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The 411 Movies Top 5 06.21.13: Week 379 - Top 5 Pixar Movies
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 06.21.2013

Welcome to Week 379 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: Let's keep it simple this week. Monsters University is coming out, so let's count down our Top 5 Pixar movies of all time. Monsters University is the 14th, so we should have enough for different choices amongst us. To make it interesting, you can also use Pixar shorts if you think one belongs on your list, as that adds about 30 more films to the choices.


Bryan Kristopowitz


5. Brave

While I don't think this movie necessarily deserved a Best Animated Film Oscar, Brave is a fun, heartwarming movie and simply beautiful to look at (some of the best 3D I've ever seen). The "witch in the forest" thing is a little drawn out, but the aftermath, where Merida has to deal with her transformed mother is quite good. My favorite aspects of the movie, though, are Merida's young brothers (shouldn't they have a Saturday morning cartoon of their own by now?) and Billy Connolly as King Fergus. I could watch Fergus tell stories all day long.


4. Up

You don't so too many animated family movies that start out with sadness, but Up has the balls to do it and make it work. I know I'm not the only person who wells up at the thought of Carl, sitting alone in that funeral home, holding a balloon, right after his wife Ellie dies. The rest of the movie is a wonderfully sweet adventure. A house that floats away because of a bunch of balloons? Brilliant. And the goofy kid, Russell, is hilarious. Kudos to Pixar for making this movie.


3. The Incredibles

The great thing about The Incredibles, a movie about a family if superheroes, is the whole "lawsuit" thing. It's hysterical to think that a superhero could lose his standing in the world because of causing massive amounts of damage and would have to stop being a superhero. I'm shocked that it hasn't been done a million times since. And while plenty of goofy superhero cartoon movies have come out since The Incredibles, none of have managed to be as fun as The Incredibles. Isn't it about time we got an The Incredibles 2? I'm shocked Disney hasn't demanded it.

2. La Luna

I've seen several Pixar shorts on TV, but seeing them on the big screen is, like most movies, the best way to see it. The surface of the moon never looked more wondrous. And it's cool to see a heartwarming family story that's all about male bonding, something that you don't see all that often. Am I the only one who smiles at the thought that a crescent moon is created by people sweeping fallen stars off the surface of the moon? If only it were true and real.


1. Wall-E

I didn't think that a movie starring a robot that doesn't really speak would work, at least not for long. Would an audience respond to a robot character like that, even in the capable hands of the Pixar people? I have no idea why I doubted them. Wall-E is incredibly cute, and watching him float through space chasing after the kind of creepy EVE is nothing short of pure joy. The movie's social commentary is also reason enough to watch. How often do family comedies strongly comment on the world, the environment, and just how stupid people are and what could happen to them in the future? I'm also a big fan of having Fred Willard in anything. Great stuff.

Michael Weyer

5. Up

Hands down one of the greatest opening montages to a movie ever as we see a young couple meeting as kids, falling in love, wanting to explore only to run into complications, heartbreak of a lost baby and eventually the wife's death. Ed Asner is perfect as the voice of the crotchey old man who, facing the loss of his home, ties a thousand balloons to let it take flight only to realize he's accidentally picked up a boy scout with. From the dog with the talking collar to the quirky bird and high-pitched battle on an airship, it's a great film but the showcase of a man on a grand adventure only to find out he's already had one, makes it even better and one of the finest animation films ever.

4. Wall-E

It should never have worked. A movie where the main character speaks no words, a robot collecting trash on a long-deserted Earth and trying to win over a female-themed robot who comes to Earth to check the place out. And yet, somehow, it does work and beautifully. The sequences of Wall-E and EVE are pure magic, more chemistry than most human couples on screen and a visual feast. Some may complain about the "message" of a human race so fat and lazy and environmental talk but you can forgive it as you are treated to an amazing story and a fantastic character whose lack of speech only adds to his incredible heart.

3. The Incredibles

It says a lot that for years, this was the best comic-book movie without being based on an actual comic book. The plotline is unique: After complaints from people about the methods of "being saved," superheroes are outlawed and forced into new identities. Years later, a bored former hero is talked out of retirement for a series of adventures only to find it's a trick for an upcoming villain to take his place. The movie is great in how it tweaks a society that seems ready to reward people for the smallest things (Mr. incredible going on a rant about his son "graduating" middle school) and why real heroes are needed. But you also get brilliant comic book action as the family goes at it, from Elasti-Girl's stretching to their super-speed son, Brad Baird deserving that Oscar for how it makes it all work. It brings together a terrific film that pays tribute to super-heroes but also reminds you of the power of family, a combination Pixar works well.

