The Pixar ready reckoner
From Toy Story and Ratatouille, through to the acclaimed short films, Pixar go under the Den Of Geek ready reckoner microscope...
Pixar is the company that changed the face of animation. From humble beginnings it’s now responsible for the finest animation of Disney, thanks to a multi-billion deal a few years’ back. Here,
Toy Story The film that proved you could make full feature-length animation with a computer, and a really strong start for Pixar. Excellent characters and an involving narrative make up for a slightly flat visual look in this now timeless classic.
A Bug’s Life More colourful than Toy Story and with some neat twists on a familiar narrative, but Dreamworks took the same concept and brought out Antz the same year. It’s the latter that’s the better movie.
Toy Story 2 Originally destined for direct to DVD, it actually turned out to be superior to the original in many ways. Again, brilliant performances from Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, and Kelsey Grammer as ‘Stinky Pete’. Even better animation and rendering, too.
Monsters, Inc. Exceptionally underrated movie, built around a simple but uber-cool premise. Billy Crystal and John Goodman nail ‘Mike’ and ‘Sully’ gloriously, with top-notch support from Steve Buscemi and the late James Coburn. Beautiful colours, clever sight gags and amazing character design takes this to Pixar’s top shelf.
Finding Nemo I know some people love this film, but it leaves me cold. I’ve given it three stars for the technical and voice work. It’s at its best in the fish tank, when it’s been less predictable and preachy. It might seem heresy, but I enjoyed Bug’s Life more.
The Incredibles In my mind there is no comparison between this movie and anything else Pixar has created. It’s pretty much perfect in every respect. Great idea, awesomely executed with style and panache, with enough comic book and spy movie reference to keep a geek happy for days. I especially love the Barry-esque Bond incidental music. Pure animation gold.Cars Hated this with a passion, and for me it’s the weakest Pixar production so far (so why, oh why does it get a sequel?). Putting eyes behind the windscreens of the cars just looked like lazy design work, and the story is overly simple for the 116 minute running time. It’s bright and colourful but an ultimately soulless exercise.
Ratatouille Back on form, with the second Brad Bird controlled movie, and the first made after Pixar became part of Disney. Actually to be fair it was partly made before Bird took control. It’s technically superior to all other Pixar works in both animation and rendering, and demonstrates again some strong story telling abilities. The end result is delicious.The Shorts…
The Adventures Of Andre and Wally B (1984) – More of a render test than an actual film.
Luxo Jr (1986) The iconic image of Pixar, the people who could bring an angle-poise lamp to life!
Red’s Dream (1987) A charming short story, about the dreams of a monocycle.
Tin Toy (1988) The origins of Toy Story, but not rendered as nicely as Red’s Dream.
Knick Knack (1989) or Two versions of this exist: the original ‘funny’ one with the pneumatic ashtray girl and the stupid adjusted one without her bust. Sadly, the original is not on the Pixar Shorts DVD. Grrr…
Geri’s Game (1997) Superb! Simple idea but done wonderfully well. The character turns up in Toy Story 2 as the toy repair expert.
For The Birds (2000) Simple sight gag, beautifully animated and designed.
Mike’s New Car (2002) A humorous short created for inclusion on the Monsters Inc DVD, with Mike and Sully.
Boundin (2003) Animated musical brilliance!
Jack-Jack Attack(2005) A short made using some footage unused from The Incredibles. That doesn’t sound enticing but it’s very funny indeed.
One Man Band (2005) Pixar showing off, as only it can!
Lifted (2006) A totally alternative take on alien abduction…weird.
Mater and the Ghostlight (2006) Short for the Cars DVD, not sure why they bothered.
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