing upon Charlie Chaplin’s physicality, antics, and especially pathos. The emotionality of the film was especially heightened by Michael Giacchino’s breathtaking score, which kept me in my seat during the end credits.

While I found the story especially moving at times, however, some of the dialogue seemed forced and on-the-nose. An example of this would be when Russell tells Carl about his family, a scene that felt like tacked on exposition to get the story moving. In writing a story, subtlety is a virtue.

And while I was more than wiling to accept the fantastic nature of the film by leaving my brain at the door and taking my heart with me, there were certain elements that left me scratching my now empty head.

But aside from a few issues that I had with the film, Up is a truly fantastic film that everyone deserves to see. The themes and characters are so rich that the whole family can take something away from it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4b0JYIA1hk&hl=en&fs=1]

NetFlix Update

1. The Girl in the Café (Dir. David Yates)

Why Did You Pick That?

Two reasons: It’s been in my queue for over a year. 2. Bill Nighy.

2. My Blueberry Nights (Dir. Kar Wai Wong)

Why Did You Pick That?

The preview and the cast sold me.

3. Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud / Marjane Satrapi)

Why Did You Pick That?

I’ll watch any animated film that challenges Pixar at the Academy Awards. And  I’ve been wanting to see more different animation styles.

My Favorite Films of 2007

(Taken from my lists page)

Naturally, the lists are subject to frequent change. For example, I didn’t watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly until recently.

10 Top Ten Films of 2007

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A beautiful film about celebrity status, idolizing, and the West. Great performances from Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt in the title roles. A film that deserved a satchel full of Oscars.

No Country for Old Men
The latest from Ethan and Joel Coen; easily one of their more serious films. Plenty of food for thought.


Juno
A fun and engaging Indy film with a great cast ensemble. Not to mention it’s insanely quotable.


Lars and the Real Girl
The film that took me by surprise the most last year. Word of advice: It’s better than the summary sounds. And the more I watch it, the more I love Rob Schneider as an actor.


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
A surprisingly suspenseful and entertaining documentary about Donkey Kong. Not what I was expecting.


Ratatouille
Pixar can do no wrong. I never thought a story about a rat that wants to be a chef in Paris would succeed. I loved the different themes in this, and Anton Ego was amazing.


There Will be Blood
Wow. What an amazing performance from Daniel Day Lewis. I’m still thinking about this film.


Zodiac
Completely underlooked at the Academy Awards. It should have been up there with the rest of them for several of the big awards. I loved how the story was from a different perspective than you’d expect, and was a great introduction to Robert Downey Jr. for me.


Paris, Je’Taime
Some of the films in this collection I’m not a fan of, but there are several little gems to be found. I highly recommend checking this out. And watch out for New York, I Love You next year.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
A fascinating and emotional story that blew me away.

What are your favorite films from last year?

DVD Releases 6/24

I don’t do this kind of post often, but there are a lot of films coming out this Tuesday that I’m interested in. And since I’m not being paid,I don’t have to talk about crap like this.

1. The Spiderwick Chronicles
Why? I saw this in the theater and loved it. Much more original and fun than it looked.

2. In Bruges
Why? A plethora of positive reviews.

3. Persepolis
Why? Any film that challenges Pixar deserves to be watched.

4. Charlie Bartlett
Why? The preview was cool, and I haven’t seen Anton Yelchin in anything.

5. Definitely, Maybe
Why? I don’t know. It looks fun yet smart, and got a good rating on IMDb.