2. Finding Nemo

The key difference between Pixar and DreamWorks animated films is that DreamWorks goes for major stars while Pixar goes for who's the right voice for the character. Thus, the 2003 smash features Albert Brooks (not exactly a box office name) in the lead role as a fish frantically trying to find his lost son. Ellen DeGeneres is great as Dory, the memory-afflicted fish who helps him while the bits in the dentist office tank with the kid and his fish allies are fun too. The underwater scenes pushed CGI animation to new heights, stunningly realistic but also playful and the scene of the surfing turtles was a great rush. Still one of the best for kids and adults too to show how great a realm the undersea can be.

1. Toy Story 3

It's tempting to just put down the entire trilogy but if you had to narrow it down, the last was the best. The theme of the films has always been the bond between toys and their owners so now they face the day they always feared as owner Andy is ready to go to college and break that bond. Accidentally given away, they find themselves in a daycare center where the kids unknowingly abuse them and Ed Asner is great as the seemingly kind-hearted teddy bear with a darker side. We get the great voice work of Tom Hanks as noble Woody and Tim Allen as the cocky Buzz trying to work together with scenes like the gripping garbage pit scene. The ending is utter magic, enough to reduce a grown man to tears as the toys bid farewell to the boy they've dedicated themselves to and prepare for a new life with others. For any kid who had a beloved toy growing up, a movie that resonates and reminds you how much damn fun that era really was.

Shawn S. Lealos

5. Partly Cloudy

I wanted a Pixar short film on my list, which is why Wall-E ended up missing the cut. Bryan mentioned how, while watching the Pixar shorts are great to watch anywhere, nothing beats seeing them on the big screen where they were meant to be seen. The short that came before Up was Partly Cloudy, a wonderful short film about a cloud that makes babies and his personal stork who seems to get the worst of the kids, whether it is a crocodile or a porcupine. It is a great film that looked incredible on the big screen. While I have liked most of Pixar's big screen shorts (La Luna is another favorite, but Bryan already mentioned that one), this short was just a fun ride.

4. The Incredibles

Before The Dark Knight and the Marvel Universe proved that comic book movies could be more than just comic book movies, Pixar released The Incredibles, a movie that remains one of the best superhero movies ever made, and arguably the best one to not be based on a pre-existing comic. The story, about a past his prime (and much heavier) superhero who sets out to save the world one more time, with his wife and kids not far behind, was a brilliant story and is the one Pixar movie that really deserves a sequel. Honestly, The Incredibles was incredible.

3. Monsters Inc.

I have seen Monsters University, and I liked it, but it is not a great Pixar movie. It is still better than a lot of other studio's animated efforts, and is very funny, but the fact that it follows in the footsteps of Monsters Inc meant it had to be better than good and funny. The Toy Story series proves that Pixar can make sequels that completely surpass the movies that came before, as each was better than the last. Monsters Inc was a masterful story, both funny and touching, something the best Pixar movies know how to balance well. It had a great voice cast, a wonderful story, and was the second in four almost perfect animated movies in a row for Pixar.

2. Toy Story 3

Toy Story was the movie that kickstarted Pixar's legacy, and a movie that proved that the studio knew what it was doing when it came to animation and storytelling. It was the story of what happens when one child (toy) feels it is being replaced by another. The second movie was even better, a look at what happens when a toy feels it is being discarded, and really attacks the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Then, this third movie was the best of the group, and looked at what happened when it was time to grow up and leave childish things behind. What happens to those beloved items that once meant so much to you and brought you so much happiness. This is one of the best animated movies ever made.

1. Up

Most movies get you swept up in the story and then breaks your heart towards the end, before giving you an uplifting (sometimes) finale. Up did things differently. The opening scene of Up, with very little dialogue, told the story of a young boy and girl who meet, fall in love, grow old together and then the woman dies, leaving the man all alone. It is one of the most heartbreaking sequences in all of cinema, much less animation. Then, the rest of the movie shows how that man who has lost his one true love learns to live again. This is heavy stuff for kids, but it is a perfect movie with a great story and a deft touch by the screenwriters and animators. It is also funny, and a rip-roaring adventure. Pixar has made a lot of great movies, but this is its masterpiece.


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